One is the best of the blogs from within Baghdad, Iraq the Model. These intrepid Iraqi bloggers have since the fall of Saddam been chronicling life within Iraq from the perspective of Iraqis who long for liberty. They note that despite the upsurge of attacks today, the mood in the city remains hopeful, with more people returning to their homes than leaving them.
We can also recommend the on-the-scene reporting of NPR's Anne Garrels. Though part of the establishment media, Garrels shows more willingness than most to consider the perspectives of the military commanders who are ready to take the risk of deployments scattered away from fortified bases. And these commanders, to a man, report on decreased levels of violence where their forces are nearby and at the ready to respond in seconds to reports of violence. Garrels was also the first to notice the unifying effect that the announcement of the surge had on the Iraqi parliament.
All this hopeful news makes SWNID hopeful, especially in light of history. As President Bush said today in commemoration of Presidents Day, the Revolutionary War, led by the immortal George Washington, was perceived by Washington as "a test of wills, and his will was unbreakable." The national will is much flabbier than in Washington's day, but maintaining it long enough to see this through to the end is the key to success.
If the surge succeeds as we hope it will, there will be those who will ask whether Bush should have appointed the dissenter Petraeus to command earlier. They might as well also ask Lincoln why it took him so long to appoint Grant to command the Army of the Potomac. But we'll let Rudy Giuliani sum all this up, as he did the other night on Larry King (emphasis inserted):
GIULIANI: I don't know. I hope -- I hope I would. I mean, you know, I hope -- I hope that I would learn from the mistakes that were made in this situation.
KING: Such as?
GIULIANI: Just as the mistakes I made when I was mayor, I tried to learn from them. If I get to be president of the United States, I probably won't make the same mistakes, because I will have learned from them. I'll probably make different ones.
KING: Now how is...
GIULIANI: And then the next one will learn from the ones that I made. And I would say that about Bill Clinton or George Bush. This job is so difficult that you've got to have humility about it and you have to understand how to look at the past not in a way in which you cast blame, but you learn from it.