According to this Pitsburgh Post-Gazette article, that’s Rep. John Murtha’s opinion. While his opinion of whether the surge is working has changed, his position of bringing the troops home hasn’t:

U.S. Rep. John Murtha today said he saw signs of military progress during a brief trip to Iraq last week, but he warned that Iraqis need to play a larger role in providing their own security and the Bush administration still must develop an exit strategy.

“I think the ‘surge’ is working,” the Democrat said in a videoconference from his Johnstown office, describing the president’s decision to commit more than 20,000 additional combat troops this year. But the Iraqis “have got to take care of themselves.”

Violence has dropped significantly in recent months, but Mr. Murtha said he was most encouraged by changes in the once-volatile Anbar province, where locals have started working closely with U.S. forces to isolate insurgents linked to Al Qaeda.

I suspect that this will be the new Democratic approach to Iraq. They’ll grudgingly admit that President Bush Gen. Petraeus was right and that the surge is working. Then they’ll quickly pivot from that and say that that’s why we need to establish a timeline to start bringing more of the troops home faster. President Bush should then restate his position that conditions and generals, not politicians, will establish any troop withdrawals.

I suspect that this has more to do with election year politics than it has to do with conviction. Lord knows that this won’t sit well with MoveOn.org, Kos and other anti-war activists.

UPDATE: I just visited DU. Damn, I’m good. Here’s a sampling of the comments to the Murtha article:

Wienerdoggie: Murtha–now’s the time to say, “time to go”.
Much easier to leave Iraq when things are calm.
Wienerdoggie again: Actually, that’s the only test of how well our military tactics worked…when we go home, what happens? Let’s see if the GOP wants to resist an exit strategy still. If they do, then they don’t have confidence in the results, do they?
calimary: Hey, weinerdoggie, that’s actually a VERY shrewd comeback line:
“Let’s see if the GOP wants to resist an exit strategy still. If they do, then THEY DON’T HAVE THE CONFIDENCE IN THE RESULTS, DO THEY?” If it’s working, then can’t we start bringing our people home? What? You doubt your own progress? You don’t think it’s enough? Hey, if it’s working so well, why can’t we just say we’ve won and go home? It’s worked! Mission REALLY accomplished! We REALLY mean it this time! Fer sure! Honest! We did it! We’re Done! Time to declare victory AND GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE!!! And there’d be enough worshipping bushbots out there who would swallow this whole, the way they’ve swallowed everything they’ve been force-fed by these bastards. They’ve already proven that they believe what they’re told to believe. So let’s tell them THIS. The war started on a lie. Why
not let it finish that way? If it means we get our troops out of there, and save their lives, their limbs, and their sanity, and a few bucks besides, why the hell not?

The first flaw in Calimary’s ‘logic’ is that we’re already bringing troops home. The next flaw is exposed in her saying “And there’d be enough worshipping bushbots out there who would swallow this whole, the way they’ve swallowed everything they’ve been force-fed by these bastards.”

What Calimary doesn’t understand is that conservatives demand that decisions be based on verifiable facts and irrefutable trends. The other thing that isn’t factored into this is the Iraqi government asking us to establish permanent bases in Iraq, which would be a strategic victory for the US and a defeat for Iran and the various terrorist organizations.

Here’s the section in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s article that I liked most:

Violence has dropped significantly in recent months, but Mr. Murtha said he was most encouraged by changes in the once-volatile Anbar province, where locals have started working closely with U.S. forces to isolate insurgents linked to Al Qaeda.

I was writing about that back in July and August. My question for Rep. Murtha is simple: Why didn’t a well-conected military expert admit this months ago? I suspect that the reason why Democrats are changing their tune is because they know they’re getting clobbered in the credibility department on Iraq. They can’t keep trotting Harry Reid and John Murtha out to tell us that things are hopeless when the NY Times and Chicago Tribune are running articles on how well things are going.

As I predicted earlier, the next step for Democrats in pivoting away from their disastrous policy is to declare victory as justificiation to bring the troops home. The key to bringing the troops home, however, will be in having verifiable proof that we’ve won, not just that we’re winning or things are heading in the right direction. Until we meet that benchmark, the policy shouldn’t change from the policy that’s currently in place.

In other words, lasting victory should be our only measuring stick.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

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