RIGHT UP TO YOUR FACE AND DIS YOU. National security adviser Steve Hadley is in Iraq today to deliver a message to the disobedient administration of PM Nouri al-Maliki: He wishes "to reinforce some of the things you have heard from our president." That being, in general, "Can't you just do as we say? You know, be a 'leader'? Disband the militias? Secure the country? Let us get some soldiers home, or at least announce something by, say, November 6?"
AFGHAN WIGS.Rob, I liked your piece defending the worthy invasion of Afghanistan. If I can make one criticism: early in the piece you ask, "If we�ve come to the conclusion now that the Iraq invasion was a mistake, then how do we evaluate the disaster on the other side of Iran?" I don't see how a reevaluation of Afghanistan follows from the disaster in Iraq, except as something of an academic exercise. For the reasons that you ably explain, these are really different wars, with really different objectives and fought for really different reasons.
YOU CAN'T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT.Ezra, I really, really don't like disagreeing with Peter Bergen on al-Qaeda. You generally should be extremely wary of telling a guy who interviewed bin Laden that he's off-base. But, dude, you asked. Thanks, Ez, you're a good friend.
KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE, HOLD ON. My buddy Lawrence Kaplan tries to salvage the Bush Doctrine from the Iraq war. His argument is that critics of the war risk learning too much from the failure in Iraq: the antidote to tyranny is democracy, even if it didn't turn out so well in Baghdad, and dangerous dudes will still need to be preempted.