Sunday, April 29, 2007

Want Some Ice Cream With that Humble Pie, David?

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That humble pie David Broder will have to eat is getting bigger:

The other day, an editor of The Washington Post's outlook section sent out an email soliciting opinions from a variety of experts on the question of whether Harry Reid was right in saying that the Iraq War was "lost." They promised to publish replies on the Op-ed page today.

Well, the piece is now up, and guess what? The Post article publishes the names of only three people who answer the question with an outright "No." And guess who the three are[?]

The answer: Frederick Kagan, architect of the "surge"; Stephen Hadley, National Security Advisor; and Victor Davis Hanson, military historian at the Hoover Institution.

And who are the people who answered "yes" to the WaPo's question on whether Harry Reid was right to say the war was lost? Here they are:

-- Barbara K. Bodine, a former ambassador and a coordinatorfor post-conflict reconstruction for Baghdad and central Iraq in 2003

-- Paul R. Pillar, former deputy chief, CIA Counterterrorist Center

-- Bruce Hoffman, Georgetown University; adviser, Iraq Study Group

-- Robert Dallek, presidential historian

-- Nathaniel Fick, former Marine infantry officer in Afghanistan and Iraq

Here's someone else who agrees with Harry Reid, although he was not one of the people quoted in the WaPo piece:

Lieutenant Colonel Paul Yingling said US generals had failed to prepare their troops properly and had misled Congress about the resources needed for the war.

Writing in the Armed Forces Journal, he said the US had repeated the mistakes of Vietnam and so faced defeat in Iraq.

Such criticism from a serving officer is rare, analysts say, although several retired generals have spoken out.

Via The Moderate Voice.

Also via The Moderate Voice (different writer: Shaun Mullen), Rick Moran of Right Wing Nut House pens a post in which he explains how his thinking about the possibilities for a U.S. success in Iraq have changed:

I hate writing posts like this. Since I don’t advocate an immediate “turn tail and run” the left climbs all over me. And since I don’t say everything is going swimmingly in Iraq and that we’re on the verge of victory, the right thinks I’m a traitor.

The fact of the matter is, most commenters here and elsewhere on blogs don’t do nuance. Those few (and you know who you are) who carefully read what I write and either agree or disagree to varying degrees, I am most grateful for and therefore, I am dedicating this post to you. Your opinions are the only ones I care about anyway because most of us have made a similar journey with regards to our beliefs and insights into what is going on in Iraq.

Even those of you who started out opposed to the war and who have commented intelligently here by critiquing our strategy and tactics, have caused me to think about where I stand. And of course, those of us who supported the war, still support the mission to varying degrees, but have looked on in frustration and horror as the Bush Administration, the Pentagon, and our generals on the ground in Iraq have made mistake after mistake, blunder after blunder and brought us to where we are now – the edge of the precipice – we all have had our eyes opened and beliefs challenged by practicing a little independent thinking.

I have come to the conclusion over the last few days that, due to domestic conditions here in the US and the inability of the Iraqi government and society to deal in a timely manner with the political problems that must be solved if Iraq is to have a viable, multi-sectarian society the United States is on the verge of suffering a humiliating defeat in Iraq. A perfect storm of almost non-existent public support for our war aims coupled with US pressure on the Iraqis to shoehorn radical changes in their society, their constitution, and their politics into an unrealistic and inevitably, an impossible time frame will ultimately doom our efforts to take any military success achieved via the surge and turn it into progress on the political front.

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