In today’s New York Times, Brookings analysts Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack praise the Bush administration’s progress in Iraq, writing that “we are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms.” O’Hanlon and Pollack bill themselves “as two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq.”
Today, the media parroted the O’Hanlon and Pollack’s inaccurate self-characterization. Fox News called O’Hanlon a “guy who’s been quite critical of this administration’s handling of the Iraq.” CNN called Pollack a “a vocal critic of the administration’s handling of the war.” Watch it:
The media are ignoring the two men’s records. Pollack authored a pre-war book, which he described as “the case for invading Iraq.” Similarly, prior to the invasion, O’Hanlon predicted “a rapid and decisive” victory.
ThinkProgress has put together a sampling of O’Hanlon and Pollack’s “vocal criticisms” of Bush:
But despite this week’s proof that war is not always easy, the invasion is not going badly. As President Bush said at his news conference yesterday, “Coalition forces are advancing day by day in steady progress against the enemy.” Here’s why things are going well and why they will soon go even better. [New York Times, 3/28/03]
And now we’re talking about a crisis that may require much more rapid response in Iraq, if we decide to go to war. We’ve got to go to war by March, I think, if we’re going to use the good weather. [Fox News, 1/3/03]
But the Iraqis we met were nonetheless grateful for the defeat of Saddam and passionate about their country’s future. Their enthusiasm, and their desire to work together with U.S. and other coalition forces, warmed the heart of this former Peace Corps volunteer. Maybe that is why, on balance, I couldn’t help but leave the country with a real, if guarded and cautious, feeling of optimism. [Brookings, 9/30/03]
The United States and coalition partners would win any future war to overthrow Saddam Hussein in a rapid and decisive fashion. This will not be another Vietnam or another Korea. [O'Hanlon, 9/25/02]
O’REILLY: Mr. O’Hanlon, what do you think? Any doubt about going to war with Saddam?
O’HANLON: Not much doubt. [Fox News's The O'Reilly Factor, 2/28/03]
Rather than force a showdown with Mr. Bush this winter and spring, Congress should give his surge strategy a chance — while preparing for the real fight this fall. [Wall Street Journal, 3/1/07]
What should the United States do about Iraq? Hawks are wrong to think the problem is desperately urgent or connected to terrorism, but right to see the prospect of a nuclear-armed Saddam Hussein as so worrisome that it requires drastic action. … The United States has no choice left but to invade Iraq itself and eliminate the current regime. [Foreign Affairs, March/April 2002]
Given Mr. Hussein’s history of catastrophic miscalculations and his faith that nuclear weapons can deter not him but us, there is every reason to believe that the question is not one of war or no war, but rather war now or war later–a war without nuclear weapons or a war with them. [New York Times, 9/26/02]
FOX HOST: What about nuclear? What’s his — how long before he’ll have it?
POLLACK: I think the best estimates are that he probably will take four to six years, unless he can buy fissile material on the black market. If he can get it on the black market, it’s probably a matter of months. [Fox News's On The Record With Greta Van Susteren, 9/30/02]
I think it’s very important that the president receive a very clear statement of support by the Congress, by the representatives of the American people. What we’re embarking on is potentially a very big military operation, and what’s more, the military operation itself might be the easiest part of what we’re doing. [NPR, 10/2/02]
Increasingly, the option that makes the most sense is for the United States to launch a full-scale invasion, eradicate Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, and rebuild Iraq as a prosperous and stable society-for the good of the United States, the Iraqi people, and the entire region. [The Threatening Storm, 2002]
Given Saddam Hussein’s current behavior, his track record, his aspirations and his terrifying beliefs about the utility of nuclear weapons, it would be reckless for us to assume that he can be deterred. Yes, we must weigh the costs of a war with Iraq today, but on the other side of the balance we must place the cost of a war with a nuclear-armed Iraq tomorrow. [New York Times, 2/21/03]
[T]he president’s plan is almost certainly the last chance to stabilize Iraq. It is the last chance to save Iraq would probably be a more accurate way to put it. [Brookings, 1/29/07]