Some of the best of it comes about halfway through:
For most of the past four years, under Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, the United States did not try to establish basic security in Iraq. Rather than deploying enough troops necessary to protect the Iraqi people, the focus of our military has been on training and equipping Iraqi forces, protecting our own forces, and conducting targeted sweeps and raids—in other words, the very same missions proposed by the proponents of the legislation before us.
That strategy failed—and we know why it failed. It failed because we didn't have enough troops to ensure security, which in turn created an opening for Al Qaeda and its allies to exploit. They stepped into this security vacuum and, through horrific violence, created a climate of fear and insecurity in which political and economic progress became impossible.
For years, many members of Congress recognized this. We talked about this. We called for more troops, and a new strategy, and—for that matter—a new secretary of defense.
And yet, now, just as President Bush has come around—just as he has recognized the mistakes his administration has made, and the need to focus on basic security in Iraq, and to install a new secretary of defense and a new commander in Iraq—now his critics in Congress have changed their minds and decided that the old, failed strategy wasn't so bad after all.
What is going on here? What has changed so that the strategy that we criticized and rejected in 2006 suddenly makes sense in 2007?
Why is it that Senator Lieberman has recognized the flexibility, the openness to input on Iraq President Bush has continued to demonstrate, and yet otherwise sensible conservatives seem blind to it? It is important that we not lose patience with ourselves, but I find the temptation rising to shout at people I respect, over this very issue.
(If you don't want to be caught visiting Front Page Magazine's pages, out of fear of catching some terrible rightwing contagion, you can find it also at, uh, oh well, rightwing lunatic wink wink nudge nudge Power Line, where Paul Mirengoff was the first I know of to post it in its entirety. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it to appear at a leftwing site, though. Sorry. If you're nervous, get your shots, then go among the rabid conservatives, if you dare.)