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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-30-07 11:40 AM
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"A War We Just Might Win" With Spin!
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Edited on Mon Jul-30-07 11:55 AM by ProSense

War Proponents Pollack and O'Hanlon: Let's Sustain Surge "Into 2008"

By Greg Sargent | bio

Okay, here's another entry for the Atrios Friedman Unit Database -- which as you know is keeping track of the endless times over the years that GOP pols and pundits have called for giving it "one last shot" in Iraq.

Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack have jointly published an Op Ed in today's Times called: "A War We Just Might Win." Here's what the two men have to say about their previous support of the war:

As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administrations miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily victory but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.

...and that's it. No mention anywhere of the fact that both men very prominently backed the initial invasion and the "surge." Now we're expected to see these two experts as merely administration "critics" -- and harsh ones, at that.

That seems pretty questionable in and of itself -- readers who don't know their histories are unable to ask themselves whether they should be trusting their judgment and can't ask themselves to what extent their professional reputations may be tied up in what happens in Iraq.

What's more, here's what O'Hanlon and Pollack have to say in their Times Op ed on the question of how long we should continue the "surge":

How much longer should American troops keep fighting and dying to build a new Iraq while Iraqi leaders fail to do their part? And how much longer can we wear down our forces in this mission? These haunting questions underscore the reality that the surge cannot go on forever. But there is enough good happening on the battlefields of Iraq today that Congress should plan on sustaining the effort at least into 2008.

But...but...but...'s Pollack on Meet the Press back in January, which is to say, over six months ago:

MR. POLLACK: Well, the basic point that were trying to make is that the president wants this one last shot, its obviously very late in the game, there is no guarantee that its going to work out. I think that even the administration would say that the likelihood of it working is probably less than 50-50.

How long is a "shot," anyway?

Here, meanwhile, are both Pollack and O'Hanlon expressing optimism (mixed with criticism of tactics) after an earlier trip to Iraq, this one way back in December of 2003 (via Nexis):


BYLINE: By Jim Geraghty States News Service

LENGTH: 723 words


American efforts to rebuild Iraq into a stable, secular, pluralist democracy are achieving mixed results, according to a trio of foreign policy experts who have recently visited the country.

Michael E. O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former analyst at the Congressional Budget Office, had the most optimistic view, predicting that the next three months would see fewer coalition casualties and more stability than the last three months.

He said that while the American public was hearing a great deal about coalition casualties, they haven't heard about the significant casualties that the U.S. is inflicting on resistance forces. He estimated that since the war ended, U.S. and coalition military forces had captured or killed about 5,000 insurgents, Baathists, and foreign fighters.

"We have already killed and captured a number of Iraqi insurgents comparable to the number that Gen John Abizaid, thinks that are left," O'Hanlon said. "Sunday's firefight was only the most visible manifestation."


Kenneth Pollack, director of research at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy and a senior fellow at Brookings, estimated he had spoken to about 100 Iraqis during his recent one week trip to Iraq. Pollack analyzed Iraq and Iran for the Central Intelligence Agency from 1988 to 1995...

Pollack was also cautiously optimistic that the attacks against Americans would have limited effectiveness.

"The insurgents are not really committed," he said. "They're doing this because they're being paid to do this. The Iraqis making these attacks are not willing to stay and fight when more American soldiers show up."

Pollack said that a highly-ranked American soldier in Iraq, a veteran of Viet Nam, had told him that if the Iraqis were as dedicated as the Viet Cong he had fought against in that war, 'there would be 100 dead a day.'


Ken Pollack And Michael OHanlon: Often Wrong, But Never In Doubt

After a recent trip to Iraq, Brookings analysts Michael OHanlon and Ken Pollack report today in the New York Times that we are very prominently backed the initial invasion and the surge. Pollack, who authored a pre-war book he described as the case for invading Iraq, appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show in Oct. 2002 uncritically touting the false intelligence about Iraq:

POLLACK: What we know for a fact from a number of defectors whove come out of Iraq over the years is that Saddam Hussein is absolutely determined to acquire nuclear weapons and is building them as fast as he can.

OHanlon has shared Pollacks euphoria over attacking Iraq. Prior to the invasion, he predicted a a rapid and decisive victory. He has sought to convince to get behind the escalation. And now he is pushing a plan for Iraq that envisions a long-term occupation.

Now that Pollack and OHanlon have returned from Iraq, they are embarking on a public relations tour calling for stay the course in Iraq. During an appearance this weekend on CNN, OHanlon claimed that war is going brilliantly at this point. Asked to respond to OHanlons assertion, CNN Baghdad corespondent Arwa Damon said the sentiment on the ground in Iraq is completely the opposite:


MONDAY JULY 30, 2007 08:30 EST

The really smart, serious, credible Iraq experts O'Hanlon and Pollack

(updated below - updated again - Update III)

What is the most vivid and compelling evidence of how broken our political system is? It is that the exact same people who urged us into the war in Iraq, were wrong in everything they said, and issued one false assurance after the next as the war failed, continue to be the same people held up as our Serious Iraq Experts. The exact "experts" to whom we listened in 2002 and 2003 are the same exact establishment "experts" now.

Hence, today we have yet another Op-Ed declaring that We Really Are Winning in Iraq This Time this one in the NYT from "liberal" Brookings Institution "scholars" Ken Pollack and Mike O'Hanlon. They accuse war critics of being "unaware of the significant changes taking place," proclaim that "we are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms," and the piece is entitled "A War we Might Just Win."

The Op-Ed is an exercise in rank deceit from the start. To lavish themselves with credibility -- as though they are war skeptics whom you can trust -- they identify themselves at the beginning "as two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration's miserable handling of Iraq." In reality, they were not only among the biggest cheerleaders for the war, but repeatedly praised the Pentagon's strategy in Iraq and continuously assured Americans things were going well. They are among the primary authors and principal deceivers responsible for this disaster.

Worse, they announce that "the Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility," as though they have not. But let us look at Michael O'Hanlon, and review just a fraction of the endless string of false and misleading statements he made about Iraq and ask why anyone would possibly listen to him about anything, let alone consider him an "expert" of any kind:


New report implicates Iraqi police in Karbala attack; Iraqi gov't to take August off

Six US troops killed in Iraq; 26 dead, 75 wounded in Baghdad car bomb (July 27)

EXCLUSIVE-Daily attacks in Iraq hit new high in June

93 slain across Iraq in last two days (July 30)

U.S. drops Baghdad electricity reports

Bush's terror alert speech (frightening words in color)

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