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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

O’Hanlon: "Fight with facts, not innuendo, I say!”

Politico discusses the firestorm that the NYT op-ed piece, written by Michael O'Hanlon and Kennth Pollack, today.

We showed you quite a few examples of that firestorm yesterday and again this morning ourselves.

From Politico today:

Brookings scholars Michael E. O’Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack used the most established of platforms, the Op-Ed page of The New York Times, to offer the most politically incorrect of arguments on Monday: “We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms.”

Their 1,343-word piece, “A War We Just Might Win,” instantly provoked a more furious ideological shootout than has been sparked by any recent development on the battleground or action by the Bush administration.

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Personally I read pieces that called them lapdogs to the administration or mouthpieces to the administration, myself, and Politico points out that they have indeed been critical of the administration in the past as well as stating their credentials.

And partly, the controversy boils down to a matter of identity: Both men have been central combatants in ideological debates over the war since before it started – both wrote supportively of the idea of toppling Saddam Hussein but have been deeply critical of administration tactics and strategy, including the initial Pentagon decision to pare down the U.S. invasion force.

The trip that provoked their new article lasted eight days, and was set up by the U.S. military. It was O’Hanlon’s second visit to Iraq, and Pollack’s third.

Who are they? O’Hanlon, a Brookings senior fellow in Foreign Policy Studies who is one of the nation’s leading civilian authorities on military matters, spearheads the Iraq Index, a continuously updated, 65-page quantification of reconstruction and security in post-Saddam Iraq, from the number of registered cars to the number of Iraqis kidnapped per day.

O'Hanlon, who is the brother-in-law of editor-in-chief John F. Harris, testified on Iraq's future before a House Armed Services subcommittee Tuesday afternoon, where retired Gen. Jack Keane, one of the main proponents and architects of the surge initiative, lauded him as "an objective, astute observer."

But O'Hanlon's last words on the Politico piece struck home:

O’Hanlon was unruffled. “I welcome the firestorm,” he said by e-mail. “Hopefully more facts will get into the debate. I know we don't have any monopoly on reaching bottom-line policy judgments. I just hope I don't get [people] calling me a propagandist for the administration. Fight with facts, not innuendo, I say!”

For those that keep trying to paint the Brooking Institute as not liberal: Here is what Wikipedia says about it:

Brookings, traditionally considered liberal,is devoted to public service through research and education in the social sciences, particularly in economics, government, and foreign policy.Its stated principal purpose is "to aid in the development of sound public policies and to promote public understanding of issues of national importance."

Since Wiki is not always the best source, below is another source with information on the Brookings Institute.

The organization is currently headed by Strobe Talbott, a former Clinton administration appointee in the U.S. State Department. Carlos Pascual, the former Ambassador to Ukraine, serves as Vice President of Brookings and as the Director of the Foreign Policy Studies program.

Here is the site for those that want to see what it is all about for yourselves.

From DiscoverTheNetWorks.Org, a guide to the political left, here is their description:

Leading Democratic Think-Tank in Washington, D.C.

The Brookings Institution defines itself as "a private nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and innovative policy solutions." Professing to be without a political agenda, it aims to "provide the highest quality research, policy recommendations, and analysis on the full range of public policy issues … for decision-makers in the U.S. and abroad on the full range of challenges facing an increasingly interdependent world."

The Brookings Institution is an outgrowth of the Institute for Government Research (IGR), which was founded in 1916 to analyze public policy issues at the national level. In 1922 and 1924, one of IGR's supporters, St. Louis businessman and philanthropist Robert Somers Brookings (1850-1932), established two sister organizations: the Institute of Economics and a graduate school (as part of Washington University) bearing his name. In 1927, the three entities merged to form the Brookings Institution. Its first Board included Mr. Brookings; Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter; Charles W. Eliot, former President of Harvard; Fredric Delano, uncle of future President Franklin Delano Roosevelt; Herbert Hoover; and Frank Goodnow, who would become the first Chairman of the IGR's Board of Trustees and President of Johns Hopkins University.

Mr. Brookings officially opposed FDR's expansion of the welfare state during the Great Depression, and then-Brookings Institution President Harold Moulton concluded that the National Recovery Administration had actually impeded recovery. The Institution assisted in the planning of World War II, providing the government with manpower estimates and price control data; it also offered suggestions on the most efficient way to carry out the rebuilding of Europe after the War.

The Brookings Institution's capacity to shape government policy increased dramatically in the 1950s, when it received substantial grants from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. President Robert Calkins reorganized the Institution into Economic Studies, Government Studies, and Foreign Policy Studies programs, and by the mid-1960s Brookings was conducting nearly 100 research projects per year for the government as well as for private industry, making it the preeminent source of research in the world.

Under the Nixon administration, Brookings' relationship with the White House deteriorated, largely because many of the Brookings staff were Democrats who identified with the policies of the Great Society, opposed the Vietnam War, and advocated America's accelerated or unilateral nuclear disarmament. Brookings became part of the Watergate investigation as a result of Nixon's decision to authorize a break-in to the Institution's headquarters in 1971, in connection with the Pentagon Papers leak; He also ordered the FBI to wiretap the telephone of Morton Halperin, a Brookings Fellow.

Brookings tipped back to the political right in the 1970s and 80s, as evidenced by the presence of longtime Republicans like Stephen Hess (one-time speechwriter for President Eisenhower) and Roger Semerad (former Assistant Secretary of Labor under Ronald Reagan) in key positions. Brookings' then-President, Bruce MacLaury, was Under-Secretary of the Treasury for President Nixon.

Brookings has in recent years shifted back to the political left, particularly in its foreign policy positions. Condemning President Bush's Iraq policy, in April 2004 Brookings hosted Senator Edward Kennedy in an event aimed at discrediting the Iraq War. As the 2004 Presidential election neared, the Institution's Fellows endorsed Democratic candidate John Kerry's call for a "more sensitively" fought war on terrorism. They have also called for the American government to permit Islamic radicals like Tariq Ramadan to enter the U.S. with work visas.

Brookings has been involved with a variety of internationalist and state-sponsored programs, including the Global Governance Initiative, which aspires to facilitate the establishment of a U.N.-dominated world government, based in part on economic and Third World considerations. Brookings Fellows have also called for additional global collaboration on trade and banking; the expansion of the Kyoto Protocol; and nationalized health insurance for children. Nine Brookings economists signed a petition opposing President Bush's tax cuts in 2003.

The research topics addressed by the Brookings Institution include: Business, Cities and Suburbs, Defense, Economics, Education, Environment and Energy, Governance, Politics, Science and Technology, and Social Policy.

The Brookings Institution's President since 2002 has been Strobe Talbott, who served as President Clinton's Deputy Secretary of State. The Board of Trustees features Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of John Kerry; Zoe Baird, failed Clinton appointee for Attorney General; and Lawrence Summers, former Harvard President and U.S. Treasury Secretary.

Brookings income derives from a wide variety of sources, including seminars run for government and businesses, and a vast array of corporate and government contracts. In recent years, Brookings has received grants from the Aetna Foundation; the American Express Foundation; the Open Society Institute; the Fannie Mae Foundation; the Carnegie Corporation of New York; the Ford Foundation; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; the MacArthur Foundation; the Rockefeller Foundation; the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the AT&T Foundation, the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Vira I. Heinz Endowment, the Heinz Family Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, the Turner Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, and the Verizon Foundation. In 2004, grants to the Brookings Institutions totaled $32,107,359.

Also as of 2004, the Brookings Institution's net assets were valued at $248,205,816.

So, argue facts but for those that cannot acknowledge any Good News From Iraq and take every single piece that states that good news and tries to spin it as "administration mouthpiece works", please, get over it.

To deny that this group is slightly if not more so, to the "left" than not, is to completely destroy your own credibility.

It just makes you look silly as well as shows you as a liar.