The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Monday, July 30, 2007
The Good News from Iraq and the Ungluing of the American Left
As I predicted earlier in the day, the left wing blogosphere has turned on the Brookings scholars who went to Iraq and noted the results of the surge. Glenn Greenwald, a.k.a. “The Lion of Jalalabad”, penned a characteristically windy attempt at character assassination. Thankfully, Matthew Yglesias showed more brevity.
Characteristically, both pieces didn’t take issue with what Brookings-men Kenneth Pollack and Michael O’Hanlon reported seeing in Iraq but instead attacked them personally. If you’ve studied the moonbats in their native habitats as I have the past several years, this comes as no surprise. After all, what is the chickenhawk meme but an attempt to win an argument by attacking your opponent rather than engaging his ideas? Has anyone come back from Iraq recently and not seen progress? Wouldn’t an effective rebuttal of O’Hanlon’s and Pollack’s article sought out such friendly sources?
When it comes to dealing substantively with Iraq, the left has a problem. For four joyous years, the left could properly point to a series of Bush administration miscalculations and screw-ups. In spite of being the first MBA president, President Bush spent years without having his entire administration working out of the same playbook. Donald Rumsfeld wanted to topple nations, not build them. And Colin Powell – well, who knows what his shop wanted? All we know is that State’s viceroy in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, made a series of grievous miscalculations such as the disastrous DeBaathification program.
Historians will long debate how much blame President Bush will get for these blunders. War is a tough business, and even successful ones are chock-full of screw-ups. Abe Lincoln doesn’t take much of a rap in the history books for letting the inept George McClellan or the buffoonish “Fightin’ Joe” Hooker run his armies during the Civil War. The fact that he got it right by the end of the war essentially erased many of those mistakes.
Since David Petraeus came to command in Iraq, unanimously confirmed by our prescient and wise senators, have you noticed what we haven’t heard? We haven’t heard any stories of operational stumbling. We haven’t heard any stories of strategic cluelessness. We haven’t heard anything that resembles the breakdowns at Abu Ghraib or the temporizing in Fallujah. In short, General Petraeus is running things superbly in Iraq.
For some on the left, this comes as a painful development. Tales of Bush administration incompetence have become a happy staple of the left’s list of grievances against the administration. While they still have Alberto Gonzales to (rightly) carp about, things on the competence front have improved in Iraq. Dramatically.
You will want to read the rest.