Get PhotoCrank at PhotoCrank!
December 19, 2007

Another Convert On Iraq

Yet another Democratic Congressman has returned from Iraq impressed by what he found. This time, Joe Donnelly (D-IN) says that he sees where Petraeus is heading, and that we will succeed if we persevere in the short term:

U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly returned from a second trip to Iraq in five months encouraged that the mission there is going better and that by 2009 the U.S. military's role could be primarily as trainers and advisers. "I feel we've made progress, and the other part is I feel we can see an end game in sight," Donnelly, D-Ind., told reporters on a conference call Tuesday from Washington. "It isn't we just keep plugging away in the hopes something will turn out right. Gen. (David) Petraeus is working a plan and we seem to be heading toward a place where the Iraqis can be self-sustaining and we'll have a smaller presence in the background."

Donnelly's findings were in stark contrast to his visit to Iraq last July, when he said the only positive thing that happened in that country since the beginning of the war in March 2003 was the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

Donnelly made an interesting observation on reconciliation. Provincial governments have worked with each other more successfully than reported, doing better on pragmatic reconciliation than the central government in Baghdad. That may surprise some, as the media constantly talks about the lack of provincial elections. The government bodies in place appear to be delivering stability and security even without the elections, and the Iraqis are responding to the success.

Petraeus wants the force levels to return to pre-surge numbers by July, Donnelly says. He doesn't have much choice; the rotation schedule dictates that. Donnelly believes we can draw down to 100,000 by the end of 2008, a number that will not sit well with his fellow Democrats. If they cannot get the numbers down farther than that before the 2008 elections, they will face a significant backlash from the anti-war activists, who may abandon the Democrats for Greens or independents instead in some races as a protest.

For the rest of us who want to see the mission succeed, Donnelly's perspective shows that success is not a mirage or a Dick Cheney-inspired conspiracy. More hard work lies ahead, but we have the right strategy and the right leadership in place now to succeed.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Another Convert On Iraq:

» Bi-partisan Progress Reports from Iraq from GOP Leader Blog
Today Ed Morrissey over at the Captain’s Quarters Blog highlights more Democrat converts on progress in Iraq: “Yet another Democratic Congressman has returned from Iraq impressed by what he found. This time, Joe Donnelly (D-IN) says that h... [Read More]

Please note that unverified Disqus users will have comments held in moderation. Please visit Disqus to register and verify your account. Comments from verified users will appear immediately.