THE BAD KLEIN....

THE BAD KLEIN. I don't really know what to say about Joe Klein's recent tantrums and continuous self-humiliation. Can't Ana Marie take him aside and ask him to stop? But amidst Klein's attempts to discredit my surname and his laughable posts whining about nasty rhetoric while calling liberals fools and dilettantes, he's actually making a point, and it's one that doesn't deserve to go unchallenged. Klein writes:

The latest to make a fool of himself is Paul Krugman of the New York Times, who argues that those who favor the increase in troops are either cynical or delusional. Mostly the latter. Delusional neocons like Bill Kristol and Fred Kagan, to be precise. But what about retired General Jack Keane--whom Krugman doesn't mention--and the significant number of military intellectuals who have favored a labor-intensive counterinsurgency strategy in Baghdad for the past three years...they, not Kagan and Kristol, are the motivating force behind Bush's new policy. As for K & K, Krugman's right: they've been wrong about Iraq. But at least they've taken the trouble to read the doctrine and talk to key players like Keane and General David Petraeus. Liberals won't ever be trusted on national security until they start doing their homework.

Here's Michael Duffy, writing this week's cover story for Time magazine, Klein's employer:

The surge belongs to the neocons and in particular to Frederick Kagan, who taught military history at West Point for a decade and today works out of the American Enterprise Institute as a military analyst. Kagan argued for a surge last fall in the pages of the Weekly Standard, the neocons' house organ, after the military's previous surge, Operation Forward Together, failed in late October. Kagan turned to former Army Vice Chief of Staff Jack Keane, a retired four-star general who still has street cred at the Pentagon, to help flesh out the plan and then sell it to the White House.

Let's recap: Klein is arguing that Paul Krugman is a lazy fool because he attributes the surge strategy to Frederick Kagan and the neocons. This week, in Time magazine, Michael Duffy, their main political reporter and a guy who presumably does "talk to key players" and "read the doctrines," reported that the surge "belongs to the neocons and in particular to Frederick Kagan," and made it clear that Kagan sought out Jack Keane to add credibility to his proposal. A far cry from Klein's claim that military intellectuals "are the motivating force behind Bush's new policy."

So only one of two interpretations can be true here: Either Joe Klein is wrong on the facts, or Michael Duffy is. In either case, Time magazine is paying someone to misinform their readership. Since Klein is so quick to throw out challenges -- and yes, I'll happily cop to hoping Petraeus calms Iraq and saves thousands of live -- merely asking that question shows how deep Klein's personal animus towards liberals goes, and how unreliable an adjudicator he actually is -- here's a question for him: Are you misrepresenting the facts in order to blast liberals, or is your magazine's cover story a heap of lies? I, by the way, am a subscriber, and so would really like to know.

--Ezra Klein

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