07/01/2010 11:08 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The GOP Won in Iraq--the Dems Lost Afghanistan

Ohmygod, a narrative shift. Of vast and shameless proportions.

We won the Iraq war. Won!

We're losing in Afghanistan--or, Barack Obama is losing in Afghanistan--but George Bush & Co. won in Iraq.

"Gen. Petraeus won in Iraq because George W. Bush had his back and the people of Iraq, friend as well as foe, knew it," says Bret Stephens, the deputy editorial page editor and foreign affairs columnist for the Wall Street Journal, and dedicated neocon.

This sentence is a mishmash of characterization and assertion that slips in its real news. The ostensible point is about the status that has attached to Petraeus, to be distinguished from the dubious status of the recently ousted Gen. Stanley McChrystal, and about the obviously better relationship between President Bush and his chosen general than President Obama and his. But the real point is about Iraq.

The neocon-sponsored nightmare--undermining the US reputation throughout the world as well as discrediting the neocon world view at home--is now a victory.

Stephens, along with his other diversionary feints, is making a contrast-gainer point.

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