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Another Surge Convert

12:20 PM, Dec 8, 2007 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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In today's Washington Post, Pete Hegseth, executive director of Vets for Freedom, has coauthored an op-ed with...wait for it...Major General John Batiste.

Batiste, you will remember, is the formerly "antiwar" general who spoke out against Donald Rumsfeld, and who, until recently, was a Board Member of VoteVets.org (the antiwar MoveOn.org vets front group).

Today he joins Hegseth to write:

First, the United States must be successful in the fight against worldwide Islamic extremism. We have seen this ruthless enemy firsthand, and its global ambitions are undeniable. This struggle, the Long War, will probably take decades to prosecute. Failure is not an option.

Second, whether or not we like it, Iraq is central to that fight. We cannot walk away from our strategic interests in the region. Iraq cannot become a staging ground for Islamic extremism or be dominated by other powers in the region, such as Iran and Syria. A premature or precipitous withdrawal from Iraq, without the requisite stability and security, is likely to cause the violence there -- which has decreased substantially but is still present -- to cascade into an even larger humanitarian crisis.

Third, the counterinsurgency campaign led by Gen. David Petraeus is the correct approach in Iraq. It is showing promise of success and, if continued, will provide the Iraqi government the opportunities it desperately needs to stabilize its country.

There are two stories here: 1) A formerly anti-war general flips on supporting the war, and now believes Petraeus has the right strategy; and 2) Batiste has left VoteVets.org, and the antiwar movement, and joined up with the pro-troop, pro-surge, pro-victory Vets for Freedom.

The antiwar movement has lost one of its most powerful voices today, and it will be interesting to see whether they turn on one of their own, or come around to the view, supported by a preponderance of evidence, that the surge is working.