DON'T MERELY MOCK THE MUSTACHE. It's lovely to see some bipartisan scorn heaped on Tom Friedman in the form of enthusiastic plugs for this hilarious round-up of "the next six months are key" pronouncements on Iraq made over the last 30 months. (As FAIR puts it in the subhead to the list, "Iraq's 'decisive' six months have lasted two and a half years.") But in the spirit of yesterday's post, it's worth pointing out to conservatives that the point here isn't merely to make fun of Tom Friedman the silly columnist. There's an actual substantive issue here. Rich Lowry notes ruefully that he "would have agreed with [Friedman] every time he said it," but that's not a problem merely because he agrees with Friedman. It can't actually be the case that the window of opportunity for success in Iraq can constantly and indefinitely move forward like that. Friedman's just more profligate than most in laying down explicit deadlines that he then inevitably breaks; the real issue is that the prospects for success in Iraq have been weak-to-nonexistent for a very long time, during which thousands of people have died and too many analysts (be they Freidman types or Bush champions like Lowry) and officials (be they folks in Congress or actual decision-makers in the administration) have avoided facing up to this and making any tough calls.

--Sam Rosenfeld