Bloggers on a New York Times editorial urging a withdrawal from Iraq.

Bloggers on a New York Times editorial urging a withdrawal from Iraq.

Bloggers on a New York Times editorial urging a withdrawal from Iraq.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
July 9 2007 3:50 PM

Pack Up and Head Out

Bloggers are responding to three efforts from the New York Times: an editorial on the imperative of leaving Iraq; reports that Donald Rumsfeld nixed a mission to capture top al-Qaida operatives; and a trend piece on whether being a librarian is the newest hip career.

Pack up and head out: In its sole editorial Sunday, the Old Gray Lady proclaimed the United States must leave Iraq. American military brass should be planning now for an "orderly exit" from the Mesopotamian nation now mired in civil war, the editorial states. Bloggers are parsing each of the 1,734 words.

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The liberal at Booman Tribune applauds the stance: "It's not often that the press throws a wet towel over the distortions of the Bush administration. The Times gave them the full treatment today."

But many lefties are none too pleased with the effort. Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast says the editorial was "long overdue from Those Wonderful People Who Gave You Judith Miller." Guest blogging at Ezra Klein's home on the Internets, Ankush knocks the Times for tardiness: "They're embarrassingly behind the curve here, and I hope they're not under the impression that simply because their editorial runs the entire length of the page, they've performed an act of Utmost Seriousness." But at the liberal Dean's World, Dave Price rejects it for another reason: "The NYT would have us sign the death warrants of every decent Sunni Iraqi trying to make Iraq a decent place to live, and hand Al Qaeda credibility at American expense."

Many conservatives agree with Price. "Is the New York Times in a hurry for an Islamic caliphate? Or are they just out of their effing minds?" wonders the conservative at Classical Values. "I cannot think of a better way to lose the war against al Qaeda than to do as the Times says and leave Iraq." Greg, the conservative Texan schoolteacher at Rhymes With Right, agrees that a withdrawal would be a score for the terrorists and snips, "The only up-sides I can see to this outcome will be burqas for Maureen Dowd and Rosie O'Donnell."

Conservative Don Surber derides the editorial as being "long on words, short on logic, and absent of heart," while his anti-withdrawal ally Lorie Byrd at Wizbang is angry at liberals who ignore progress being made in Iraq. "If they think it is just a waste of time and effort and lives, then they can say that, but at least acknowledge that the men and women of our military are experiencing some success. Then if they want to argue that genocide is preferable to victory in Iraq, I will at least believe they are being honest."

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Read more on the editorial.

The raid that wasn't: In a breathtaking scoop, the New York Times reported Sunday that then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stopped a secret raid on top al-Qaida leadership in 2005 just as it was underway. The article says Rumsfeld considered the raid too "cumbersome" and that he was worried it would negatively affect U.S. relations with Pakistan.

Moderate Andrew Sullivan is baffled: "It's one of the mysteries of the Bush administration. While they have reaped many of the disadvantages of talking tough, they have often balked when it comes to difficult decisions to actually go after al Qaeda, despite some risks of collateral damage," he writes. Others are of the same mind. "Since 9/11 we've been bombarded with all sorts of warnings about the dangers of Al-Qaeda. Yet when the Bushies had a potential shot at one of the main perpetrators of the worst terrorist incident in US history, they demurred," writes Creature at liberal State of the Day.

At Political Animal, Kevin Drum calls the scratched opportunity "precisely the same kind of decision that Clinton has been pilloried for making under similar circumstances back in the 90s. But now it turns out that Clinton wasn't just some liberal softy after all. Even after 9/11, and even after installing a rock-jawed Republican as Secretary of Defense, the Bush administration is doing the same thing. So maybe Clinton knew what he was doing after all. And maybe the world isn't quite the game of Risk that Bill Kristol thinks it is."

Read more about the raid that could have been.

The librarian fantasy: A Sunday Styles New York Times piece catalogs the hipness of a previously maligned profession: librarians.

Blogger librarians are not entirely satisfied with the characterization. Librarian Melissa Rabey at PopGoes the Library is incensed: "We're exchanging one stereotype for another. ... Just as many people don't respond to librarians because they're thinking of the glasses, bun, and shushing, there are just as many people who won't respond to tattoos, pink hair, and loud voices. Yet we're so desperate not to be seen as fuddy-duddies that we're swinging too much to the other side of the spectrum, where you have to be cooler than cool to be a librarian."

At Information Wants To Be Free, librarian Meredith Farkas finds comfort in the wide variety of librarians: "I'm glad we have hipster librarians and tattooed librarians. I'm also glad we have baby boomer librarians, conservative librarians, techie librarians, activist librarians, librarians who are veterans, librarians who have come from other professions, librarians who are into sports."

Read more reaction to the librarian story.

Sonia Smith is an associate editor at Texas Monthly.