Two pieces have been recently cajoled out of me. Chris Robbins recently acquired the domain, embarrassing.com, through some legerdemain that I won’t inquire about. (It seems more interesting, anyway, to keep it all a mystery.) When he told me that a number of writers had suggested that they might write pieces for him — in the same cowardly way that a casting director tells you that he will call you or an accounts payable person tells you that the check is in the mail — I felt compelled to offer him this entry for why I presently feel embarrassed.
I was also very honored to be asked to contribute to the Philly Inquirer again — courtesy of some kind lobbying from a few considerate souls who still seem to think I can write — and you can read my review of Thomas E. Ricks’s The Gamble in today’s edition. I must say that I came away from this book respecting General David Petraeus considerably more than I had in the past. It’s easy for any liberal-minded individual to get caught up in the crude sentiment that the war is wrong. It certainly is wrong. But the book challenged and informed my perceptions about Iraq in a way that I think any good thinker should consider. On this basis alone, the book is worth your time. We’re content to look at the situation with a sense of detached removal. As if it will go away. Like some obnoxious uncle with a drinking problem at a family reunion. But it’s not going away. It’s a scenario that we must understand and that we must take responsibility for. And perhaps that might involve looking hard and less superficially at the Baghdad clusterfuck.