Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Premature Celebration

It’s sad when right-wing pundits like Hugh Hewitt, Michelle Malkin, and even our own Bill Hobbs clutch so desperately to such flimsy shreds of hope as yesterday’s Ken Pollack and Mike O'Hanlon NY Times op-ed.

Glenn Greenwald thoroughly debunks the “rank deceit” of the “liberal” Brookings twosome, who claim to be war critics suddenly and unexpectedly impressed by the progress in Iraq. In fact, they’ve been cheering on the war from the beginning--Greenwald documents Pollack/O’Hanlon war boosterism and false claims of progress going back to 2003. So have Greg Sargent and ThinkProgress. But don’t trust them -- or me. You can read Pollack and O’Hanlon’s pro-war oeuvre for yourself over at the Brookings Institution.

So what we really have are two well-known war boosters and Bush surge supporters telling us how great everything is going after an 8-day Pentagon-guided tour of Iraq. Stop the fucking presses.

Of course, this hasn’t stopped the story from ricocheting across the mainstream media: “Harsh war critics do about-face! Huzzah!” I first heard such crowing on CNN yesterday morning, when Heidi Collins interviewed Ken Pollack about how swimmingly things were going in Anbar province. Another U.S. Marine was killed there today. That’s progress?

Today I learn that Fox News and other conservative media outlets are touting this Op-Ed piece as some kind of vindication, as if Pollack and O’Hanlon have never been wrong about anything (they have). This is the same group of people who routinely dismiss the New York Times as liberal propaganda, who write off everything the Brooking Institute publishes. Now they suddenly believe the rainbows-and-lollipops picture of Iraq portrayed by Pollack/O’Hanlon? Are they that desperate for good news?

Here in Left Blogistan, we know better. We enjoyed poking fun at the New York Times’ more clueless op-ed writers; Atrios has his “Friedman Unit,” a snort of derision that even has its own Wikipedia entry. Personally, I believe David Brooks is senile and should retire to his front porch. Liberals know better than to jump all over a NY Times Op-Ed as proof of anything; this one was particularly bad because everyone from CNN to Bill Hobbs have touted Pollack and O’Hanlon’s “liberal war critic” cred as proof that what they write about Iraq has to be true: “Hey, if even vocal war critics say the surge is working ...!”

Problem is, it’s not true. Pollack and O’Hanlon are not war critics, and as Greenwald has ably documented, they’ve got a history of seeing progress in Iraq where clearly none has been.

Here’s another Op-Ed to chew on. Top-ranking Republican and war supporter Sen. Chuck Hagel’s Washington Post piece from April 2007. You remember, the one in which the Vietnam Veteran and Senator from Nebraska writes:
I came home from my fifth trip to Iraq with one enduring impression. The Iraqi government must make the tough choices now to produce political reconciliation. If there is no such reconciliation in Iraq, there will be no progress -- no matter how many American lives we lose and how much American money we give. We will have squandered our resources and efforts, undermined our interests in the Middle East and, however unintentionally, produced a more dangerous world.

Well it must be true! He’s a Republican, and he voted for the war! I’m sure with these credentials, Bill Hobbs, Michelle Malkin and Hugh Hewitt were all over that one.

No? I wonder why.

It’s curious to observe the orgiastic response to the Pollack/O’Hanlon piece. Again, I have to get back to, why? Some folks are saying it’s because conservatives are eager to paint a portrait of near-victory in Iraq. That way, when the Democrats take control in 2009, they can blame the Dems for “losing” in Iraq, like they’ve tried to blame liberals for “losing” in Vietnam all these years. That sounds about right; everything has a political motive with this crowd. Problem is, it’s not going to work. Truth shines through, it’s a natural law. Iraq was a mistake and nothing will fix it. All we can do is cut our losses.