battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won

I’m not sure how the Right can manage to spin this, but as we’re all aware never underestimate their determination to put on blinders and place their fingers in their ears up to their knuckles to avoid confrontations with reality, Escalation’s Goals Have ‘Totally And Utterly Failed

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently visited Iraq with Sen. John Warner (R-VA) and reported that the escalation is “totally and utterly” failing to produce the political reconciliation needed.

The media is reporting Levin’s comments as validation of Bush’s strategy. Fox News spins Levin’s comments as “praise” for the “surge results.” ABC claims the comments are proof of “success of the surge.”

In fact, in a conference call with reporters this afternoon, Levin conceded that the troop increase has “resulted in some reduced violence in some places in Iraq,” but specifically said the troop increase has not accomplished its stated objective.

The violence has gone up and down and moved around. Once that gets by the war blogger’s reality filters it translates into Iraq, the Country Club that The Decider Guy Contractors built. From Senator Levin’s press release,

We are also encouraged by continuing positive results — in al Anbar Province, from the recent decisions of some of the Sunni tribes to turn against al Qaeda and cooperate with coalition force efforts to kill or capture its adherents. We remain concerned, however, that in the absence of overall “national” political reconciliation, we may be inadvertently helping to create another militia which will have to be dealt with in the future.

Anbar is something that we could celebrate to some degree. It is a minority Sunni enclave that was getting beat up by both radical foreign fighters and Shia militia, but Anbar doesn’t equal great unqualified success anymore then 1 plus 3 equals six.

While we believe that the “surge” is having measurable results, and has provided a degree of “breathing space” for Iraqi politicians to make the political compromises which are essential for a political solution in Iraq, we are not optimistic about the prospects for those compromises.

Levin and Warner are both masters of toe tipping politi-speak. In plain English we’re no more closer to making Iraq into suburban Sacramento then last year or the year before.

In all of our meetings we witnessed a great deal of apprehension regarding the capabilities of the current Iraqi government to shed its sectarian biases and act in a unifying manner.

If we withdraw from Iraq will you be forced to buy a prayer mat, stop listening to Madonna or wear funny head gear, not likely Will the Enemy Follow Us Home?

It may be the most common—and, for many, the most convincing—argument against a quick exit from Iraq: Pulling American forces out would only move the war’s front line from the streets of Baghdad to the streets of Anytown, U.S.A. Or, as President George W. Bush often says, “The enemy would follow us home.”

Or would it? It’s a scenario that the index’s experts say is unlikely. Only 12 percent believe that terrorist attacks would occur in the United States as a direct result of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq. Eighty-eight percent of the experts said that either such a scenario was unlikely or that they see no connection between a troop withdrawal from Iraq and terrorist attacks inside the United States. This line of thinking was consistent across party lines, with 58 percent of conservatives saying they did not believe terrorist attacks would occur at home as a result of a military drawdown in Iraq.

That could explain why a bipartisan majority, 68 percent, of the experts favor redeploying U.S. forces from Iraq during the next 18 months. Although most oppose an immediate pullout, the situation in Iraq has deteriorated to the point that 1 in 5 experts, including 25 percent of conservatives, now favor an immediate withdrawal.

Saying that a withdrawal from Iraq will cause America to be over run by radical jihadists has got to be in the top five bizarre childish claims made by the Right. Its the same thing as jumping up and down swearing that the tooth fairy did leave a dollar under your pillow. That so much of the current national discourse hangs on this utter absurdity doesn’t bode well for coming to rational solutions anytime soon.

Have you heard that it was good to gain the day? I also say it is good to fall, battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won. – Walt Whitman

To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.- Sun Tzu, the Art of War