Co-Author of Influential Op-Ed in 'NYT' on Iraq Chats With Key Critic

By: E&P Staff Since it appeared in The New York Times two weeks ago, the Op-Ed hailing progress in Iraq written by Ken Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon has taken center stage in discussion and debate on cable news, newspaper opinion pages, and on the Web.

Supporters of the war, right up to Vice President Cheney, have cited it as proof the surge is working, mainly because the co-authors are allegedly (as has often been said) "critics of the war." Actual critics of the war have pointed out that what much of the media have steadfastly ignored is that both men were supporters of the 2003 invasion (Pollack, in fact, was a leading proponent) and this year's "surge."

Also overlooked until this past week: The third man on their brief Pentagon-sponsored tour, Anthony Cordesman, came to different conclusions.

Now, Glenn Greenwald, who writes a popular blog at, has taken the trouble to interview O'Hanlon and posted today a summary, his own comments, and a transcript.

Here's one extract:

GREENWALD: Were you concerned that you were getting an unrepresentative view of the situation in Iraq because the Iraqis with whom you spoke were ones hand-picked by the U.S. military?

O'HANLON: If someone wanted to argue that we were not getting a representative view of Iraqis because the ones we spoke with were provided by the military, I would agree that this would be a genuine concern. Certainly that might have influenced the impressions that we were presented, though by no means did all of the Iraqis agree with the view of progress in Iraq....

GREENWALD: Given that some of the claims in your Op-Ed are based upon your conversations with Iraqis, and that the Iraqis with whom you spoke were largely if not exclusively ones provided to you by the U.S. military, shouldn't that fact have been included in your Op-Ed?

O'HANLON: If the suggestion is that in a 1,400 word Op-Ed, we ought to have mentioned that, I can understand that criticism, and if we should have included that, I apologize for not having done so.

The entire blog posting can be found at:


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