Why am I not surprised that after arriving in Washington late Thursday for a few days, just in time to meet friends for dinner, I hear the direst doom and gloom about Iraq over the dinner table?
I've decided if you want to socially bond quickly in D.C. with people you don't know well (although all these people are good friends), then mention Iraq and start talking in hushed, desperate tones, Everyone quickly joins in and begins to moan and groan over the sushi. The tuna is outstanding, the war a desperate failure. It's called trauma bonding.
I can only say over and over again, as I did last night: If you're informed daily by only the Washington Post and New York Times, by ABC, NBC and CBS, then that's all you could ever think. These commercial news outlets are bent on our defeat. Period. They're attempting to re-live the glory days of the Viet Nam era.
And I said there were far more sanguine reports coming out of Iraq on the Internet and various blogs.
Things are indeed tough in Iraq, but far from hopeless. I'm sure I sounded like an idiot from outer space to my friends all of whom are more intellectual and scholarly by a long shot. And of course I could be wrong. I've never been to Iraq.
But I say it again: if you're being informed day in, day out by the Washington Post and the New York Times crowds, you cannot help but think things are beyond hopeless. Pessimism and defeat are de rigeur there, so if you feed daily on these dying behemoths then know you are eating pessimism and defeat.
I said I had some good links at my blog on the War in Iraq.
"I can no longer access you blog," I am told by one dinner partner. He is correct that I lost access to my old blog, but here it is again with a little different URL. I urge him to try to find me again and tell him I will send him the new link, one more time.
So here are four links on my sidebar that may give them and us a second opinion up close and personal on how things are going in Iraq from some of the best and the brightest in Iraq. Well worth reading often and thoroughly:
1)Michael Totten is doing some truly outstanding journalism in Iraq. He's just made a video On Patrol in Ramadi which is well worth watching.
Again, Michael Totten is writing, photoblogging and starting to use video in ways you will never see from Washington or New York. It is first-rate for anyone who will take the time to open their minds to another perspective.
2) Victor Hanson at his blog VDH's Private Papers is just back in the United States after visiting and reporting from Iraq, his second trip since the war. Take time to read "Winning Ugly" on his blog.
In addition, Victor is writing about his impressions in Iraq at Pajamas Media. He has had extraordinary access to generals and ordinary soldiers there and always has good insights in his clear writing and reporting.
3) Teflon Don has just returned from tour of duty in Iraq but is still writing about what he saw and did there. Don't miss his perspective from a soldier's point of view at Acute Politics.
His most recent post refers to the Washington Post's series on neutralizing IEDs in Iraq and well worth reading.
UPDATE: Friday morning I met one of my friends for breakfast and as I was leaving the table he handed me the front page of this morning's New York Times and said, "you know, I think the Times is actually beginning to agree with what you said last night."
I was rather amazed at his admission. It's a fairly optimistic piece.