The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Your Iraq 'surge' brain trust

I'd hate to be accused of ignoring arguments from those who support the "surge," so how about the level-headed and genteel Joe Klein?

The latest to make a fool of himself is Paul Krugman of the New York Times, who argues that those who favor the increase in troops are either cynical or delusional. Mostly the latter. Delusional neocons like Bill Kristol and Fred Kagan, to be precise. But what about retired General Jack Keane--whom Krugman doesn't mention--and the significant number of military intellectuals who have favored a labor-intensive counterinsurgency strategy in Baghdad for the past three years...they, not Kagan and Kristol, are the motivating force behind Bush's new policy. As for K & K, Krugman's right: they've been wrong about Iraq. But at least they've taken the trouble to read the doctrine and talk to key players like Keane and General David Petraeus. Liberals won't ever be trusted on national security until they start doing their homework.

Never mind that we've been hearing Bush say he'll make decisions based on what commanders on the ground say since before the war began-- and then going against that advice every step of the way. Ezra Klein points to a couple of sentences from the latest cover story of Joe Klein's own magazine:

Kagan argued for a surge last fall in the pages of the Weekly Standard, the neocons' house organ, after the military's previous surge, Operation Forward Together, failed in late October. Kagan turned to former Army Vice Chief of Staff Jack Keane, a retired four-star general who still has street cred at the Pentagon, to help flesh out the plan and then sell it to the White House.

As Ezra Klein notes, Time is paying someone to disseminate inaccurate information. My money's on Joe. Now, to be fair, Klein isn't writing in support of the surge per se, but about how stupid liberals are. Even when they're correct. For more fun with Klein, see this post, also from the Prospect. It's really kind of entertaining, until you remember that the hacky author of Primary Colors is a typical member of the pundit class, instead of a freakish aberration. After all, Time's big "liberal" hire was Ana Marie Cox, known more for discussions of Capitol Hill sex fetishes than policy, albeit in a non-partisan way.