Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A little weak on bein' right

There's a scene in the John Wayne movie In Harm's Way where Admiral Nimitz (played by Henry Fonda) says sardonically: "Well, we all know the Navy's never wrong. But in this case, it was a little weak on bein' right." Wired's “national security” reporter Spencer Ackerman has confessed that he too was "a little weak on bein' right" about Obama's war in Libya. He now admits that he completely misdiagnosed the conflict and pleaded guilty on all counts without excuses. Ackerman has never impressed me for the reasons I ranted about nearly a year ago (see Shocked & Definitely Not Awed). But credit where credit is due. He deserves kudos for fessing up about his boneheadedness on Libya. In his confessional, Ackerman wrote: "NATO’s war against Moammar Gadhafi ends at midnight, eleven days after Gadhafi’s death. That finality is 180 degrees opposite what Danger Room has been predicting since the war began in March. ... And so, in the spirit of intellectual honesty, I need to concede that I got the Libya war wrong. Several Danger Room pieces under my byline ran this year predicting that Libya was an open-ended mission, lacked a clear plan for victory, and could lead to NATO peacekeepers battling post-Gadhafi insurgents. While reasonable people can disagree about whether the war was in the U.S. interest (or even legal), or whether President Obama portrayed it honestly, the fact is that the war successfully ended after eight months, contrary to consistent predictions on display here. We owe it to you to acknowledge forthrightly that we were wrong, and probably too blinded with fears of Iraq 2.0." It'd be nice if the other armchair admirals would also man up and admit the same. But don't hold your breath waiting.

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