Jon Sawyer, Pulitzer Center
The New York Times op ed "A War We Just Might Win" (July 30, 2007) by Brookings Institution scholars Kenneth Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon has occasioned much comment, most of it sparked by the chutzpah of two noted champions of the war describing themselves as "two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration's miserable handling of Iraq."
But Pollack and O'Hanlon's article was just as striking for how much they presumed to conclude, as to the status of U.S. military operations in Iraq, on the basis of a two-week visit in which every night was spent in Baghdad. Independent journalists have proved more useful guides -- among them David Enders and Rick Rowley, whose reports from throughout Iraq and neighboring countries were supported with grants from the Pulitzer Center.
Another reporter with long experience in Iraq is Brian Palmer, who between 2004 and 2006 embedded three times with embedded three times in Iraq with the 1st Battalion/2d Marine Regiment, a infantry unit from Camp Lejeune, NC, each time for about a month. He takes on the surge-boosters in The Huffington Post (August 18, 2007), in a piece called "Counterinsurgency for Dummies - and Chickenhawks." Useful reading, especially in the run-up to September's debate on what comes next for U.S. policy in Iraq. Jon Sawyer