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FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR

Three little words, Senator Obama.

"I was wrong." Not hard to do.

The New York Times passed a grim milestone last Friday: it was the year anniversary of one of their most embarrassing editorials ever (Via Gateway Pundit).

The Road HomeIt is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.{snip}When Congress returns this week, extricating American troops from the war should be at the top of its agenda.That conversation must be candid and focused. Americans must be clear that Iraq, and the region around it, could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave. There could be reprisals against those who worked with American forces, further ethnic cleansing, even genocide. Potentially destabilizing refugee flows could hit Jordan and Syria. Iran and Turkey could be tempted to make power grabs. Perhaps most important, the invasion has created a new stronghold from which terrorist activity could proliferate.The administration, the Democratic-controlled Congress, the United Nations and America’s allies must try to mitigate those outcomes — and they may fail. But Americans must be equally honest about the fact that keeping troops in Iraq will only make things worse. The nation needs a serious discussion, now, about how to accomplish a withdrawal and meet some of the big challenges that will arise.

As it turns out, we didn’t: the moral cowardice of the antiwar movement in its rejection of the Iraqi War was and is only matched by in its moral cowardice in forcing a confrontation with its putative fellow-travelers in Congress. Absent that confrontation, the Bush administration was able to do what it does best: stubbornly keep going while ignoring criticism, for far longer than anyone reasonable could expect. This trait has infuriated friend and foe alike… but it paid dividends in Iraq, as the situation has now improved there sufficiently that the same New York Times that uncompromisingly declared that the war was lost last year is now grudgingly reporting that the war is being won, and that troops are thus being withdrawn both appropriately, and accordingly. No genocide. No civil war. No defeat.And no thanks to Senator Barack Obama.As you know, the junior Senator from Illinois has been a fierce war critic, when it suits him:

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday the United States cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems and that preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn’t a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces there.{blathering about the Sudan, which I might note is about all he’s ever done on the subject}Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, said it’s likely there would be increased bloodshed if U.S. forces left Iraq.”Nobody is proposing we leave precipitously. There are still going to be U.S. forces in the region that could intercede, with an international force, on an emergency basis,” Obama said between stops on the first of two days scheduled on the New Hampshire campaign trail. “There’s no doubt there are risks of increased bloodshed in Iraq without a continuing U.S. presence there.” {See also Don Surber, who is as disgusted with this… fellow… as I am.}

…and antiwar progressives should be heartened. Obama may have flipped on FISA, welfare reform, public financing of elections, the mental health exception for abortion, the individual right to own firearms, and the expansion of the death penalty for crimes beyond murder… but he hasn’t irrevocably betrayed the antiwar movement. Yet. But as the situation in Iraq improves – and it is in fact improviing; the NYT’s attempt in the article above to shift the narrative to Afghanistan is more diagnostic than anything that I can think of offhand – the Senator is not going to be able to keep to his position on Iraq and hope to win. He might have gotten away with calling for an end to a war that we’re losing, but calling for the end of a war that we’re actually winning resonates badly with the American voting public.

All of which means that, in order to salvage his electoral hopes, Barack Obama will eventually have to make a speech on the war. In this speech he will need to admit that we are winning. He will have to admit that the current strategy in place is why we are winning. He will have to admit that he opposed that strategy. He will have to admit that he was wrong to oppose that strategy, and that his opponent was right. He will have to admit that he made a mistake, and that if elected he will not compound his mistake by changing the current strategy. In other words, he is going to have to repudiate the taproot of his appeal among antiwar progressives, thus making every dime and second that they spent on his nomination fundamentally worthless.

Yes, it is safe to say that the phrase “with malice aforethought” featured prominently in the writing of that last paragraph.

Moe Lane

PS: Senator John McCain, a man with whom I have some serious policy disagreements with, nonetheless has my respect for his blunt statement that he would rather lose an election than a war. I mention this solely for the future despair of our our domestic opposition, whose unyielding insistence that their current paladin continue to advocate the loss of the latter is promising to ensure that he loses the former.

I would be sympathetic to this, except that I had that sort of nonsense burned out of me by the end of 2004.

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