Lowry on the War

Can I second this comment?

My only answer about what the effect of Zarqawi's death might be is to say with Tom Friedman, 'the next six months will be crucial.' When his repetition of that phrase over and over was pointed out in The Corner, I said I would have agreed with him every time he said it. Some readers asked why. Because every time Friedman said it, it was true. It was and is true because Iraq has never decisively tilted one way or the other. It has seemed at times that it was on the verge of doing so (I thought it was when I wrote, 'We're Winning'), but it never has.
This is why people are wrong to say that Iraq is lost and wrong to say victory is inevitable. It is still very fluid. Events matter, leadership matters, policy matters. All of them interact in a dynamic way.

I take flak for my intermittent optimism and pessimism on Iraq. Mickey Kaus, whose own clairvoyance is not exactly renowned, has ridiculed me for it. But Rich is right. This is what wars are like; and this is what history is like. On a blog, you reflect what you see at the time. The word "journalism" is rooted in the idea of something that is true for the day. You try and get everything right, not to jump too far ahead, not to give up too soon, and so on. But the world will foil you. All you can do is your best to make sense of a deeply opaque and difficult time. Or as I just emailed to one reader:

Try being right ten times a day for six years.

The good news is: sometimes we learn more by getting things wrong. All I can say is: I sure want to win this war and defeat this enemy. And everything I write and every criticism I make about the war is related to that overwhelming imperative.