Michael Totten, one of the few truly good journalists operating in Iraq, reports on the improvement he’s noticed since last summer, even in the former Hell-hole of Fallujah:
There’s a gigantic perception lag in America these days. The Iraq of the popular imagination and the Iraq of the real world are not the same country. It wouldn’t be quite right to say Fallujah is safe. You do not want to come here on holiday. But I’m a lot safer here as an American than any terrorist or insurgent would be.
The Marines and Iraqi police find caches of weapons every day, thanks to tips called in by locals. No insurgent can plant an IED without getting turned in by war-weary civilians. Recently, an Al Qaeda cell from outside of town showed up and tried to distribute propaganda DVDs. They too were turned over to the police.
There are only 250 Marines in Fallujah, a city of about 350,000, right now. Last year, there were 3,000 Marines. Because the city is pacified, troops that were here can join the additional surge forces that are clearing and holding more volatile areas.
The Democrats have a heckuva problem on their hands. They risked their electoral prospects on what I call the "Copperhead strategy," in honor of their 1860s forebears: betting on an American defeat, hoping that public dissatisfaction at losing would give the Party the White House, just as it gave them control of Congress in 2006. To this end, the Democrats have adopted unreservedly defeatist positions to convince the public all is lost and that we should withdraw now. They’ve publicly insulted the US commander in Iraq. They’ve even gone so far as attempting to unconstitutionally interfere with the President’s powers as Commander in Chief to mandate a withdrawal timetable that, if they had succeeded, almost guaranteed a bloodbath in Iraq.
Now that the campaign seems to have turned around in Iraq they’re left to explain to the public why they were advocates of defeat in a battle we’re winning. Totten is right about the perception lag, but it’s starting to catch up, and the Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media are doing their best to either spin the news their way or change the topic altogether. Ask yourself: what don’t you hear about in the news these days?
Americans don’t like to lose and they don’t like defeatists. They punished the Republicans when the former looked likely, and they may well thwack the eventual Democratic nominee for the latter.
(hat tip: Real Clear Politics)