Dear Fred Hiatt: I'm just wondering, do you guys vet pieces like this before you publish them, or does any Big Shot get unfettered access to your op-ed page anytime they ask?
Because that sure was a clinker.
More than anything else, I’m embarrassed on behalf of your paper. I feel a certain loyalty to the Washington Post, which I’ve been reading for over four decades, so I wince when it prints tripe like this.
Let's just look at that concluding paragraph:
We do not advocate a silencing of debate on the war in Iraq. But care must be taken by those experienced officers who had their chance to speak up while on active duty. In speaking out now, they may think they are doing a service by adding to the reasoned debate. But the enemy does not understand or appreciate reasoned public debate. It is perceived as a sign of weakness and lack of resolve.
Even a junior high school newspaper editor should be able to spot the contradiction between “the enemy does not understand or appreciate reasoned public debate. It is perceived as a sign of weakness and lack of resolve,” and “We do not advocate a silencing of debate on the war in Iraq.”
So if “reasoned public debate” undermines the war effort (which is what Laird and Pursley are saying), what sort of debate on Iraq is OK - unreasoned, hysterical debate?
That sure seems to be the only, erm, reasonable conclusion.