POLITICS….From the Washington Post today:

Democratic leaders in Congress had planned to use August recess to raise the heat on Republicans to break with President Bush on the Iraq war. Instead, Democrats have been forced to recalibrate their own message in the face of recent positive signs on the security front, increasingly focusing their criticisms on what those military gains have not achieved: reconciliation among Iraq’s diverse political factions.

….House Democratic leaders held an early morning conference call yesterday with House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), honing a new message: Of course an influx of U.S. troops has improved security in Iraq, but without any progress on political reconciliation, the sweat and blood of American forces has been for naught.

Italics mine. Question: which is more infuriating, the possibility that this story is wrong or the possibility that it’s right? If it’s wrong, it means the Post is falsely making Democrats out to be idiots who are only now coming around to the idea that political progress is what really matters in Iraq. If it’s right, then it means Democrats really are idiots who are only now coming around to the idea that political progress is what really matters in Iraq.

I feel like I’m living in cloudcuckooland here. Political progress has always been the goal in Iraq. Everyone — Baker/Hamilton, Bush, Petraeus, Gates, Democrats, Republicans, you name it — has accepted this for as long as I can remember. The whole point of getting a handle on security was to give the Iraqi government “breathing space” to reach a political accomodation, a process that’s recently been going backward, not forward. The implication that this is somehow just a piece of desperate spin from Democrats trying to deny that we’re making progress is preposterous.

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