He was against the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and largely won the Democrat presidential nomination as a result.
He was also against the 2007 surge, and still has a hard time admitting it worked.
But now that things are going well there, Iraq "has the potential to eventually tilt the Arab-Muslim world in a different direction."
I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect Iraq to have relations with Israel anytime soon, but the fact that it may be developing an independent judiciary is good news. It’s a reminder of the most important reason for the Iraq war: to try to collaborate with Iraqis to build progressive politics and rule of law in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world, a region that stands out for its lack of consensual politics and independent judiciaries. And it’s a reminder that a decent outcome may still be possible in Iraq, especially now that the Parliament has endorsed the U.S.-Iraqi plan for a 2011 withdrawal of American troops.
Al Qaeda has not been fully defeated in Iraq; suicide bombings are still an almost daily reality. But it has been dealt a severe blow, which I believe is one reason the Muslim jihadists — those brave warriors who specialize in killing women and children and defenseless tourists — have turned their attention to softer targets like India. Just as they tried to stoke a Shiite-Sunni civil war in Iraq, and failed, they are now trying to stoke a Hindu-Muslim civil war in India.
If Iraq can keep improving — still uncertain — and become a place where Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites can write their own social contract and live together with a modicum of stability, it could one day become a strategic asset for the United States in the post-9/11 effort to promote different politics in the Arab-Muslim world.
Hmmm. Wasn't that the point, Thomas? Isn't that what the Bush administration intended from the beginning, and what liberals like Obama have been fighting against?
Yet, now that the surge has worked, and proved all of you wrong, you want to jump on the bandwagon and give those opposed to this strategy the credit:
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.
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.
As amazing as it may seem, Friedman is already laying the groundwork for Obama and all the Democrat doom-and-gloomers to take credit for a strategy they worked tirelessly to prevent.
Even more sick-making, it is a metaphysical certitude the rest of the Obama-loving media, themselves similarly opposed to the surge, will fall in lockstep with Friedman, and bestow upon America's 44th president great praise for the emergence of this new Iraq even though he had absolutely nothing to do with creating it, and we would have departed in defeat years earlier if they had their way.
Suddenly I feel nauseous...how 'bout you?