It’s hard to disagree with Charles Krauthammer’s assessment:
Just four months after Sept. 11, George Bush identified Iran, Iraq and North Korea as the “axis of evil” and declared that defanging these rogue regimes was America’s most urgent national security task. Bush will be judged on whether he succeeded.
Six years later and with time running out on this administration, the Bush legacy is clear: one for three. Contrary to current public opinion, Bush will have succeeded on Iraq, failed on Iran and fought North Korea to a draw.
<more> And in closing, Krauthammer reminds us of a bit of true history:
It took Bush three years to find his general (as it did Lincoln) and turn a losing war into a winnable one. Baghdad and Washington are currently discussing a long-term basing agreement that could give the United States a permanent military presence in the region and a close cooperative relationship with the most important country in the Middle East heartland — a major strategic achievement.
Nonetheless, the pressure on this administration and the next to get out prematurely will remain. There are those for whom our only objective in Iraq is reducing troop levels rather than securing a potentially critical Arab ally in a region of supreme strategic significance.