December 2006: Democrats have just scored a blowout in Congress, Iraq is in shambles, and the country is calling for Bush to change course. He does. But he changes course in the other direction, radically revising his Iraq strategy, adopting aggressive new rules of engagement, and sending in 30,000 more troops.
January 5, 2007: Democrats launched their assault.
Senator Christopher Dodd
A 'surge' of American troops will do nothing.Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi open letter to Bush
Surging forces is a strategy that you have already tried, and that has already failed.Richard Durbin
The surge was "a sad, ominous echo of something we've lived through in this countryJohn Kerry
I'm confident it will not work
January 25, 2007: Senate Democrats joined the Republicans in late January in unanimously confirming the appointment of General David Petraeus, a counterinsurgency expert and coauthor of the new surge proposal, sending him off with godspeed and good wishes to the front.
February 5, 2007: Democratic Sen. Carl Levin introduces resolution that declared the Senate's disagreement with the "plan to augment our forces"
February 13, 2007: Politico website article
Afraid of moving directly to defund the armed forces, Democrats decided on a series of steps that would have the same effect without saying so, i.e., putting so many restrictions and regulations on troop deployments that the number available would in effect be greatly reduced. These would be sponsored by veterans (James Webb and John Murtha), and the stated goal would be to help the armed forces. The real goal, however, was to strangle the surge in its crib. "Top House Democrats, working in concert with antiwar groups, have decided against using congressional power to force a
quick end to U.S. involvement . . . and instead will pursue a slow-bleed strategy designed to gradually limit the administration's options." the "goal is to limit or sharply reduce the number of U.S. troops available for the Iraq conflict, rather than to openly cut off funding for the war itself."
February 19, 2007: Majority Leader Harry Reid introduces resolution that it's the sense of Congress that "Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq."
April 12, 2007: Majority Leader Harry Reid
Senator Schumer has shown me numbers that are compelling and astounding. We are going to pick up Senate seats as a result of this war.
April 19, 2007: Harry Reid
I believe myself that the secretary of state, the secretary of defense--and you have to make your own decision as to what the president knows--know that this war is lost and that the surge is not accomplishing anything.
May 1, 2007: Sen. Ted Kennedy
The surge was supposed to bring stability. . . . It hasn't and it won't.
May 15, 2007: Sen. Dodd
The evidence is clear it is not happening and it will not happen.
May 16, 2007: Sen. Durbin
This Senate knows that the administration's policy in Iraq has failed.
June 1, 2007: Sen. Biden
The surge has not worked and will not work.
June 13, 2007: joint letter from Speaker Pelosi & Maj. Leader Reid to Pres. Bush
As many had foreseen, the escalation has failed to produce the intended results.
July 9, 2007:Harry Reid
Democrats and military experts and the American people know the president's current strategy is not working and we cannot wait until September to act.Sen. Diane Feinstein
Today, a majority of the Senate sees that the surge is not working. . . . Do we change course now or do we wait until September? . . . I believe the answer is clear.Sen. Webb
I don't care what the report says next week. I don't care what the report says in September.
July 27, 2007:The depth of the left's investment in an Iraq defeat came out during the last week in July, when, hearing from General Jack Keane that the surge might be working, Representative Nancy Boyda was so shaken she fled a congressional hearing.
Rep. Nancy Boyda
There was only so much that you could take until we in fact had to leave the room for a while.
July 30, 2007: An op-ed in the New York Times by Kenneth Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution--both men who initially supported the war but had become harsh critics--said they had been to Iraq and seen a substantial change in the climate, and believed for the first time there was hope. (The headline on their piece was even more upbeat: "A War We Just Might Win.") Worse still, some Democrats who went to Iraq over the recess came back and said they had seen signs of progress themselves. While a few Democrats said that what they had seen made them less likely to call for retreat and more likely to give the troops time to accomplish their mission, most proved themselves more than up to the job of putting bad spin on good news.
August 22, 2007: A Washington Post piece
Democrats have been forced to recalibrate their own message in the face of recent positive signs on the security front, increasingly focusing their criticisms on what those military gains have not achieved.First on the list of things not accomplished was the creation of a strong central government. A pattern was emerging in which goalposts were moved steadily backward with each new accomplishment. First, military success was pronounced unattainable; when it occurred it was called insufficient. When once-hostile Sunni sheikhs begged to join the Shia-led police and armed forces, this too was called meaningless, as long as the "leaders" in Baghdad kept squabbling. Taking their lead from the media, where good news was no news and setbacks always resulted in large, screaming headlines, the war critics pronounced anything that was accomplished unimportant the moment it happened.
September 5, 2007: Senator Chuck Schumer
And let me be clear. The violence in Anbar has gone down in spite of the Surge, not because of the Surge.
The inability of American soldiers to protect these tribes from Al Qaeda said to these tribes, "We have to fight Al Qaeda ourselves.
September 9, 2007: An International Herald Telephone piece
Leading Democrats . . . preemptively assailed the expected findings on Iraq due this week from Gen. David H. Petraeus as 'dead, flat wrong' and said President Bush's likely call for continued patience in the war would simply extend an 'unconscionable' and 'completely unacceptable' policy.Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts referred to the general's testimony as a
Petraeus village . . . a façade to hide from view the continuing failure of the Bush administration's strategy.Rahm Emanuel
We don't need a report that wins the Nobel Prize for creative statistics, or the Pulitzer for fiction.Sen. Hillary Clinton
The testimony required the willing suspension of disbelief.Senator Dick Durbin
By carefully manipulating the statistics, the Bush-Petraeus report will try to persuade us that the violence in Iraq is decreasing, and the surge is working.
November 16, 2007:Majority Leader Harry Reid
It's not getting better, it's getting worse.
The point of this timeline is that it shows In less than a year, the Democrats had gone from demanding a change in a policy that was failing, to demanding a change in a policy that hadn't been tried yet, to demanding a change in a policy that at the very least had forestalled disaster and was proving to have some success.