Let’s recall another war that could not be won: the Cold War. Nearly everyone thought that the Soviet Union could not be beaten, that the best thing we could do was to come to an accommodation with them. Ronald Reagan thought differently. He said the Soviet Union could be defeated, if only we would stop propping up their regime and actively compete with them instead. (ASIDE: I heartily recommend Peter Schweizer’s excellent book on the subject.)
Reagan proved to be right, and was fortunate to live long enough to see the fruits of his labors. But not, alas, to see his critics admit they were wrong. Where once they called the Soviet Union’s defeat impossible, now they say it was inevitable. Where once they mocked Reagan’s claims that his strategy would bring down the Soviets, they now say his strategy wasn’t even necessary.
The turnaround of the Iraq conflict shows the same pattern. Where once the left said that the US could not win (indeed, had already lost), and that the surge would only worsen matters, now they say that victory in Iraq was already underway and the surge wasn’t even necessary.