"Today is Primary Day, and our momentum has hit New Hampshire," emails a breathless Michelle Obama (we put our name on her hubby's mailing list to keep an eye on what the other side is up to). To liven things up, we tried substituting what's really happening on the ground (red type) for the vapid, empty phrase du jour, "change," in her boilerplate message:
Thousands of people are realizing that
fundamental changestopping the Clinton juggernaut is within reach. The improbable is now possible.
My husband is a special leader. He has an amazing ability to bring people to the table and
create real changeentice them to abandon Hillary.
But he is the first to admit that this is bigger than him. Americans are ready for
changean end to the hegemony of the Clinton machine and ready to work together to make it happen. It's humbling and inspiring, but more than anything, it's an awakening for each one of us.
It's a wonderful thing to see what's happening here in New Hampshire.
Indeed. Not that we'd ever vote for a leftie like Obama, of course. As our imail correspondent writes, "Obama scares me to death, but let me have this one day of 'payback is a bitch, huh, Hillary?'" Thomas Sowell explains:
By far the best presentation as a candidate, among all the candidates in both parties, is that of Barack Obama. But if he actually believes even half of the irresponsible nonsense he talks, he would be an utter disaster in the White House.
Among the Democrats, the choice between John Edwards and Barack Obama depends on whether you prefer glib demagoguery in its plain vanilla form or spiced with a little style and color.
The choice between both of them and Hillary Clinton depends on whether you prefer male or female demagoguery.
Exactly. And speaking of demagoguery, you're probably aware that all the candidates on the left side of the aisle are hiding their heads in the sand and pretending, against all evidence, that General Petraeus's counterinsurgency strategy -- the surge -- in Iraq isn't working. Opinion Journal has the gory details:
Barack Obama is of a sudden the front-runner, so his view of the surge merits the closest look. His first assertion echoed what has become a standard line by the war's opponents, that "we have not made ourselves safer as a consequence." What can this possibly mean? In more than six years there hasn't been one successful terrorist attack on the U.S., even as places elsewhere were hit or actively targeted.
Then Senator Obama placidly said that the Sunnis in Anbar Province began to help the U.S."after the Democrats were elected in 2006." What's more, the Democrats' victory showed them they were "going to be left very vulnerable to the Shias." This obviously means the Democrats would abandon them.
But the Sunni Awakening, as it is called, with its fall in bloodshed, occurred only after the Anbar Sunnis were convinced that the U.S. troops would not abandon them to al Qaeda in Iraq. Sunni sheiks have said explicitly it was the new U.S. policy of sustaining the offensive against AQI that made it possible for them to resist the jihadists. The U.S. military has supported the spread of these "awakening councils" in other areas of Iraq. It is navel-gazing in the extreme for Mr. Obama to suggest U.S. Congressional elections caused this turn.
Well, that's what politicians do. Blame opponents when things go wrong and take credit when things go right. We googled one of Obama's foreign policy advisers we'd seen on Fox yesterday, Pulitzer Prizewinner Samantha Power of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, to try to divine her boss's "thinking" and found her otherwise thoughtful and helpful analysis of "Our War on Terror" -- published in the NYT at the end of July as the surge was starting to show positive results -- laced with reflexive anti-Bush sentiment. Even as she praises General Petraeus and the US Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, she can't bring herself to give the President credit for having chosen the General to carry out the surge. An excerpt to give you the flavor:
But criticizing the calamities of the last six years of American foreign policy has become all too easy. And it does not itself improve our approach to combating terrorist threats that do in fact loom large -- larger, in fact, because of Bush’s mistakes. The challenge now is to accept that just because George W. Bush hyped the threat does not mean the threat should be played down. Rather, we must urgently set about reversing the harm done to the nation’s standing ['guess she missed what the WSJ recently called the "new generation of European leaders clamoring to make friends with America"] and security by simultaneously reasserting the moral difference between the United States and Islamic terrorists and by developing a 21st-century toolbox to minimize actual terrorist threats . . .
The fundamental premise of the manual is that the key to successful counterinsurgency is protecting civilians. The manual notes: “An operation that kills five insurgents is counterproductive if collateral damage leads to the recruitment of 50 more insurgents.” It suggests that force size be calculated in relation not to the enemy, but to inhabitants (a minimum of 20 counterinsurgents per 1,000 residents). It emphasizes the necessity of coordination with beefed-up civilian agencies, which are needed to take on reconstruction and development tasks . . .
The Bush administration’s unwillingness to admit failure causes it to cling to a flawed approach rather than revisit its premises, adopt a new strategy or experiment with new tactics.
Once you get past the Bush bashing, we're on solid ground with Powers's analysis. Obama could do worse, although he could do better. We would recommend Bill Whittle's latest, BDS-free tour de force, "Forty Second Boyd and the Big Picture":
General Petraeus is not fighting the last war; he is fighting the next one. He did not arrive there and just hope for the best. He observed. He oriented. He decided. And he acted. And then he observed again to see what effect he had. And again. And again.
This is not firepower. This is not attrition. This is, rather, an intelligent, delicate, sophisticated, maneuver-based strategy. A light, but sometimes deadly touch. Fingertip control. Water flowing downhill, into the cracks which our enemy cannot fill.
As Michelle Obama said in her fundraising letter, "the improbable is now possible."
This just in (8:15 p.m.): Fox News projects John McCain will win the New Hampshire primary. Bill Kristol credits McCain's steadfast support of the war and the success of the surge.
Update II: "Hillary Clinton won last night by putting together the voting coalition that has held Democratic frontrunners in good stead for 75 years."