Wednesday, February 13, 2008

You never know who your friends are..

Matthew Yglesias isn't very happy with George Packer:
Spencer Ackerman offered a gentle critique of his friend George Packer's essay on Iraq in the premiere issue of the new World Affairs journal. I'd go a bit further -- I think this very much represents the worst of Packer's writing on Iraq rather than the best. It opens with some striking on-the-ground reporting from Iraq, then shifts to a discussion of how un-visceral these events are to most Americans, who are far more distanced from the conflict than we were from Vietnam and earlier wars. Eventually, though, it shifts into a kind of lame plea for open-mindedness
Well, Mr. Packer, one of the war's earliest critics, seems to have softened his stance since his last visit. Even Michael Totten credits him with a fair-minded approach to the latest goings-on in Iraq:
Liberal journalist George Packer has spent a lot of time in Iraq and is a reliable critic of the Bush Administration and the war. He, like me, has his opinions and doesn't conceal them. But he reports what he sees honestly and comprehensively. You can trust him whether you agree with his views or not.
I think poor George is about to get shived by his old liberal friends. Any call for reason or patience regarding the war, or, more importantly the long-term outcome will not be tolerated. You can be sure of it....
“I can never blame the Americans alone,” an Iraqi refugee named Firas told me in early 2007. “It’s the Iraqis who destroyed their country, with the help of the Americans, under the American eye.” To gain this wisdom, Firas had to lose almost everything. What would it take for Americans to understand what Firas already does? A recognition that Iraq was everyone’s loss, whichever side you were on.
Read the entire is memorable.

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