The Corner


I was on deadline with the magazine the last two days, so didn’t get the chance to comment in real time on the absolute panic gripping some Iraq hawks. I have admired the way David Brooks has been more honest than other neos about why Iraq has been so hard. But yesterday he said we went into Iraq beholden to “a childish fantasy.” Yes, many of our assumptions have proved false. But childish fantasy? This strikes me as going way too far. Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan on Monday was wobbling wildly. Just a few weeks ago he was lecturing NR for suggesting that we had even a “glimpse at the abyss” in recent weeks in Iraq. But now he has apparently fallen victim to the opinion-elite panic. As NR said a few weeks ago, we should lower expectations in Iraq (a rather obvious point, even at the time), but the tone of the conventional wisdom over the last week has descended into a black pit of despair. Fortunately, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Fouad Ajami, and William Safire provide some ballast today. My profound geopolitical and strategic advice to some of our fellow hawks—take a deep breath.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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