May 22, 2009

No, that is not what I wrote.

Okay, misquoting me because of my indecipherable accent is one thing. Misquoting something I have written is another. An alert reader catches Tim Heffernan:

"Indeed, Andrew Exum, an ex-Ranger better known as the blogger Abu Muqawama and one of the leading public experts on counterinsurgency, told Ambinder that his inside take on the 'surge' in Iraq was that it was won not by the increase in U.S. troop levels, but by the elite killers of JSOC — as led by Stan McChrystal." [emphasis mine]
And here's what Ambinder actually wrote:
"Andrew Exum, a former Army Ranger who served in Iraq, wrote yesterday on his pseudonymous blog, Abu Muqawama, that 'I do know that many policy-makers and journalists think that McChrystal's work as the head of the super-secret Joint Special Operations Command was the untold success story of the Surge and the greater war on terror campaigns.'" [emphasis mine again]

Let me make this clear: JSOC did not "win" the Surge and was not primarily responsible for the security gains in Iraq in 2007. They just played a significant role that has yet to be explored by any of the books and articles written. (We will learn a lot, in fact, when everything is declassified one day.) And I do not have any "inside take" on what happened in 2007, a year I spent in London and not Baghdad. This is sensationalist. I may know many of the planners and strategists responsible for the security gains of 2007, but a) those people disagree among themselves about what happened in 2007 and b) so do about 1,000 other people.

Annoying, these journalists. C'mon, man, just call me and get a quote of your own. It's not like I am still hiding in Beirut. I have an office in Washington and everything.