It feels catty to respond after John was so incredibly gracious at the end of his last entry and when we’ve beaten this one to death already. But I am constrained to say this much. John, I think you’d have to go a long way to find someone who has given the country more credit than I have for already changing the facts on the ground. (See, e.g., here, here, and here (relying again on that other Podhoretz guy)).
I also think you are caricaturing my position. Despair over a dangerous lapse in focus is not defeatism. I am not calling for Rummy’s ouster (as some of our friends are). And I am not holding the President to an impossible standard – I am holding him to the standard he announced. I just don’t see how you could find a loss of perspective in suggestions that we be more clear about what we are doing, deal decisively with a present and deadly threat to our troops in the field, and not send mixed messages with regard to savages like Ansar al-Sunna and Hamas. I am not blinking political reality – these are things the American people would broadly support if the case was made. The current plummeting of political support does not owe to the public’s lack of support for the primary mission – which, again, was to eliminate militant Islam’s capacity to project power.