John Kyl has an interesting article out, but it seems to me to be rather overly rosy-tinted about Iraq.
Let's go into some detail.
First, both the Iraqi leaders and Americans we met expressed cautious optimism about the new Baghdad Security Plan
Most of the Iraqi leaders were put into power by the U.S., so they know who to kiss up to. The Americans, presumably mostly soldiers, have to be optimistic. You can't survive a deployment of several months to a year without hope.
And the Iraqi government is now committed to a key part of the military plan, making sure that after an area of the city is cleared, the Iraqi army and police remain to keep it pacified.
Uh... seeing as the Iraqi Army is on the same side as the Shiite death squads, I'm not entirely certain that their staying behind is good news if our goal is to prevent ethnic cleansing and a nasty little civil war.
Two key Iraqi leaders noted a feeling among ordinary Iraqis, Sunni and Shia alike, that "something was different this time" - that this new strategy has a chance to succeed. All cautioned that there would be "bad days and good days" and that we wouldn't be able to pass judgment on the new strategy for months. But the sense of hope and optimism was still palpable.
No, Charlie Brown, I won't pull the football away this time.
The second message I took away from our trip was that we cannot micromanage this war from the U.S. Congress, either by cutting off funding for our troops or setting conditions on troop deployments.
Only the latter can be in any sense considered micromanaging, and even then it is dubious whether setting general conditions is really in that category (micromanaging would be more like Congress demanding to be consulted for every troop movement). Cutting off funds is macro in every sense of the word. What Kyl is really saying here is that the Congress cannot legitimately say anything in any way about the war and must let our glorious leader be the dictator in military matters that he so badly wants to be.
Beginning with our first meetings at Camp Arijan in Kuwait, senior military leaders consistently emphasized to us the need for Congress to pass President Bush's supplemental spending request to carry out the mission over the next several months.
I don't believe him.
Threats from some in Washington to block the request for funding or impose onerous restrictions on how the money is spent have our military leaders worried that they won't have what they need to fight and win. The troops with whom I spoke are also carefully watching the debate back home and don't want to be undercut while their lives are on the line.
Previopusly in the article he was trying to be part of the debate. But with these type of statements the goal is to distract the public from the factual aspects of the debate over whether or not the troop surge will do any good but subtly or not-so-subtly implying that any suggestion that we should not carry out the strategy will demoralize our troops. It's just a way to shut down debate.
...this "slow bleed" strategy that seeks to end the war by choking off funds and reinforcements is totally irresponsible. It would pull the rug out from under our troops just as they appeared to be making real progress against the enemy.
We have heard about this "progress" for years now. Why should we believe you now when every other time, you were wrong?
Finally, I left the Middle East with a growing concern over the pernicious role Iran plays in the region.
Ah, the call for expanding the war. Iran: the all-purpose excuse for current failures and for the need to escalate the conflict.
Part of the president's Baghdad Security Plan includes going after improvised explosive device networks and capturing those who bankroll them, regardless of their nationality. Some have criticized this approach as an "escalation against Iran" or a "prelude to war."
I don't think that anyone has suggested that going after Iranians who are in Iraq is "escalation." Kyl is just lying on that score. What people suggest is escalation is the idea that we need to bomb Iran in order to get rid of IEDs in Iraq.
We have an incredibly complex and difficult road ahead, but everyone I met in Baghdad - Iraqi or American, general or private - believed that we were finally moving in the right direction.
Either you are lying or you were carefully shown only people who were shills for the administration policy.
That is all.