I know a lot of you thought: Petraeus and Crocker are doing fine, why does Bush need to butt in and let the antiwar cabal make this about him, rather than about them?
But Thursday night Bush said something important — and he had to say it himself: Success in Iraq now means the U.S. defeats al Qaeda there (in what al Qaeda sees as the most important theater in its global struggle against us), frustrates Tehran’s hegemonic ambitions, and establishes a long-term relationship — political, economic and military — with the government and peoples of Iraq.
No serious argument can be made that the U.S. national interest would be better served by the alternative: retreating from Iraq in exhaustion and disgrace; letting Iraq become an al Qaeda base and/or an Iranian colony. Yet the war’s opponents will attempt to make that case by saying al Qaeda in Iraq has nothing to do with al Qaeda Beyond Iraq; the mullahs of Tehran just want their legitimate grievances addressed; and, besides, Bush lost the battle for Iraq long ago.
A stable Iraqi government that cooperates with the U.S. in the war against Islamist/terrorist states and movements would be less than the shining city on a hill that Bush intended to midwife back in 2003. But such an Iraq would be as good an ally — maybe better — than any other we currently have in the Muslim world. Surely, achieving that is preferable to a humiliating defeat – the outcome that MoveOn.org and its associates fervently seek.