In an interesting turn of events, Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) took some time off from his efforts to keep dangerous video games out of the hands of the little kids they were designed for, to issue a remarkable statement on the War in Iraq through in the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal on Monday.
Of course, the context of this is that Lieberman would really like a shot at the White House in 2008, but given the ever-leftward direction his party is going, taking a positive position on the War in Iraq seems like a strange way to win its general election.
Lieberman is far from ignorant about Iraq. He is certainly among the brighter people on Capitol Hill, however misguided he may be on some subjects. The gist of his Iraq position seems to be that the situation is nowhere near as grim as many - especially many in his own party - paint it, and that there's no justification for pulling out our troops.
Lieberman's familiarity with the region is considerable. He's made many, many trips to Israel during his career and has been to Iraq four times in the last year and a half alone. No one on Capitol Hill knows as much as he does about what's going on in Iraq, and his article is basically a report on his recently ended tour there.
Lieberman's basic observation on the overall improvement in the situation in Iraq is pretty significant:
Progress is visible and practical. In the Kurdish North, there is continuing security and growing prosperity. The primarily Shiite South remains largely free of terrorism, receives much more electric power and other public services than it did under Saddam, and is experiencing greater economic activity. The Sunni triangle, geographically defined by Baghdad to the east, Tikrit to the north and Ramadi to the west, is where most of the terrorist enemy attacks occur. And yet here, too, there is progress.
He verifies what sources from within Iraq have been saying and which the eager beavers of the antiwar movement have been denying desperately, that conditions in most of Iraq are better than they've been in a generation, even in many of the most troubled areas. He has seen firsthand that the country is recovering and that people are embracing and making use of their freedom.
He goes on into more specifics:
There are many more cars on the streets, satellite television dishes on the roofs, and literally millions more cell phones in Iraqi hands than before. All of that says the Iraqi economy is growing.