Kevin Drum links to a Tacitus posting that portrays a more optimistic scenario in Iraq (Drum’s post is here, the Tacitus post is here), and then states the following:
Generally speaking, I think hawks are off base when they complain that the media present an overly bleak picture of how things are going in Iraq. Overall, things really have been pretty bleak and confused for the past few months, and reporters are just passing along what they see. The hawks may not like this, but they shouldn’t kid themselves that things are really hunky dory and it’s only media bias that prevents us from seeing how great things are.
Therein lies the problem. I am as hawkish as anyone (but I don’t presume to speak for all hawks), and what struck me was the major disconnect between my view of Iraq and what Kevin perceives my view of Iraq is (or other hawks, for that matter).
For the record, I think Iraq is a pretty bleak place right now. It is certainly not in my top ten places to raise children or vacation, and it certainly is not my idea of Nirvana. Having said that, I would take Iraq today over Iraq six months ago- and that is the point. Liberals and members of the anti-war crowd seem to have this impression that hawks (and here I am talking for all hawks- if I misrepresent you, my apologies) perceive all is well in Iraq. That is hardly the case- there are serious problems on the ground, and we have a long term committment that is going to cost a lot in terms of blood, sweat, tears, and money. What I do think, and what I think many others think, is that Iraq is a helluva lot better off than it was just a few months ago, and what really irritates us is that the only news seems to be the reports hat focus on the bleak, the dismal, and the troublesome.
No one said this is easy- we can get into a pissing contest over whether or not the administration prepared us for the long haul (I knew it was not going to be easy and an in and out affair, and for the life of me I do not understand where others got the impression this was goingto be easy), but there have been a number of successes in Iraq. They just seem to get overshadowed by the negative events in the press. That is what irritates us. I find it tiresome and foolish to enter into the partisan debates claiming ‘there was no plan’ and that ‘Iraq is the new Viet Nam.’ It simply was not the case, and it simply is not the case. When Kevin and others claim that hawks are painting an overly rosy picture in Iraq, he is missing the point. What we are saying is that it isn’t as bad as the media would let you think it is- and I think that is a statement most reasonable people would agree with at this point.
At any rate, even if it were as bad as the press and the left would like us to think, the solution is not to cut and run. Not only are the critiques and the assessment of the situation off base to many of the ‘hawks,’ but the only solution that can be inferred from the rhetoric on the left is not very appealing.
And don’t go flaming Kevin- I am just responding to this post of his, not the overall tone of his Iraq coverage.
Well, I do see an awful lot of comments accusing the press of deliberately choosing to report bad news and ignore good news. I don’t really see that, myself. I think Iraq has a lot of problems and that’s what they’re reporting.
I agree that Iraq is better off without Saddam, and I *definitely* agree that it’s not on my top ten vacation list.
Man, I’m sure glad we at least agree about that!
Paul Wolfowitz said it in a recent statement, and I blog him:
Remember that statement as you read the rants that are being porduced by the loony left and the Democrats. Here are the three assumptions that we made that were wrong.
* No Army units, at least none of any significant size, came over to our side so that we could use them as Iraqi forces with us today.
* Second, the police turned out to require a massive overhaul.
*Third, and worst of all, it was difficult to imagine before the war that the criminal gang of sadists and gangsters who have run Iraq for 35 years would continue fighting.
BTW, the assumptions were wrong about Omaha Beach on D-Day and about the Ardennes in December 1944. Incorrect assumptions are a part of tactical and strategic planning. It’s the ability to adapt that determines the success or failure of the overall enterprise. The fact that certain assumptions were incorrect does not, in any way, invalidate the enterprise undertaken.
You mean you can’t predict the future with any certainty? Crap. No wonder my stock portfolio is in such dismal shape. And here I just thought I was lying about how things were going to go.
That is the way things are with a lot of things that are on their way to improvement. Even that awful thing with the New York city school system you posted.
Things are awful. Theyre are people who have a lot invested int the old way of doing things, or don’t like the idea of an enemy doing a useful reform.
Iraq is was a pest hole. It is still a pest hole. From what I can see of Iraqi opinion, it will always be a pest hole – the same level of manners, whines and gratitude as France without the wines and beaches. However, there are now hundreds of journals publishing all kinds of opinions. People can say all kinds of thigs without fear of being shot, hung or shredded for their opinions, there is a huge amountof new commercial life going on, so things are improving exponetially. Exponential growth from such a low start dosn’t look like much, but if this continues for more than two years, Iraq will shock the world.
It is also nice to see some sort of accountablity has reached the New York school system. Now that people have seen the numbers fudging, theyre will be even more accountablity.
Anyway, if things are not yet perfect, that does not mean they are as bad as they were before.