An article concerning the changing situation in Iraq is gaining a lot of attention, given its source. Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack are two writers at the Brookings Institution, a liberal leaning think tank, who have been sharply critical of the Bush Administration's policy in Iraq. Their article published today in the New York Times describes the improvement they saw during their latest visit to the war-torn country from the situation they saw on earlier visits.
Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.
After the furnace-like heat, the first thing you notice when you land in Baghdad is the morale of our troops. In previous trips to Iraq we often found American troops angry and frustrated — many sensed they had the wrong strategy, were using the wrong tactics and were risking their lives in pursuit of an approach that could not work.
Today, morale is high. The soldiers and marines told us they feel that they now have a superb commander in Gen. David Petraeus; they are confident in his strategy, they see real results, and they feel now they have the numbers needed to make a real difference.
Credit is due to the authors for being open-minded about the changing Iraq situation and to the NYT for publishing this piece which challenges their own gloomy editorial position.