Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Improvement in Iraq? You be the judge

Two members of the liberal Brookings Institute, Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, are just back from a trip to Iraq -- and they are pumped.


Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.

Wow! That's pretty cool.

But who are these guys, who say they have harshly criticized the Bush administration? As Glenn Greenwald points out, they've been war supporters since 2003. And that "harsh criticism"? They don't like the way Bush has executed things. In retrospect, that is; they tended to praise it as it went along.

This doesn't mean that they're wrong, and it would be very nice to think that they're right. But a war supporter claiming things are turning around is hardly surprising -- indeed, it's a mantra we've heard repeatedly at various points in the fighting. And the deceptive way in which they described their history with the war doesn't enhance their credibility.

I'd examine the specific points they make and decide whether they're significant, and take their overview comments with a grain of salt -- while waiting for September to come so we can make judgements based on fact, not biased opinion.

Update: Greenwald has yet another go at the pair, citing yet more writings showing that their support for the war has been pretty much constant -- including advocating a "surge" of troops before Bush ever proposed one.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And so in your opinion there must be a long time war critic who changes their minds and declares it a success BEFORE it's believable?

Problem is.....no matter how much success was there.....a long time war critic would most likely NEVER admit it. Because to do so, would be to admit they were wrong and Bush was right. For instance, can you imagine John Murtha going over there and seeing for himself a lot of success and then admitting he was wrong and it worked after all? Here's what I think would happen: you would see people like Hillary Clinton suddenly doing YET another 180 and going back to her original comments made in Oct 2002. After all, she's been on both sides, so she'll just pick whichever proves out to be correct and say that was her position all along.

JP5

8/01/2007 8:42 AM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

And so in your opinion there must be a long time war critic who changes their minds and declares it a success BEFORE it's believable?

No. Reread the last two paragraphs.

Here's what I think would happen: you would see people like Hillary Clinton suddenly doing YET another 180 and going back to her original comments made in Oct 2002.

Notice that you just described a way that war opponents would admit success, even in your worldview.

8/01/2007 9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes...."playing both sides of the fence" is what some elected officials do. John Kerry was great at it. It's called a cya ploy, but it is NOT the sign of a good leader. It's more the sign of a weasel. And it would not work on the people who keep up with these things and know better.

JP5

8/01/2007 10:50 AM  

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