July 30, 2007

Shooting Messengers

After the New York Times got around to acknowledging progress in Iraq under the command of Gen. Petraeus by way of a generally optimistic op-ed by Michael E. O’Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack today, the blogs of the left are busy trying to discredit the authors as (gasp) supporters of the Iraq campaign. See Brian Faughnan at WWS on how that is problematic for them. Also at WWS, Michael Goldfarb comments on the NYT piece.

Tom Maguire looks at the previous positions of Pollack on the war. He helped make the original case for deposing Saddam, but has been a vocal critic of the White House since the invasion. And Allahpundit says O'Hanlon is now the left's public enemy number two...after O'Reilly of course.

Taranto notes:

what is most telling about this piece is the introduction:

Viewed from Iraq, where we just spent eight days meeting with American and Iraqi military and civilian personnel, the political debate in Washington is surreal. The Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility. Yet now the administration's critics, in part as a result, seem unaware of the significant changes taking place.

For the sake of argument, let us suppose that the authors are right when they claim the Bush administration has "lost essentially all credibility." Does this excuse the administration's critics for being "unaware of the significant changes taking place"--especially when some of those critics have, for reasons of partisanship, ideology or just plain animus, actively campaigned to destroy the administration's credibility?

In the critics' defense, one may say that they have not, by and large, been in positions of responsibility; that if things have gone wrong in Iraq, the administration deserves the lion's share of the blame.

On the other hand, those critics now include the leaders of both houses of Congress, as well as several politicians who would like to become president. For them, at least, it is a serious failure of leadership if they base their views on Iraq on their own disdain for President Bush, or the hope of exploiting voters' disdain for him, rather than on reality.

Besides, the Democratic Congress has the important business of impeaching the Attorney General to attend to.

UPDATE 7/31: Somehow I missed this post by Dean Barnett until this morning.

UPDATE 8/1: Read Michael Barone too.

Posted by dan at July 30, 2007 10:24 AM