We know, we know: the Petraeus report has been treated like the Second Coming. Republicans have been reverential; Democrats deferential.
And it’s easy to believe that this long-awaited “See you in September” moment is doomed to pass without significant pushback on the administration’s Endless Surge strategy.
But not all significant Republicans are on board, not by a long shot.
Today’s case in point: George Will. In a column called “A War Still Seeking a Mission,” Will initially sounds like a Arianna Huffington minus the accent:
“Before Gen. David Petraeus’s report, and to give it a context of optimism, the president visited Iraq’s Anbar province to underscore the success of the surge in making some hitherto anarchic areas less so. More significant, however, was that the president did not visit Baghdad. This underscored the fact that the surge has failed, as measured by the president’s and Petraeus’s standards of success.”
Of course, Will can’t bring himself to call for the withdrawal of combat troops, and he insists that most will still be in-country as of January 2009.
But if this is the thinking of one of the Right’s chief intellectual barometers, then the forecast isn’t entirely bleak for you and me.
Late Update, Wednesday, 6:13 am:
And lookee what we have here: Elizabeth Dole is now warning that she will look favorably on “action-forcing” measures moving through the Senate.
Dole, right, flirts openly and shamelessly with flailing Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman
Again, you can see the deep penetration of Democratic talking points into even very conservative members of the GOP. Not co-optation of those talking points, mind you, but an acceptance forced by and based upon overwhelming public opinion:
“The difficulty of the current American and Iraqi situation is rooted in large part in the Bush administration’s substantial failure to understand the full implications of our military invasion and the litany of mistakes made at the outset of the war,” Dole said.
Failure being the operative word, of course.