Lies, damned lies and Michael O’Hanlon

Remember the two so called “war critics” that were transformed by their investigative trip to Iraq? Read what happens to one of them when subjected to scrutiny.

By TRex

I’ve been waiting for what seems like ages for Glenn Greenwald to publish the column detailing the results of his interview with feted “war critic” turned Iraq War cheerleader Michael O’Hanlon, and boy howdy, it doesn’t disappoint. You can read Greenwald’s column here with a full transcript of the conversation available here.

One by one, my man G2 demolishes the pillars supporting the conventional wisdom about O’Hanlon and Pollack’s wildly mendacious Op-Ed, “A War We Just Might Win” until finally, poor O’Hanlon must have desperately wanted to curl up and hide, whimpering, underneath the table. This is why over at Sadly, No! they call Greenwald, “Glennzilla”.

The lies are so thick on the ground around this issue that it’s hard to know where to begin, but let’s start with one of the more glaring falsehoods, that O’Hanlon and Pollack (both from the pro-Iraq-War “liberal” think tank, the Brookings Institute) were “fierce critics” of the president’s catastrophic invasion of Iraq.

I have to doff my hat to Greenwald for taking the time to wade through O’Hanlon’s verbal dreck, by the way. Clearly, Michael O’Hanlon has caught on to the think tank practice of using as many words as possible to say as little as you can conceivably get away with.

Greenwald asks, “Don’t you think it was a little disingenuous to describe yourself as a ”˜war critic’?”

The answer to that question would be “yes” or “no” in a perfect world.


First, I think that to an extent, at least, it’s certainly fair to go over a person’s record when that person themself is being held up as playing a certain role in the debate. So while I’m not entirely happy with some of the coverage I’ve received here [on this blog] and elsewhere, I agree with the basic premise: that if I’m being held up as a “critic of the war”, for example by Vice President Cheney, it’s certainly only fair to ask if that is a proper characterization of me. And in fact I would not even use that characterization of myself, as I will elaborate in a moment.

The guy makes Dan Gerstein look concise. But of course, as a “scholar” in the Foreign Policy Cult of “Serious” Thinkers, O’Hanlon knows that he has to lay down a thick layer of obfuscatory grease on any point that he makes, especially when faced with as tenacious an inquisitor as Glenn Greenwald. Maybe he thought that if he launched enough fallacious assertions, we’d all glaze over at the number of targets and stop paying attention.

Greenwald’s post puts the lie to the “war-critics” meme by pointing out that O’Hanlon was wildly in favor of the invasion, offering (at best) tepid criticisms in the minutiae of strategy back in 2004, reservations only slightly less voluble than Bill Kristol’s at the time. Then comes the fact that, contrary to Pollack and O’Hanlon’s assertion that they met with a wide range of “American and Iraqi military and civilian personnel”. Under direct questioning, O’Hanlon sheepishly admits that the entire junket was sponsored, orchestrated, and choreographed by the Department of Defense. Pollack and O’Hanlon met almost entirely with individuals hand-picked by the US military. This was a dog and pony show, plain and simple, and anyone who tells you otherwise is quietly clapping their hands under the table and believing in fairies.

In short, this “remarkable”, “eye-opening” Op-Ed is every bit as spurious and intentionally misleading as Judy Miller’s “scoops” in the NYT about Saddam’s WMD’s. Unfortunately, our national media is so trained to roll over and play dead on command that this patently false representation of the current situation in Iraq was paraded through the city gates and greeted with cheers and accolades and is still being used as a dray horse in the war debate.

Jesus Christ on a pogo stick, will they ever learn?

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