…the reaction to yesterday’s Op-Ed piece in the NYT should remove any doubt.
Brookings scholars Michael E. O’Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack used the most established of platforms, the Op-Ed page of The New York Times, to offer the most politically incorrect of arguments on Monday: “We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms.”
Their 1,343-word piece, “A War We Just Might Win,” instantly provoked a more furious ideological shootout than has been sparked by any recent development on the battleground or action by the Bush administration.
O’Hanlon told The Politico in an e-mail that he and his co-author were espousing “just temporary optimism,” but their article was treated by the left and right as if it were etched on golden tablets.
“Often Wrong, But Never In Doubt” was the headline on the progressive Think Progress blog of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. The posting, which asserted O’Hanlon and Pollack were “embarking on a public relations tour calling for stay the course,” drew 228 comments. A printout runs 56 pages. Elsewhere, the site accused the two of “shilling.”
In his Interesting Times blog for The New Yorker, George Packer encapsulated the reaction of liberal former war supporters with a piece that suggests the O’Hanlon/Pollack article lacks “a necessary humility.”
On the right, these liberal hawks were hailed as returning heroes. The Web site of the conservative Weekly Standard called the piece “Required Reading,” saying it “conforms well with much of the reporting that has come out of Iraq recently.” A later post attacked those who tried to discredit it. …
The criticism ranged from mild to scathing. On “Swampland,” the blog of the TIME magazine Washington bureau, Jay Carney wrote: “Stories saying we’re finally turning a corner — like the ones insisting the next sixth months are critical — should be read with immense doses of skepticism.” And Joe Klein — in a post called “What’s Missing in this Column?” — said he agrees “with many, but not all, of the conclusions” and said they devoted too little attention “to the political situation, which is disastrous.”
The piece was mocked with headlines like “The War Is Great,” and several sites complained that the conclusions contradicted the data in O’Hanlon’s “Iraq Index.”
Forgetting for a moment the value of the assessment by the 2 authors, the value of the piece as a way out outing defeatists liberals remains unrivaled.
The liberals in this country are so deranged that good news in Iraq is now considered bad news. Rather than being pleased that we might be making progress and hopeful for American success, the liberals in this country are actively –and near openly– hoping for defeat.
But don’t question their patriotism. They support the troops.