WASHINGTON — More news from the beltway. Things in Iraq are going well. Well, pretty well, I mean. Not bad. Well, bad. But not really bad. Kinda bad?
At least, that’s the professional diagnosis, which is worth exactly what you pay to hear it. This can be gleaned by reading the slightly (again, kinda) more optimistic reporting stating that General Petraeus is the greatest thing since sliced bread. It would be fair to add that journalists would qualify that: if you’re into sliced bread.
There’s no point in discussing Iraq anymore because the most critical people are those who don’t really care what news there is — aside from the most recent body counts. Even if Iraq isn’t a quagmire, the conversation about it will be. And now, it seems, even those with a degree of knowledge on the subject are finding ways to skirt contributing anything meaningful without backing away from it.
Take this op-ed in the New York Times by Iraq war “critics” Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack. “Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq…”
Wait for it.
“…At least in military terms.”p>O’Hanlon and Pollack visited Iraq to discuss the progress with soldiers, and see firsthand the results of the surge to be reported on later this year. Their article has been lauded by conservatives as the harbinger of doom for the Iraq naysayers. Sure, O’Hanlon and Pollack go on to explain the integration of Iraqi forces and cultures, the high morale among troops, and the economic viability of areas once thought entirely lost. But it spoils the sweetness when they close with a line like this: br> /p>
How much longer should American troops keep fighting and dying to build a new Iraq while Iraqi leaders fail to do their part? And how much longer can we wear down our forces in this mission?Such is the bizarre way that these two Brookings scholars make sure their invitations to liberal garden parties aren’t fully revoked.
The latter half first. If we’re seeing military success, are we really wearing down our forces? Should we pretend that our forces are being worn down anyway by a crushing, terrible, unproductive military success, whatever that may be?
Let’s not forget the authors’ embrace of unreasonable expectations. Today, “Iraqi leader” is synonymous with idling fat cat, or worse, terrorist abettor. They have earned the ire of any person with an interest in dodging accusations of giving up on a winnable war. But there’s only so much a politician can do when the country is teetering on the brink of chaos (at least, according to the American press) and might sink deeper once the Americans finally leave (at least, if Democratic calls for withdrawal are to be believed).
The ease with which criticism can be lodged against the Iraqi politicians should immediately draw skepticism. Why?
First, because Iraqi politicians aren’t being called out by name. They are a mass of people unknown to Americans, who have trouble enough understanding the finer points of their own government. Iraqi politicians could be French politicians — what they legislate is foreign, and if no single person is mentioned, we just assume they’re all alike anyway.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online