Brian Buetler sends us to Paul Krugman:
Brian Beutler: Left hook: Paul Krugman hits David Brooks and somehow stays narrowly within the bounds of what I imagine is his contractual obligation to politesse: "In a coordinated public relations offensive, the White House is using reliably friendly pundits — amazingly, they still exist — to put out the word that President Bush is as upbeat and confident as ever. It might even be true."
He also makes the I think important point that David Petraeus is hardly the principle-driven master of our military that he's given blind credit for being:
I don’t know why the op-ed article that General Petraeus published in The Washington Post on Sept. 26, 2004, hasn’t gotten more attention. After all, it puts to rest any notion that the general stands above politics: I don’t think it’s standard practice for serving military officers to publish opinion pieces that are strikingly helpful to an incumbent, six weeks before a national election.
In the article, General Petraeus told us that “Iraqi leaders are stepping forward, leading their country and their security forces courageously.” And those security forces were doing just fine: their leaders “are displaying courage and resilience” and “momentum has gathered in recent months.”
In other words, General Petraeus, without saying anything falsifiable, conveyed the totally misleading impression, highly convenient for his political masters, that victory was just around the corner. And the best guess has to be that he’ll do the same thing three years later.
I'm not actually certain I agree with this conclusion. It seems to me that Petraeus has at least one or two reasons to testify to things that are highly inconvenient to his political masters in the fall. But this certainly makes a strong case that its absurd to think there's any reason to wait even that long to put a better plan in motion.