Klein and the Surge

KLEIN AND THE SURGE….Note to Time’s Joe Klein: when you’ve dug yourself into a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging.

Let’s recap. Or try to, anyway. Yesterday Klein wrote that although Democrats are right about the “surge” (i.e., it won’t work), they’ll never be taken seriously on the subject until they do their homework properly. You see, he says the motivating force behind Bush’s planned surge isn’t the usual cast of neocons (who Klein admits have been wrong about Iraq) but “a significant number of military intellectuals who have favored a labor-intensive counterinsurgency strategy in Baghdad for the past three years.” And Dems need to take these guys seriously.

Of course, counterinsurgency isn’t the question at hand and Klein is being disingenuous by pretending there’s some argument about this. The question at hand is whether a surge now would improve our counterinsurgency prospects, and there’s been a ton of reporting in the past month that suggests that both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the military commanders on the ground in Iraq don’t think so. Klein knows this perfectly well, just as he knows that the “motivating force” behind the surge almost certainly doesn’t come from “military intellectuals” anyway. It comes from George Bush and Dick Cheney, who are casting around for something — anything — to fend off calls for withdrawal, and are desperately latching on to the tiny number of people who believe (or claim to believe) that a surge will work while ignoring the much larger number who don’t.

Why Klein pretends otherwise I don’t know. Today, though, he goes from merely incoherent to completely flipped out. Unhappy at being criticized, and apparently unable to marshal any further arguments for his case, he lashes out:

And so a challenge to those who slagged me in their comments. Can you honestly say the following:

Even though I disagree with this escalation, I am hoping that General Petraeus succeeds in calming down Baghdad.

Does the thought even cross your mind?

I’d like to respond with some kind of snappy comment here, but words fail me. I suspect Klein would be better off if words failed him too.