Two strong assessments in today's Wall Street Journal (subscriber-only). Michael Rubin has seen Iraq's evolution at first hand (UPDATE this piece is also available via the AEI):

Democracy is a process, and Iraq has only started along its arduous path. But already, the transformation is vast.... Across the Arab world, politicians lecture to the people. Only in Iraq is the opposite true.

Meanwhile, Eliot Cohen reminds us, in a piece entitled "A Time For Humility", not to let euphoria blind us to the need to learn from mistakes:

The first consists of waging war with the mentality and practices of peace. Because we choose to cut taxes in wartime, we have a ballooning deficit; because we have a ballooning deficit we cannot expand the active-duty military on a permanent basis; because we cannot expand the active-duty military we call up hundreds of thousands of reservists to fight an optional war half a world away, sending part-time soldiers -- some ready for this mission, others not -- off for a year of combating guerrillas in a limited war, a concept at odds with all previous notions of what citizen-soldiers do.

Because we cannot substantially increase the defense budget we may fail to replace equipment worn down by months of active service in a harsh climate, and we have even begun to drain our military-school system of leaders. Signs of strain appear in retention rates; but it becomes most clear, if you talk to soldiers, in the disgust and anger of the Army's best mid-level leaders, and in the institutional leukemia that has begun to sap the vitality of a military educational system that was once, deservedly, the pride of our armed forces.

|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/01/how-to-deal-with-good-news-ii-two.html|||1/31/2005 10:01:00 am|||||||||