Yes, facts do change minds
I have my own reservations about George Will’s column on Afghanistan, but accusing Will of slavishly following public opinion is just silly. The argument – such as it is – seems to be that Will’s enthusiasm for our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan is suspiciously correlated with the level of public support for the war in question.
But it’s worth considering why the Bush Administration lost public support for the War in Iraq. The public didn’t lose faith because Bush suddenly became less likable or less credible on foreign policy. Opposition to the war mounted because conditions in Iraq deteriorated dramatically, which had the effect of convincing people that the war was a) unwinnable and b) not a very good idea in the first place. Will’s views undoubtedly changed under similar circumstances, which is almost certainly a good thing – he wouldn’t be much of an op-ed columnist if his conclusions were completely impervious to facts on the ground.