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Matthew Yglesias and His Commenters Look at the Brookings Institution, Michael O'Hanlon, and Jeff Herf

They recoil in disgust and horror.


Matthew Yglesias / proudly eponymous since 2002: I'm In Ur Think Tank Supporting Ur Opponents' Policies: Brookings Institution scholar Michael O'Hanlon, who I'm given to understand would have received a high-level appointment in a Kerry administration, and co-author of a recent book on "what the Democrats need to do" about national security policy feels the urge to surge. As we've seen previously, O'Hanlon's Brookings colleague Ken Pollack feels much the same way.

My advice to Democrats in congress and hoping to run for president would be to stop listening to these guys.

UPDATE: Elsewhere in the liberal hawk multiverse, Jeffrey Herf explains that the Bush administration's long record of incompetence is a good reason to support the surge.

And the commenters:

Also of note, the one guy in Brookings who was actually right about the whole mess, that is, Ivo Daalder, isn't working there anymore. As for the Hanlon's major contribution to the war of ideas, the Iraq index, the best I can say is that this is a very American idea: the idea that problems can be analyzed and solved if we only quantify them and measure them. Posted by: Nick Kaufman on January 14, 2007 12:22 AM

Best Pollack line: "Saddam's own determination to interpret geopolitical calculations to suit what he wants to believe anyway lead him to construct bizarre scenarios that he convinces himself are highly likely." Posted by: Ed Marshall on January 14, 2007 12:46 AM

"If the Democratic party's national leadership continues in its opposition to the strategy Bush has just announced, and if, against expectations, that strategy is successful, Democrats may look forward to another decade or more of losing Presidential elections." This is from the Herf pice that Matt derides so we don't have to.... Now that Bush wants to send more troops to fight with a different strategy, this chorus of critics rejects the policy. It is irritating and depressing to see the uniformity with which Democrats reject or even fail to recognize the new thinking in the military and the new thinking that is reflected in Bush's proposals even when at last the President agrees with the criticisms of some of his critics.

We'll ignore the fact that he's sending significantly fewer than Petraeus himself calls for in the Army field manual (Fred Kaplan writes for Slate covered that one) The "more troops" we are sending will bring our commitment up to about 150,000 or thereabouts. According to "There were about 152,000 US troops in Iraq as of early October 2005. As of mid-November 2006, there were approximately 152,000 US troops deployed to Iraq." Nice increase, sparky.

As for the new focus on securing Baghdad, here's what the Google News archive says:

The Hindu, 2003: The Pentagon is making it known in quite clear terms that one of the main priorities in Iraq right now is firmly securing Baghdad and in finding weapons of mass destruction.

U.S. News and World Report. 2004: If the election succeeds, the Bush administration will still have to speed up the training of Iraqi security forces and the pace of rebuilding. "Iraqi confidence in reconstruction is eroding steadily over time," says Kenneth Pollack, an Iraq expert at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy. "If they conclude the U.S. government won't be able to restore basic services and create a stable political environment, they are going to look for someone who can."

San Francisco Gate, 2005: U.S. and Iraqi forces have "mostly eliminated" the ability of insurgents to conduct sustained, high-intensity attacks in Baghdad, the top U.S. commander in the Iraqi capital said Friday.

I'm just so overjoyed to know that we've finally figured out that this is a counterinsurgency. This "new thinking" might really make the difference... Posted by: jfaberuiuc on January 14, 2007 12:55 AM