I'm struck by how sober Rich Lowry and Victor Davis Hanson appear to be after returning from a Pentagon trip to Iraq. Hanson provides the usual morale-boosting, but now seems aware of the failures of 2003 - 2006 (which he pooh-poohed at the time, of course). Lowry's conservatism keeps interfering with his need to remain on good terms with the Republican base:

In discussions of what motivates Iraqis, Bush’s favorite theme of freedom never comes up. It’s always survival, fear, power, or pride, or some combination of all of them. Bush has been famously resolute, but one wonders how much even after four grueling years he truly understands the war on which he has staked his presidency.

Translation: the president hasn't got a clue what's going on and never has. It's up to the military - finally free from Rumsfeld's idiocy - to forge some kind of tolerably feasible permanent occupation. We're lucky to have them. They're not so lucky to have us.

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