McClatchy News is all over the newly published report that calls the Iraq War a "debacle."
Sounds like just the sort of thing that will vindicate Senators Obama and (to a lesser extent) Clinton, doesn't it?
WASHINGTON — The war in Iraq has become "a major debacle" and the outcome "is in doubt" despite improvements in security from the buildup in U.S. forces, according to a highly critical study published Thursday by the Pentagon's premier military educational institute.Whoa. Things are going downhill, apparently.
Here's what I take to be the nut graph (second paragraph overall):
The report released by the National Defense University raises fresh doubts about President Bush's projections of a U.S. victory in Iraq just a week after Bush announced that he was suspending U.S. troop reductions.The sixth paragraph is the one that informs us that the report was written in the Fall of 2007. So much for "fresh doubts."
"Despite impressive progress in security, the outcome of the war is in doubt," said the report.Oh. Well, that doesn't sound quite as bad. There was always some doubt about the ultimate outcome. I was among those concerned beforehand regarding the relationship between Iraq's various social groups, based on their history.
Twelfth paragraph, quoting the report:
"For many analysts (including this one), Iraq remains a 'must win,' but for many others, despite obvious progress under General David Petraeus and the surge, it now looks like a 'can't win.'"In terms of news, this viewpoint from the author is buried at the bottom of the inverted pyramid, the journalistic practice of frontloading the most important part of the story and adding the details in decreasing order of importance. The entire story was 19 paragraphs long.
The report analyzed the execution of the war and found it wanting. Not fresh.
The report talked about polls. Having been written in the Fall ... not fresh.
In terms of freshness, the best that can be said is that the report was newly published. Second place is the fresh load of manure from the mainstream press as it stamps its opinion indelibly on the story via the style of delivery.
Small Wars Journal provides the antidote for Landay-Walcott Syndrome via their contact with report author Joseph J. Collins:
There's more where that came from, so pay Small Wars Journal a visit.
The Miami Herald piece on a NDU "occasional paper" (Choosing War: The Decision to Invade Iraq and Its Aftermath), quoted alternately as a Pentagon or NDU study, raised some flags here at SWJ. So we asked the author, Joseph Collins, to provide some context. His reply:The Miami Herald story ("Pentagon Study: War is a 'Debacle' ") distorts the nature of and intent of my personal research project. It was not an NDU study, nor was it a Pentagon study. Indeed, the implication of the Herald story was that this study was mostly about current events. Such is not the case. It was mainly about the period 2002-04. The story also hypes a number of paragraphs, many of which are quoted out of context. The study does not "lay much of the blame" on Secretary Rumsfeld for problems in the conduct of the war, nor does it say that he "bypassed the Joint Chiefs of Staff." It does not single out "Condoleeza Rice and Stephen Hadley" for criticism.