Recent polls show that President Bush's support among the American people for the war in Iraq is at an all time low. Most people neither trust nor support the President's actions in Iraq.
And most feel the progress of the war is disastrous. Many have an image of near chaos in Iraq. The picture we have of Iraq is fueled by the strategic suicide bombings by the Iraqi wing of al-Qaeda. Bombings occur nearly every day, sometimes only wounding a few, sometimes killing dozens. Americans are occasionally killed, by mostly the deaths are those of Iraqi civilians.
The constant drone of bombings, combined with a coordinated and relentless attack on the President by the Democrats have driven his poll numbers to the ground.
Even the Republican controlled Senate OVERWHELMINGLY called on the President to deliver an exit strategy and demanded he provide regular updates on the progress of the withdrawal. It was all a weakened and demoralized Republican majority could do to prevent the attachment of a specific timetable to the bill.
The Democrats have clearly won the battle. They have won the "hearts and minds" of the public. The "Bush Lied" mantra has most believing the Bush did lie about pre-war intelligence and that he cannot be trusted.
Meanwhile, the actual situation in Iraq is quite good. In fact it is remarkable. Iraq IS A DEMOCRACY. The first truly free, democratically elected parliament will be elected 30 days from today.
Returning troops here in my home town (our National Guard returned after 15 months duty with no serious casualties, praise Allah), speak of the bravery of the Iraqi people and the amazing improvements in the country. This was their second tour and the results are very encouraging.
Not only are the people's lives improving, the infrastructure improving and freedom taking root (every home has a television, every town 50 newspapers, every village has restaurants and schools and stores, shops and markets. Food is plentiful. Hospitals have doctors, nurses and medicine.
But, the troops lived with respectful fear of al-Zarqawi and the Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda. These "terrorists" represent no more that the tiniest handful of Iraqi citizens But the brutality and the total lack of respect for human life (their own or their victims) has the people of Iraq living under a cloud.
There is no doubt, in the minds of our troops, that if the US abandons the Iraqi people, hundreds of thousands of innocent people will die brutal and horrific deaths. And the spark of freedom and the hope of democracy will die with them. The Kurds will fight and civil war is certainty.
Clearly the Democrats have won the political battle. The demand by the Democrats and increasingly by the American people is to negotiate a peace and set a date certain for withdrawal.
My only question is "With whom are we to negotiate this peace?" Or do we just "call it a day" and sneak out the back door and hope no notices our betrayal of millions of innocent, freedom seeking people?