The United States is now well into the fifth year of a war in Iraq that has, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, managed to get more Americans killed than 9/11 while alienating global opinion, undermining our strategic posture around the world, arguably speeding nuclear proliferation in North Korea and Iran and detracting from American efforts against Al Qaeda. The nation's elites, ever vigilant, have located the source of the problem: Public outrage over the sorry situation.
Washington Post foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius, for instance, wrote on Sunday that "a good start" in finding an exit from Iraq "would be for Washington partisans to take deep breaths and lower the volume."
That same day, Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of Princeton's prestigious Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, argued in the Post that, in the foreign policy realm, "the fiercest battle is no longer between the left and the right but between partisanship and bipartisanship." The former, with its hard-right hawks and strident antiwar types, is bad, of course.
Meanwhile, the very elites we're supposed to trust can't seem to get their stories straight. Ignatius says everyone's looking for the exits in Iraq, and we should just calm down. O'Hanlon and Pollack want us to stay put. And as TPM Media's Greg Sargent pointed out Monday, the optimism of O'Hanlon and Pollack is at odds with the conclusions of Brookings' own Iraq Index project. It reported July 23 that "violence nationwide has failed to improve measurably over the past two-plus months," and that -- contrary to their enthusiasm about the provision of electricity and other essentials -- "the average person in Baghdad can count on only one or two hours of electricity per day," far less than they had under Hussein. More ironically still, the person in charge of the Iraq Index is none other than Michael O'Hanlon!
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Big Media Matt:
by Atrios at 13:27