Democrat presidential candidates are acknowledging improvements in Iraq but moving the goalposts so they don't have to actually develop a plan for winning.
Advisers to Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama say that the candidates have watched security conditions improve after the troop escalation in Iraq and concluded that it would be folly not to acknowledge those gains. At the same time, they are arguing that American casualties are still too high, that a quick withdrawal is the only way to end the war [i.e., retreat] and that the so-called surge in additional troops has not paid off in political progress in Iraq.
Well good grief! The "surge" (and more importantly, the change in underlying strategery) has only been in place for a few months! Violence has drastically decreased, but it will take time for the safer environment to culture real political change.
Think about it: American politics has been mired in the Vietnam War for more than 30 years! The Democrats' last presidential candidate was set up and taken down based on his Vietnam-era record, and that's ancient history. Speaking of ancient history, the Sunni and the Shia have been fighting each other for centuries, and Iraq is additionally recovering from a major war on its home soil and a brutal multi-decade dictatorship. Maybe it'll take more than a couple of months of civil peace to iron things out!
I can't and don't believe that the Democrats' candidates are so much dumber than me, a mere blogger, that they don't already know all these things. So why don't they try leading the rest of their party into reality?