Lawrence Korb:The surge means that we added 20,000 more combat troops. But what began to turn things around in Iraq was, in 2006, after the Democrats won control of the Congress, the -- what they called the Sunni insurgents became known as the Sons of Iraq -- you had the Al Anbar awakening -- said that they would team up with us to go after al-Qaida in Iraq, because al-Qaida in Iraq had been so violent, the things they had done. And they realized that we were not going to be there forever.This is the deal, that that has gotten the violence down in Al Anbar Province, which is where it was the heaviest. And then, even before the surge was completed, in February 2007, Sadr, Muqtada al-Sadr, told his militia to lay down their arms.
Max Boot:First, let me, if I could just very quickly, correct a misapprehension that Larry Korb is perpetrating here, the same one that Barack Obama has perpetrated before, which is to say that the success that we are seeing in Iraq as a result of the Democratic victory in the November 2006 election.Now, that is just bizarre, because anybody who has been to Iraq knows that the Al Anbar awakening...
LAWRENCE KORB: If you want to correct me, then I'm going to come back, OK? She asked you a question. Answer that one.
MAX BOOT: Larry, let me finish my sentence, please.Anybody who has been to Iraq knows that the Al Anbar awakening began in September of 2006, months before the Democrats took office in the United States. And anybody who has been to Iraq recently also knows that there is no way that these brave Sunnis or the Sons of Iraq would be risking their lives if they saw that American troops were on their way
out.The only reason they are willing to stand and fight against al-Qaida is because they know that the commitment of the United States remains secure and that we will stand with them.
So, because Barack Obama, on multiple occasions, refused to acknowledge of the success of the surge, he, and his surrogates, are now in position to try and assign the success of the war effort to other factors. Of course, this argument is just plain nonsense. The surge, along with its counter insurgency strategy, were integral to the success of the war effort. This point is frankly beyond debate.
The important thing to take from this exchange is that it appears that Obama and his surrogates have dug in and will try and make the argument that downplays the impact of the surge on current success in Iraq. This is a significant victory in the Iraq debate for McCain. Now, I continue to believe that the most important debate over Iraq is forward looking not backwards like this. Furthermore, Iraq is no longer the front burner issue it was, and so Obama could lose the debate entirely and still win the election. That said, as long as Obama, and his surrogates, continue to insist on downplaying the surge, they will continue to be embarrassed the way that Max Boot did to Lawrence Korb.