Iraq News Too Good for Even NYT To Ignore

The President's escalation strategy has failed. We need to stop refereeing this civil war, and start getting out now. -- Hillary Clinton, statement of August 23, 2007

As many had foreseen, the escalation has failed to produce the intended results. -- letter to Pres. Bush from Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, June 12, 2007

That's not a cement mixer you hear. It's the collective Dem gnashing of teeth. Things have gotten so bad -- meaning good -- in Iraq that now even the New York Times is reporting it. Have a look at Willie Geist -- sitting in for Joe Scarborough -- opening today's "Morning Joe" by holding up the paper's front page to display its headline: "Baghdad Starts to Exhale as Security Improves."

View video here.

Willie had a jocular take on the item.

WILLIE GEIST: Guys, we have to start [little reluctant there, perhaps?], front page of the New York Times, what amounts to basically state propaganda [said facetiously] for the war in Iraq on the cover of the New York Times, "Baghdad Starts to Exhale as Security Improves." We're also seing that kind of coverage on the front page of the LA Times. The New York Times piece talks about families returning to their homes, weddings in public, liquor stores opening -- the kinds of things we didn't see in the last several years.

David Shuster, serving as a panelist today, considered the political implications.

DAVID SHUSTER: This is great news for a lot of people. First of all for the Iraqis. But secondly when you look at the politics of this, Mika and Willie, this is great news for John McCain because it validates his position all along: if we had just gone into Iraq "heavy," with several hundred thousand troops instead of 150,000 or whatever we went in, that perhaps this would have happened sooner. McCain has been the one saying all along "look, we needed to have a heavier footprint. Now that we have it, things are getting better." So it's huge political news for him but it's also just great news for the Iraqi people, so at least this gives them an opportunity to start returning to Baghdad.

The panel went on to agree that the next crucial step is for the Iraqi government to seize the moment to make political progress. Geist wrapped things up nicely.

GEIST: When the New York Times prints a front-page exposé, essentially, about the improvements in Baghdad, that's big news anyway you slice it.

My two cents say that while this is indeed sweet vindication for McCain, it probably will be insufficient to turn his electoral fortunes around . But how long will it be till we hear Hillary reminding people that, after all, she did vote to authorize the war?

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.