John McCain and Joe Lieberman have co-authored a short op-ed piece in the WSJ that states, quite simply, that the Surge worked:
After years of mismanagement of the war, many people had grave doubts about whether success in Iraq was possible. In Congress, opposition to the surge from antiwar members was swift and severe. They insisted that Iraq was already “lost,” and that there was nothing left to do but accept our defeat and retreat.
In fact, they could not have been more wrong. And had we heeded their calls for retreat, Iraq today would be a country in chaos: a failed state in the heart of the Middle East, overrun by al Qaeda and Iran.
Instead, conditions in that country have been utterly transformed from those of a year ago, as a consequence of the surge. Whereas, a year ago, al Qaeda in Iraq was entrenched in Anbar province and Baghdad, now the forces of Islamist extremism are facing their single greatest and most humiliating defeat since the loss of Afghanistan in 2001. Thanks to the surge, the Sunni Arabs who once constituted the insurgency’s core of support in Iraq have been empowered to rise up against the suicide bombers and fanatics in their midst — prompting Osama bin Laden to call them “traitors.”
As al Qaeda has been beaten back, violence across the country has dropped dramatically. The number of car bombings, sectarian murders and suicide attacks has been slashed. American casualties have also fallen sharply, decreasing in each of the past four months.
The same piece then goes on to applaud Gen’l Petraeus’ stunningly good leadership (Petraeus for President in 2012?) and to ask the logical question: Where do we go from here? Frankly, it’s not a very interesting op-ed piece, since it simply states a whole lot of obvious stuff.
What is interesting is the fact that McCain and Lieberman authored it together, showing that they are pulling in the same harness when it comes to the War. It left me wondering whether this article is a flag that McCain is running up the pole to see if Lieberman would be acceptable as his running mate?
For me, McCain and Lieberman are very much a matched set: They’re both men I admire very much on a personal level. That is, I think they’re good and intelligent human beings. I think both of them have been absolutely and completely right in their unwaveringly strong support for the effort put into the War and for their continued and vocal recognition of the threats we face from the Islamists arrayed against the West. Politically, I don’t have many other points of agreement with them. Lieberman is an old-fashioned liberal who believes in big government, although not in the shrill, aggressive way of the new Progressives. McCain also believes in big government and, more worrisomely, I understand that he believes that the government should get into the job of financing elections, which will see the inevitable destruction of free speech in America. I would prefer Romney to either of them. Heck, I’d even prefer Giuliani to either of them, since Giuliani has given his word to appoint strict constructionists to the Supreme Court, and McCain hasn’t (and Lieberman wouldn’t). However….
However, if it came down to a race between McCain and Lieberman, on the one hand, and any of the Democratic candidates, on the other hand, I would vote for McCain and Lieberman without a second thought. Their understanding of the international risks we face makes them so far superior to the Democratic candidates that any other political liabilities they carry with them will just have to be accepted. I mean, think about it: If the candidates are virtually identical in their domestic policies, with the only real difference — and a very real difference indeed — being whether they are hawks or doves, who are you going to vote for? If you’re going to get one issue right when running for the White House, at least let it be the right issue. Domestic idiocy can usually be straightened out over time, but if we lose the War against Islamists, everything else becomes irrelevant and irremediable.
UPDATE: Not going to happen says the Captain, citing some very reliable sources.