I was watching Joe Klein on Anderson Cooper’s one-sided show last night, and you could almost see the steam coming out of Klein’s ears, so it’s no surprise that he would write an angry blog post the following morning. Klein seemed especially piqued that McCain would dare say that “Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.”
Well, by dint of Obama’s own January 2007 bill, Obama must have believed we had already irretrievably failed in Iraq. So, in a strict sense, McCain wasn’t accurate because you cannot want to lose a war that you believe was already lost. As for Obama wanting to win an election, his own ambition speaks for itself.
Pelosi’s right, though: it’s too late for a surge. Instead of putting all its brainpower into surging, the military should be focusing on how to get our conventional forces out (and leave our unconventional forces in the neighborhood) in a way that prevents an all-out regional conflict.
And this on January 8th:
I’m afraid I’m going to get cranky about this: The Democrats who oppose the so-called “surge” are right.
The only thing that turned out to be right was Klein’s crankiness. He also wrote this on January 8th:
The question is, will it lead to a quieter Baghdad? And another question: How long will our troops have to be there for this to change Iraq’s violent sectarian culture–if it can work at all? Serious surgers tell me…ten years. That seems more a glacier than a surge.
And he wrote still one more entry on January 8th:
For the record, I’m outraged Bush is ignoring the election results and the reality on the ground in Iraq. I think he is sending more young American lives into an impossible situation.
Then this on February 14:
This piece, by Lawrence Kaplan, is the smartest thing I’ve read in a while about what’s actually happening on the ground in Iraq. It has the virtue of first-hand reporting from al-Anbar Province and some very good analysis about why the Baghdad “surge” is probably doomed. I differ from Kaplan on one point, however: he’d maintain our troop levels in Baghdad and concentrate the surge on the provinces. I’d withdraw from the civil war in Baghdad, begin pulling our troops out of Iraq–but focus on our long-term national interests: i.e. helping the Sunnis to fight Al Qaeda in al-Anbar.
And this on April 3rd:
I’d like to think that if we concentrated the big brains–civilians like James Baker, elected officials like Senator Jack Reed, military people like McCaffrey and Petraeus–on a creative withdrawal plan we might be able to extricate ourselves, save our Army and prevent a regional war. No chance of that in the Bush Administration, of course. But it’s the only vaguely plausible option that remains.
And this on April 13th:
Since many readers seem to have short memories, let me repeat that I’ve been opposed to the surge. I stand precisely with Senators Jim Webb, Jack Reed and Chuck Hagel on this: I think our best military minds–people like Genl Petraeus–should be devoting their attention to the safest, and least disastrous, and most responsible, way out of this.
And this on April 20th:
The ultimate Iraq “surge” end strength is projected at 167,000, which won’t be enough–especially given the lack of readiness (especially when it comes to equipment), the newly extended tours and the fact that Guard and Reserve troops will be called back. This is an exhausted force. Morale will be a bitch. And for what? The damage to our military will be considerable. A disaster, any way you cut it.
More from Peter Wehner:
There is much more in the Klein anti-surge oeuvre, but to briefly sum up Klein’s positions on Iraq: He supported a war that he later referred to as the “stupidest foreign policy decision ever made by an American President.” He was a ferocious critic of a counterinsurgency strategy that is, by his own admission, stunningly successful. And he favored a policy which, if it had been put into effect, would likely have led to mass death and perhaps genocide, a victory for jihadists and Iran, greater destabilization in the region, a defeat in a war of enormous consequence and therefore a genuine demoralization of the American military. It’s not clear what in this record commends Klein as an authoritative voice on Iraq specifically or national security matters more broadly.
You know what’s really scurrilous? Joe Klein gets paid for blogging. What a great scam.