In the last year, though, the U.S. troop surge and the backlash from moderate Iraqi Sunnis against Al Qaeda and Iraqi Shiites against pro-Iranian extremists have brought a new measure of stability to Iraq. There is now, for the first time, a chance -- still only a chance -- that a reasonably stable democratizing government, though no doubt corrupt in places, can take root in the Iraqi political space.George W. Bush won the war, but if the Times and Friedman can't admit it, they should at least praise the second most responsible: the man Obama defeated, John McCain.
That is the Iraq that Obama is inheriting. It is an Iraq where we have to begin drawing down our troops -- because the occupation has gone on too long and because we have now committed to do so by treaty — but it is also an Iraq that has the potential to eventually tilt the Arab-Muslim world in a different direction.
I’m sure that Obama, whatever he said during the campaign, will play this smart. He has to avoid giving Iraqi leaders the feeling that Bush did -- that he’ll wait forever for them to sort out their politics -- while also not suggesting that he is leaving tomorrow, so they all start stockpiling weapons.
If he can pull this off, and help that decent Iraq take root, Obama and the Democrats could not only end the Iraq war but salvage something positive from it. Nothing would do more to enhance the Democratic Party’s national security credentials than that.
(via Confederate Yankee)