Yesterday, Slow Joe Biden and Harry Reid whined about Bush’s failed Iraq policy. Today, we receive more news that Bush’s Iraq policy, as implemented by Gen. David Petraeus, has failed:

Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered a six-month suspension of activities by his Mahdi Army militia in order to reorganize the force, an aide said Wednesday. The aide, Sheik Hazim al-Araji, said on Iraqi state television that the goal was to “rehabilitate” the organization, which has reportedly broken into factions, some of which the U.S. maintains are trained and supplied by Iran.

“We declare the freezing of the Mahdi Army without exception in order to rehabilitate it in a way that will safeguard its ideological image within a maximum period of six months starting from the day this statement is issued,” al-Araji said, reading from a statement by al-Sadr.

It was predictable that Sadr’s Mahdi Army would fracture in the absence of his leadership. It’s difficult, if not impossible, maintaining discipline when Sadr and his top generals are hiding in Tehran. It’s even more difficult now that Shiite politicians can’t protect these groups like they were able to in the past.

Bit by bit, it’s getting more difficult for Democrats to deny that the surge isn’t working. If the Iraqi Parliament is able to pass an oil revenue sharing plan when they return, it’ll be apparent to the American people that political progress is being made.

Democrats went from saying that the surge wasn’t working to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi saying that the Surge had failed to saying that the surge was showing signs of working but that political progress was nowhere to be found. If Sadr’s militia is shown to be dysfunctional and the Iraqi Parliament passes the oil revenue sharing legislation, Democrats won’t even have that fig leaf of cover to hide behind.

Here’s a reminder of what Reid and Pelosi said in their letter to President Bush:

“As many had foreseen, the escalation has failed to produce the intended results,” the two leaders wrote. “The increase in US forces has had little impact in curbing the violence or fostering political reconciliation.

Rather than asking President Bush for his opinion on whether “the escalation has failed to produce the intended results”, someone should ask Muqtada al-Sadr if he thinks the surge is producing “the intended results.” That is, if they can find Sadr, who’s acting like a scared little boy hiding behind his mommie.

If more information comes out about political progress from Iraq, Democratic presidential candidates will have to shift tactics totally. They’ve been having a contest to see which one can make the most disparaging statements about Iraq. They’ve talked about how President Bush’s policies have been proven to be failures.

By comparison, Republican presidential candidates haven’t wavered from their beliefs that the war must be won.

Based on what might be called the ‘presidential campaign rule of simplicity’, I’d say that Democrats will have a difficult time talking about Iraq. They’ll have an even more difficult task defending their positions. The ‘presidential campaign rule of simplicity’ can be defined this way: the longer the explanation, the less traction you’ll get on that issue.

Democratic presidential candidates are at that tipping point right now. Another nudge in the right direction and they’ll be without a defense on Iraq. Considering how big an issue that was for them, that wouldn’t be good news for them.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

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