We are witnessing two phenomena. First, after four years of misery the Iraqis themselves are tiring of war, have grasped what al Qaeda et al. do when in local control, realize the U.S. wants to leave only after establishing a constitutional state, not steal its oil, sense that the United States may well win — and are slowly making adjustments to hedge their bets.
In a wider sense, the war is as most wars: an evolution from blunders to wisdom, the side that makes the fewest and learns from them the most eventually winning. Al Qaeda and the insurgents in 2004-6 developed the means, both tactical and strategic, to thwart the reconstruction, but we, not they, have since learned the more and evolved.
As in the Civil War, WWI, and WWII, the present American military-which has committed far less mistakes than past American forces — has shifted tactics, redefined strategy, and found the right field commanders. We forget that the U.S. Army and Marines, far from being broken, now have the most experienced and wizened officers in the world. Like Summer 1864, Summer 1918, and in the Pacific 1944-5, the key is the support of a weary public for an ever improving military that must nevertheless endure a final storm before breaking the enemy.
The irony is that should President Bush endure the hysteria and furor and prove able to give the gifted Gen. Petraeus the necessary time — and I think he will — his presidency could still turn out to be Trumanesque, once we digest the changes in Europe, the progress on North Korea, the end of both the Taliban and Saddam, and the prevention of another 9/11 attack.
Read the whole thing here.
This is something I have been trying to tell people for a long time. Wars take time, mistakes are always made on all sides, there is a learning curve, etc., that the current conflict has been far better administered than past wars this nation has fought (some of which are celebrated as glorious victories) and that the current administration ranks among the best this nation has seen. I doubt that the current crop of tenured radicals will view Bush favorably -- they would have to recant too much of the venom and bile they have heaped on him -- but eventually I suspect that the considered opinion of historians will be "Trumanesque" at a minimum.