As you may recall, a couple of days ago I asked why there had been no comment whatsoever in the conservative blogosphere about a New York Times op-ed piece in which seven active duty soldiers criticized the Iraq War. In updates to that same post, I was able to point to a couple of bloggers who had commented upon the article, but their numbers were definitely limited.
I’m beginning to think the silence was because the article’s authors were soldiers on the ground opining about policy based on their personal observations. This meant that ordinary civilian bloggers (like me) were out of their league analyzing either the facts or the conclusions drawn from those facts. It was no coincidence, in retrospect, that the two bloggers I found who discussed the article are current and ex-military.
As more vets get the chance to process the article, I think we’ll get more insights into its strengths and weaknesses. Today, in The Weekly Standard, several Iraq Vets have analyzed and (politely) critiqued the article:
ON SUNDAY, seven soldiers from the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division stationed in Iraq penned a passionate opinion piece in the New York Times that further illustrates the complexity of what is “really” happening in Iraq. Of the almost 3,000 soldiers from the Army’s storied 82nd Airborne Division currently serving in the hottest of Iraqi neighborhoods, seven felt confident enough in their misgivings to sign an opinion piece. They should not be surprised that many of their comrades–including the seven undersigned here–find their work to be misguided.
The 2nd Brigade is responsible for two dangerous areas of Baghdad: Adihamiyah and Sadr City. Airborne troopers there have seen the worst al Qaeda and the Mahdi Army can throw at them and the Iraqi people. But the whole story is that the Iraqis and soldiers in their sector have not yet been fully affected by the surge of troops and operations, which have barely been in place two months.
Currently, American and Iraqi Forces are clearing sections of southern Baghdad before turning north to the 82nd Airborne’s neighborhoods. As such, the portrait these soldiers painted, while surely accurate and honest, is more representative of pre-surge Baghdad: sectarian strife, lawlessness, and indiscriminate slaughter.
This is not, however, the picture elsewhere in Iraq, or even most of Baghdad. Additional American combat brigades first surged to the outlying areas around the capital, disrupting the flow of suicide bombers and car bombs and denying haven to al Qaeda.
Read the rest here.
UPDATE: Phibian explains that the only thing newsworthy about the New York Times Op-Ed is that it is in the New York Times. As Mike Devx pointed out in a comment, out of more than a hundred thousand people, you’ll always find some with one opinion or another, and you’ll always find an audience for that opinion.