The Brawler believes Patrick McIlheran deserves some sort of credit. Despite the growing mountain of literature that portrays the Bush Administration's foray into Iraq as a disaster built on delusion and sold through deception -- Cobra II, The One Percent Doctrine and Fiasco -- Paddy manages to find one tome that has something good to say about the misadventure.
Who says Paddy didn't pick up some serious reporting skillz during his two years burning up shoe leather in Winona?
Paddy's latest column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel heaps praise upon a book called "The Foreigner's Gift: The Americans, the Arabs and the Iraqis in Iraq" by Middle East and foreign policy scholar Fouad Ajami. Basically Ajami has been an advocate of the Iraq invasion and occupation from the get-go, imagining it as a transformative democratizing event for the region.
Here's a sample from Mack's column:
In a sober-voiced book, he brings back two souvenirs from his many trips to the Iraqi front.
First, gratitude: Iraqis aren't likely to say publicly that they're grateful for America's toppling of their tyrant. Politics, culture and pride bar it. But even while Iraqis complain about gasoline shortages, they know it's because they're now able to import cars by the thousands, Ajami says. In private, or openly in Kurdistan, they tell him they're grateful for the end to Saddam Hussein's terror.
Huh. A lot of American soldiers have brought home very different souvenirs than gratitude, right? Nothing says thanks like an IED.
The Brawler doesn't have a lot of time so will cut to the chase. He won't be reading Ajami's book. The Brawler thrilled to Ajami's earlier The Arab Predicament as well as his The Dream Palace of the Arabs. But he won't be dropping his hard-earned money on this one.
Because Ajami, just like his prowar buddy and premiere deceiver Ahmad Chalabi, has been proven wrong, time and again, on Iraq. And when lives are in the balance, why turn to someone who has been demonstrably wrong about something?
From the 8/27/02 International Herald Tribune:
To suggestions that a U.S. attack on an Arab country could foment violent reaction in other Arab countries, Cheney quoted an American foreign-policy scholar, Fouad Ajami, as predicting thta "after liberation, the streets in Basra and in Baghdad are sure to erupt in joy."
They erupted, all right.
Since then his argument has been variations on the riff that things aren't going as well as the US would have hoped but we gotta stay the course.
From the 9/28/05 WSJ:
The U.S. has not always been brilliant in the war it has waged, for these are lands it did not fully know. But its work has been noble and necessary, and America can't call a halt to it in midstream.
At what point if you're demonstrably wrong about something do people stop listening to you -- or do you wisen up and stay quiet?
I know, I know: By that standard there'd be a big hole twice a week in the editorial pages of the JS.