Among the nearly 200 readers who poured scorn on New York Times reporter John Burns's We-could-not-know-then remarks on the occasion of the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom was Professor Sid Olufs (Political Science) of Pacific Lutheran University.  --  Olufs cited more than a dozen sources refuting the premise of Burn's revisionist musings, adding:  "I personally heard from more than one field grade officer that the coming war was unwise, understaffed, and would take more than a decade to begin to achieve its alleged objectives.  Didn’t Burns hear any of that?"[1] ...

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[Blogs -- comments]

BURNS' BLOG SEEMS REVISIONIST

By Sid Olufs

New York Times
August 31, 2010

http://community.nytimes.com/comments/atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/31/a-long-awaited-day/?permid=65#comment65


On his New York Times blog, John F. Burns writes about “reporters like myself who were in Baghdad when the first American missiles struck on the night of March 19, 2003, who watched as American troops captured the city three weeks later and who remained to cover the years of insurgency that followed.

"Hindsight is a powerful thing, and there have been plenty of voices amid the tragedy that has unfolded since the invasion to say, in effect, 'I told you so.'  But among that band of reporters -- men and women who thought we knew something about Iraq, and for the most part sympathized with the joy Iraqis felt at what many were unashamed then to call their 'liberation' -- there were few, if any, who foresaw the extent of the violence that would follow or the political convulsion it would cause in Iraq, America, and elsewhere . . .“

What?   I personally heard from more than one field grade officer that the coming war was unwise, understaffed, and would take more than a decade to begin to achieve its alleged objectives.  Didn’t Burns hear any of that?

His claim about what journalists were thinking and doing was directly addressed in Michael Massing, “Now They Tell Us,” New York Review of Books, Volume 51, Number 3 (February 26, 2004) and Michael Massing, “Iraq, the Press and the Election,” New York Review of Books, Volume 51, Number 20 (December 16, 2004).

Earlier, responsible journalists should have known about:

·      Seymour M. Hersh, “The Iraq Hawks: Can their war plan work?”, The New Yorker, Issue of 2001-12-24 and 31.

·      Peter Oborne, “On the roads of ruin,” The Observer, Sunday, May 25, 2003.

·      Nicholas Lemann, “The War On What?: The White House and the debate about whom to fight next,” The New Yorker, Issue of 2002-09-16

·      Nicholas Lemann, “How It Came To War,” The New Yorker, Issue of 2003-03-31.

·      John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, “An Unnecessary War,” Foreign Policy, January/February 2003, http://www.foreignpolicy.com/issue_janfeb_2003/walts.html.

·      Brian Urquhart, “The Prospect of War,” The New York Review of Books, Volume 49, Number 20, December 19, 2002.

·      Anthony Cordesman, “The Iraq War: 'Worst,' 'Worse,' and 'Not So Worst' Cases,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, March 5, 2003.

·      Laurence Meyer,  “After an Attack on Iraq: The Economic Consequences, Conference Summary,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, November 2, 2002.

·      Jon Lee Anderson, “The Collapse: A regime disappears and chaos ensues,” The New Yorker, Issue of 2003-04-21 and 28

and, later, things like

·      James Bamford, “The Man Who Sold The War: Meet John Rendon, Bush's General In The Propaganda War,” Rolling Stone, November 21, 2005.

·      Seymour M. Hersh, “The Stovepipe,” The New Yorker, Issue of 2003-10-27

·      Michael Meacher, “This war on terrorism is bogus: The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination,” The Guardian, Saturday, September 6, 2003.

There are many more sources educated people should have known about.  Burns’ blog seems revisionist, at least.