President Bush's Labor Day in Iraq

While most of the country was grilling (I had Bratwurst with cheese--yum!), President Bush was having a meeting with several top officials of both the US Armed Forces and the new government of Iraq... in, of all places, Anbar. Frederick W. Kagan explains why that is significant:

Anbar, as everyone knows, has been one of the hotbeds and the most important base for both the Sunni rejectionist insurgency and al Qaeda in Iraq since 2003. It has been one of the most violent provinces in Iraq, and one of the most dangerous for American soldiers and Marines, until recently. Now it is one of the safest — safe enough for the war cabinet of the United States of America to meet there with the senior leadership of the government of Iraq to discuss strategy. Instead of talking about how to convince the Anbaris that the Sunni will not retake power in Iraq any time soon, Bush, [Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kemal al] Maliki, [General David] Petraeus, [Iraqi President Jalal] Talabani, and [Ambassador Ryan] Crocker talked about how to get American and Iraqi aid and reconstruction money flowing more rapidly to the province as a reward for its dramatic and decisive turn against AQI and against the Sunni rejectionist insurgency. In any other war, with any other president, this event would be recognized for what it is: the sign of a crucial victory over two challenges that had seemed both unconquerable and fatal. It should be recognized as at least the Gettysburg of this war, to the extent that counterinsurgencies can have such turning points. Less than a year ago, it was common wisdom and the conclusion of the Marine intelligence community in Anbar that the province and its people were hopelessly lost. Now the Anbaris are looking to the Americans and the government of Iraq for legitimacy, for protection, and for inclusion in a political process they have spurned for years. What is that if not a major victory in this war?
But you won't hear the Party of the Donkey proclaiming it a victory. Instead, they have already come up with their own talking points about why this isn't very important. Kagan's article (linked in the title) tears down these talking points one by one.

In short, it's well worth a read.