Witness: John McCain's superior judgment on Iraq!
Colonel McFarland was contacted by one of the major Sunni sheiks. Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar awakening. I mean, that's just a matter of history.
The surge began in early 2007. Here's what McFarland was saying about Anbar in September 2006:
With respect to the violence between the Sunnis and the al Qaeda—actually, I would disagree with the assessment that the al Qaeda have the upper hand. That was true earlier this year when some of the sheikhs began to step forward and some of the insurgent groups began to fight against al Qaeda. The insurgent groups, the nationalist groups, were pretty well beaten by al Qaeda.
Indeed, most reports credit the Anbar awakening with beginning in September '06. Foreign policy reporter Spencer Ackerman first noticed the slip-up (if we can generously call it that), but it hasn't gotten much skepticism from the broader media. I'm not sure why. It badly complicates McCain's already-weakened narrative about the war, that all was lost before he "had the courage" to push for a troop surge.