DATE: 2/10/2005 10:30:00 AM
WSJ? - Maybe part of the reason Bret Stephens didn't respond more promptly to Eason Jordan's comments was because he was hearing stuff like this from his own reporters:
Despite President Bush's rosy assessments, Iraq remains a disaster. If under Saddam it was a 'potential' threat, under the Americans it has been transformed to 'imminent and active threat,' a foreign policy failure bound to haunt the United States for decades to come.
One could argue that Iraq is already lost beyond salvation. For those of us on the ground it's hard to imagine what if any thing could salvage it from its violent downward spiral. The genie of terrorism, chaos and mayhem has been unleashed onto this country as a result of American mistakes and it can't be put back into a bottle.
I asked a 28-year-old engineer if he and his family would participate in the Iraqi elections since it was the first time Iraqis could to some degree elect a leadership. His response summed it all: "Go and vote and risk being blown into pieces or followed by the insurgents and murdered for cooperating with the Americans? For what? To practice democracy? Are you joking?"This, form a guy who admits early in the story that he rarely leaves his house. If Bret Stephens was hearing stuff like this from his own reporters, it's no wonder he had a negative enough view of the situation in Iraq (and the military) to consider Jordan's comments insignificant. They were pretty tame considering what Farnaz Fassihi was telling him.
By the way, if this is how reporters felt, then doesn't that tell you something about the reporting from Iraq? This guy had made up his mind about the country and its future. It had to color his reporting of the situation there.