Meant to note these yesterday. Here are some thoughtful reactions from Jules Crittendon and Captain Ed. Ed has a good bottom line: “The only solution is for news consumers to get their information through multiple sources, a lesson that bloggers learned long ago. Talk to the prime movers directly when possible, insist on metrics when they exist, and compare and contrast versions of events told from several perspectives. None of this is new advice, but it is good advice.” Also, Yglesias does some gleeful taunting here. It’s fair enough of him to take a shot at me for thinking we were winning a year and a half ago, but if he’s going to quote from the first two paragraphs of that piece, he should probably quote from the third: “This doesn’t mean the war couldn’t still go wrong. `It’s not over,’ says a top officer in Iraq. A key assassination, continued Sunni rejectionism, an inter-sectarian explosion, or something unforeseen — all could still derail us in Iraq.”
I have to say it seems kind of juvenile to think people can’t change their mind about how it’s going in Iraq based on conditions there. In early ’05, we were on the upswing, but it’s gotten worse since then, especially since Samarra (the aforementioned sectarian explosion). Because I think we’re losing now, does that mean I’m supposed to think forever—for consistency’s sake—that we’re still losing, even if we turn it around? Finally, my more downbeat assessment of Iraq is not quite a new revelation, as readers who regularly chastise me for my pessimism know. I have written about it here: “Now, it’s not that the Bush administration hasn’t made mistakes, or that optimists (including myself at times) haven’t often been wrong, or that we don’t face the possibility of losing”; here; here; and here, for example.