"I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence" in Iraq, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, said in January 2007. "In fact, I think it will do the reverse."
In Baghdad yesterday, after a day spent witnessing the reduction in violence in Iraq, Obama was asked by ABC News' Terry Moran if he was wrong..
"Here is what I will say," Obama said, "I think that, I did not anticipate, and I think that this is a fair characterization, the convergence of not only the surge but the Sunni awakening in which a whole host of Sunni tribal leaders decided that they had had enough with Al Qaeda, in the Shii’a community the militias standing down to some degrees. So what you had is a combination of political factors inside of Iraq that then came right at the same time as terrific work by our troops. Had those political factors not occurred, I think that my assessment would have been correct."
Why were teh Sunnis able to do that? Because the American troops were beating back Al-Qaeda. Why were the Shii'a militias standing down? Because of the overwhelming superiority of the combined US and Iraqi militaries. The surge CREATED the conditions for those things to happen.
It is rather like someone saying "I would have been right about the angioplasty being unsuccessful if the blockages in the arteries to the heart hadn't been removed and the blood hadn't started having a less obstructed flow. So while I will admit that the surgeons doing the angioplasty did a fine job, the changes in the conditions of the arteries and the bloodflow are what's really significant, and those might have happened on their own if my strategy of not doing the angioplasty had been implemented."