Sunday will mark the second anniversary of the day Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared the war in Iraq was lost, and the surge would not accomplish anything. Reid said “I believe myself that the secretary of state, secretary of defense and — you have to make your own decisions as to what the president knows — (know) this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything as indicated by the extreme violence in Iraq yesterday,” said Reid said at the time.
Democrats took control of Congress in January of 2007 and the next month the House passed a non-binding resolution condemning the troop surge. Reid cheered on passage of the resolution by praising it as a “symbolic victory.” The Senate version of the resolution fell 4 votes short of cloture. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said resolution made it “pretty clear” Congress did not want Gen. Patraeus to “have the resources he needs” and this “certainly emboldens the enemy and our adversaries”.
In mid-February of 2007, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), the Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, held a press conference to announce a new Democratic strategy and said, “The U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring (the troops) home.”
Murtha also said groups such as Moveon.org and the “Win Without War coalition,” had agreed to spend millions of dollars on an advertising campaign to end the Iraq War. The focus was on “limiting the administration’s options” so President Bush would be forced to withdraw American troops. through the passage of legislation and the inclusion of several stipulations for receipt of funding in appropriations bills.
Murtha called it a “Slow Bleed Strategy” and it was designed to dry up the supplies the military would need. At one time al Qaeda in Iraq had 10,000 troops, but today over 9,000 of them are deceased. The conflict is not over but troop withdrawals are taking place, and the situation is far better today. President Obama was wise to retain Secretary Gates and he maintained continuity with the Bush administration policies that were working.
On his recent visit, Obama praised our troops in Iraq: “From getting rid of Saddam, to reducing violence, to stabilizing the country, to facilitating elections — you have given Iraq the opportunity to stand on its own as a democratic country. That is an extraordinary achievement.” He never said that during the campaign, but at least he is saying it now.