Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

World class bogus quote job

So I see over in National Review Online that Pete Wehner attacks me thusly: Those like Joe Klein and Tom Ricks, who claimed the Iraq war was "probably the biggest foreign policy mistake in American history" (Klein’s words) and "the biggest mistake in the history of American foreign policy" (Ricks’s words), were wrong. Ricks went ...

Flickr: Xurble
Flickr: Xurble

So I see over in National Review Online that Pete Wehner attacks me thusly:

Those like Joe Klein and Tom Ricks, who claimed the Iraq war was "probably the biggest foreign policy mistake in American history" (Klein's words) and "the biggest mistake in the history of American foreign policy" (Ricks's words), were wrong. Ricks went so far as to say in 2009 that "I think staying in Iraq is immoral."

The rest of my comment, of course, was that, "but I think leaving Iraq is even more immoral."

So I see over in National Review Online that Pete Wehner attacks me thusly:

Those like Joe Klein and Tom Ricks, who claimed the Iraq war was "probably the biggest foreign policy mistake in American history" (Klein’s words) and "the biggest mistake in the history of American foreign policy" (Ricks’s words), were wrong. Ricks went so far as to say in 2009 that "I think staying in Iraq is immoral."

The rest of my comment, of course, was that, "but I think leaving Iraq is even more immoral."

On the other hand, it is good for a journalist (or recent journalist, which is what I am) to be misrepresented on occasion, to remind one of how it feels. And I think we have an answer as to how intellectually honest Pete Wehner is. Or maybe he’s just sloppy, because I recently wrote a piece for the New York Times about why I think we need to keep tens of thousands of troops in Iraq for many years to come.

But I do agree with him that Ryan Crocker is one of the heroes of this sad war. And I agree with Crocker that the war was basically a bad idea.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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