ARGUING IRAQ. Today's Boston Herald includes an op-ed piece by Mackubin T. Owens - a professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College in Newport - arguing that the mainstream media in general and the Boston Globe in particular are taking too pessimistic a view of the Iraqi insurgency.
Media Log aims to please, so here is the Globe story to which Owens refers - a June 10 piece by Bryan Bender, who quoted sources claiming that the insurgency has degenerated into a classic guerrilla war that isn't going to end anytime soon.
Owens's piece - which originally appeared in the New York Post - includes this statement:
[T]he Globe is wrong. Coalition operations in Iraq have killed hundreds of insurgents and led to the capture of many hundreds more, including two dozen of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's top lieutenants. Intelligence from captured insurgents, as well as from Zarqawi's computer, has had a cascading effect, permitting the Coalition to maintain pressure on the insurgency.
But Owens isn't arguing so much with the Globe as he is with folks like Paul Hughes, a retired Army colonel who served in Iraq. Hughes told Bender:
"We are not going to win the unconditional surrender from the insurgents and have no choice but to somehow bring them into society," said retired Army Colonel Paul Hughes, an Iraq war veteran who is now at the government-funded US Institute for Peace. "To think there will be one climactic military event to end this is foolish. Those who cling to that don't understand."
Caveat: I understand that Hughes's comments do not directly refute Owens's point. But they indirectly refute it, no?
Here is more on Owens.
Yesterday, Thomas Friedman - still free until September! - offered the most obvious response to Owens's optimism. Friedman wrote:
Our core problem in Iraq remains Donald Rumsfeld's disastrous decision - endorsed by President Bush - to invade Iraq on the cheap. From the day the looting started, it has been obvious that we did not have enough troops there. We have never fully controlled the terrain. Almost every problem we face in Iraq today - the rise of ethnic militias, the weakness of the economy, the shortages of gas and electricity, the kidnappings, the flight of middle-class professionals - flows from not having gone into Iraq with the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force.
Friedman supported the war, and I didn't. Still, the evidence would suggest that Friedman is absolutely correct in his assessment of why the Iraq adventure keeps going from bad to worse - and why the American death toll now tops 1700.
HARD TIMES AT SPARE CHANGE NEWS. The Herald's Jay Fitzgerald has the details. I wrote about Spare Change a year ago, when the homeless-empowerment paper was trying to expand. Unfortunately, it didn't work - at least not as well as it needed to.
NEW IN THIS WEEK'S PHOENIX. Don't read it on the Web - pick up a copy of the newly designed print edition, which the Globe and the Herald report on today. If you grabbed a copy from me at Oak Grove this morning, thank you.
I've got a piece on why the Democrats would be crazy to nominate Hillary Clinton for president.