by Clifford D. May criticizes an item I posted from an unnamed Marine describing the on-the-ground reality in Iraq as he sees it.

The criticism strikes me as correct on one point and incorrect on another.

Where it’s correct: It turns out the Marine’s letter is not new: It had been widely circulated last year. I didn’t know that. I received a copy from a retired U.S. ambassador who served many years in the Middle East. He, like me, is a member of the “expert working group” of the Baker/Hamilton Commission and he shared it with all members of the group. (We’re on a list-serve where we circulate what we view as significant articles and argue over them). I assumed this letter was from a source with whom he was personally familiar. Apparently, that was not true. My apologies on that score.

Where it’s incorrect: In the letter, the Marine says that “morale among our guys is very high,” that he believes they “are winning decisively,” and that they are distressed over the “what they see in the American press.” says “that sentiment seems a bit out of place, given that the president himself admitted last week the United States isn’t winning the war.”

To which I’d reply: Huh? The morale of the Marines, their perspective on media coverage, and their view of whether they are making progress may rise and fall with the President’s evaluation of the situation – or it may not.

The Corner

The one and only.