Thursday, August 16, 2007

Iraq Progress Causing Fits on the Left

I haven't finished reading the Der Speigel article on the dramatic progress of U.S. forces in securing large sectors of Iraq. It's worth noting some points about it now, however.

The piece opens with a discussion of the consolidation of peace in the city of Ramadi just weeks after a series of deadly U.S. firefights with insurgents. Just prior to the engagement locals said the area was a virtually uninhabitable security nightmare. Here's a key synopsis of the argument, especially as it relates to the enduring meme on the left that
the war is "lost" :

Ramadi is an irritating contradiction of almost everything the world thinks it knows about Iraq -- it is proof that the US military is more successful than the world wants to believe. Ramadi demonstrates that large parts of Iraq -- not just Anbar Province, but also many other rural areas along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers -- are essentially pacified today. This is news the world doesn't hear: Ramadi, long a hotbed of unrest, a city that once formed the southwestern tip of the notorious "Sunni Triangle," is now telling a different story, a story of Americans who came here as liberators, became hated occupiers and are now the protectors of Iraqi reconstruction.
Der Speigel's article joins a growing number of reports indicating that the surge is working. This USA Today article notes that the incidence of large-scale, al-Qaeda style truck bombings have declined by about half since early this year. Michael Yon, as well, continues to provide his online dispatches, which paint not only military progress, but political movement as well.

With the increasing frequency of positive reporting on the Iraq project, I'm sometimes blown away at leftist efforts to discredit the good news. A troubling case in point is
this post by TRex over at FireDogLake.

TRex attacks Michael O'Hanlon in regards to
his recent New York Times article making the center-left case for progress on the surge. Apparently, in an interview with Glenn Greenwald of Slate, O'Hanlon was peppered to the point of exhaustion regarding his on-the-ground research methods in Iraq. Most of O'Hanlon's sources for the update apparently were American, so TRex attacks him as a liar in his post:

I’ve been waiting for what seems like ages for Glenn Greenwald to publish the column detailing the results of his interview with feted “war critic” turned Iraq War cheerleader Michael O’Hanlon, and boy howdy, it doesn’t disappoint. You can read Greenwald’s column here with a full transcript of the conversation available here.

One by one, my man G2 demolishes the pillars supporting the conventional wisdom about O’Hanlon and Pollack’s wildly mendacious Op-Ed,
“A War We Just Might Win” until finally, poor O’Hanlon must have desperately wanted to curl up and hide, whimpering, underneath the table. This is why over at Sadly, No! they call Greenwald, “Glennzilla”.

The lies are so thick on the ground around this issue that it’s hard to know where to begin, but let’s start with one of the more glaring falsehoods, that O’Hanlon and Pollack (both from the pro-Iraq-War “liberal” think tank, the Brookings Institute) were “fierce critics” of the president’s catastrophic invasion of Iraq.
Read the rest. TRex is mad because O'Hanlon since 2003 - in his periodic New York Times updates - has been a sober skeptic on the possibility of U.S. success in the war, and now he's changed his stripes. Maybe O'Hanlon's in fact a fire-breathing Cheneyite under cover at the liberal-leaning Brookings institution. It's all so subterranean!

The problem is that TRex has only succeeded in demonstrating how well he can work to impugn someone's reputation. He compares O'Hanlon's reporting with
Judith Miller's New York Times articles making the case for Iraqi WMD in the run-up to the war. That ought to get the radical hordes fired up!

Unfortunately, the evidence is coming in too strongly for TRex to even have a shred of credibility. His post looks like a desperate rear-guard attempt to spin success into failure. Liberals are quaking that the U.S. might win in Iraq.

One might expect if the left "supported the troops" they'd be applauding at the news of American and Iraqi progress. Given FireDogLake's project (and I'm sure many others in the left blogosphere), that'd be a bad bet.

Hat tip to
Jules Crittenden.

No comments: