My friend John Tabin lambastes me for endorsing this Jim Henley prediction:
As a reminder, the winter months are when insurgent activity drops, so look for a spate of stories about how "the surge is working" in the early months of 2007. Then look for everything to fall apart again as summer turns toward fall.
But insurgent attacks are down from the previous months and down from the summer. What'll happen when the additional troops are brought home? Well, that's a different question: On this question, and this assertion, I have been proven wrong. Happily so. There are thousands of Iraqis who I thought would be dead, and they're not. That's fantastic news.
Unfortunately Tabin doesn't stop there. He points out that "the doves" have been proven wrong before, too, and quotes The Nation's predictions of Saddam's invincibility to prove it. Well, OK. I never said that the doves (and certainly not The Nation) were always right, only that the hawks were always wrong. Tabin throws my snark back at me:
[I]f one were inclined to be really uncharitable, one might throw Dave's declaration from that post right back at him: "These people are always wrong and should not be taken seriously."
If you're going to argue against that, you've got to defend the three and a half years of utterly wrong arguments by war hawks–including and especially the hawks who are now crowing about how the surge has discredited those irksome Weigels and Henleys. Here's surge architect Fred Kagan from August 2005.
If the U.S. were to keep its troop levels constant over the next 18 months, the manpower available to perform all of these critical tasks would increase dramatically as Iraqi forces became available to handle basic security functions… [If] Bush stays the course and pays the price for success, the prospects for winning will get better every day.
Not "send more troops," by the way–stay the course. It would take a few more months of bloodshed for Kagan to realize that the previous successful plans were unsuccessful and we needed a new successful plan. Here's Sen. Joe Lieberman from November 2005.
The leaders of America's military and diplomatic forces in Iraq, Gen. George Casey and Ambassador Zal Khalilzad, have a clear and compelling vision of our mission there… Does America have a good plan for doing this, a strategy for victory in Iraq? Yes we do.
To say in early 2007 that Iraq war hawks were "always wrong" was more or less as true as arguing that salmon go upstream to spawn. Right now we're seeing the amusing spectacle of guys like Bill Kristol pondering that the Democratic victory in 2006 was perhaps "providential" because it changed Bush's strategy, after arguing in 2006 that we would win the war if we stayed the course and "kept our nerve."