A tale of two op-eds

Viewed from Iraq, where we just spent eight days meeting with American and Iraqi military and civilian personnel, the political debate in Washington is surreal... We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms.
The infamous A War We Just Might Win by Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack (I'll be taking his Military Analysis class this semester).

Compare with:
Viewed from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal... To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched.
The War as We Saw It by Buddhika Jayamaha, Wesley Smith, Jeremy Roebuck, Omar Mora, Edward Sandmeier, Yance Gray and Jeremy Murphy (all NCOs with the 82nd).


subadei said...

I've got my own designs regarding the Iraq conflict.

That aside I've become thoroughly confused (and subsequently, disaffected) regarding the "true nature" of the war. There's such a vast amount of what is, essentially, propaganda being bandied about from both the right and left and enough "true perspective" (O'Hanlon, Pollack, and the authors of your linked article) that I've reached my wits end in trying to identify and understand where we stand in Iraq.

Odd when both information and mis-information are both decidedly equivocal.

Adrian said...

Soob - I agree it's difficult to know who to trust, if anyone. The first thing is that the war is going well some places and not well some places. Also it's a problem regarding the lack of widely agreed-upon COIN metrics as well as the fact that you can't measure political progress, especially reconciliation. Reconciliation, if it comes, could be on the timescale of generations, or it could be emotional, cathartic, sudden, and without much warning (a true Black Swan) as it is in individual cases (I have an op-ed on this I'm trying to get picked up). But of course, well paid pundits and advisers don't want to say "I have no idea." So they publish op-eds.

The NCO's oped is at least based on actual experience rather than what Senator Webb called the "dog and pony show."