Simple Answers To Simple Questions

17 comments December 7th, 2006at 11:03am Posted by Eli

Will It Work in the White House?


Really, the only question is what kind of political use the WH will make of the report. Pretend to gratefully embrace it and then gut it, or simply fail to follow through, or follow through incompetently?

Or attack it as insufficiently resolute and hold it up as an example of the wishy-washy pitfalls of bipartisanship?

Given the national mood (“The war sucks, get out now”), and the polite-but-noncomittal tenor of Bush’s public comments about it, it looks like it’s going to be some variation of the former. Bush will use the report to bathe stay-the-course in a rosy, bipartisany glow. He will pretend to adopt just enough of it so that credulous right- and center-wing pundits (I’m looking at you, Broder) can admire his open-mindedness and willingness to listen to advice and change course, all the while ignoring the fact that he’s doing no such thing.

Look for Atrios and all the other media-watchdog bloggers to start going to town on this within one Friedman Unit (six months).

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,Media,Politics,Wankers,War


  • 1. Anne  |  December 7th, 2006 at 2:09 pm

    Why don’t those same media types ever report on the Beavis-and-Butthead laughter that punctuates Bush’s remarks?

    I think he’s afraid, and is attempting to make the paralysis of fear look like steadfastness and determination. His MO his entire life has been for someone to rescue him from his mistakes, but he is hampered this time by not being able to tolerate the humiliation of having to admit to the equivalent of the world that he’s failed.

    Sad. Really sad. And what’s saddest is the suffering and death that are going to occur while he piddles around doing nothing.

    The Beavis-and-Butthead laughter makes a mockery of so many lives.

  • 2. lotus  |  December 7th, 2006 at 2:11 pm

    Yep, you’re prolly on-the-money here, Eli. And I presume you saw the companion piece by Michael Gordon, Will The Plan Work on the Battlefield? (whose answer is, according to Gordon’s sources, a big loud “Hell, NO!”).

    Meanwhile, did you also see WaPo’s rueful chuckler Threats Wrapped in Misunderstandings? It ends with this wonder from Anthony Cordesman: “The U.S. effectively sent a bull in to liberate a china shop, and the Study Group now called upon the U.S. to threaten to remove the bull if the shop doesn’t fix the china.” I swanny, I don’t know whether it happened that WaPo asked only fools to comment for this story — or only fools will talk to WaPo in/about Iraq at all anymore . . .

  • 3. lotus  |  December 7th, 2006 at 2:13 pm

    Well, hello there, Anne!

    Chilling comment, yours — but as for refuting it, I got nuthin.

  • 4. Eli  |  December 7th, 2006 at 3:19 pm

    Anne, my impression of Bush is that of a frat boy who’s always had absolute confidence in his ability to fake or bluff his way through any situation without any preparation, because he’s smart and everyone else is a sucker (plus his Daddy is a Big Man who Knows People).

    And I think this factors into his refusal to admit error – not only would it be an admission of fallibility, but he’s also afraid of getting exposed as only *pretending* to work, and his dad (or worse yet, his mom) might yell at him.

    lotus, how much I can read pretty much depends on how busy I am at work, so I’ll probably have to check those out when I get home. They sound promising.

  • 5. lotus  |  December 7th, 2006 at 4:37 pm

    Eli, you’re (hell, everybody’s) better with the Google than I am, so if you run across a page anywhere that lists all-but-only the 79 recommendations, would you please sing out and let me know where to find that?

    Thankly, lotus

  • 6. Jenny from the Blog  |  December 7th, 2006 at 4:44 pm

    The MSM could’ve brought George early on in his presidency but they didn’t – and honestly I don’t think they will EVER report on anything other than what they absolutely have to unless it is so egregious and devastating it cannot be ignored.

    This is why I’m not doing cartwheels over the new makeup of the congress. It’s wait and see, because everything can be framed as a negative on the dems (not that they don’t deserve scorn at the moment) and the press will jump on minor infractions and continue giving their their same-old same passes, enabling the administration. Hell, they’re still reading press releases from Rove’s office and calling it *news*.

    I thought I could tune back in to the news, finally, after the election, but I’m still finding it too abhorrant. Click. TV off.

    p.s. Hey everyone!

  • 7. Jenny from the Blog  |  December 7th, 2006 at 4:46 pm

    Well, that was a mess. MSM could’ve brought George DOWN, is what I meant.

    Hopefully I got my point across anyway, even with the typo. ;)

  • 8. Jenny from the Blog  |  December 7th, 2006 at 4:47 pm

    Hey, with any concerted effort the press could bring us to impeachment in a matter of weeks. All they have to do is their job and start reporting and the people in this country would be screaming for Bush’s head on a pike.

  • 9. lotus  |  December 7th, 2006 at 5:38 pm

    Hi, Jenny!

    Yuh-huh, if we still had the pre-conglomerate media of even the Reagan years, Chimpy never woulda made it. Prying the news out of the hands of GE et al. is something we’ve GOT to do: a major lesson-learned of the Bush Years, but it’s gonna be a hard, hard fight (and one the pols are going to have to be brought to kicking and screaming, don’t you bet?).

  • 10. Jenny from the Blog  |  December 7th, 2006 at 5:51 pm

    Hey Lotus…

    The press has always been pretty lousy but now they’re just criminally negligent for the past 5 or 6 years. Enabling criminals with intent and I believe, malice, pretty much makes you a criminal too.

    For them to report events accurately at this point entails disclosing their own history of deception – revealing their complicity.

    They really can’t do it without enormous consequences and I ain’t holding my breath.

  • 11. Eli  |  December 7th, 2006 at 6:05 pm

    Oh yeah, media and election reform are both huge for me.

    They are the twin engines of government accountability, and with both of them out, the plane is going down.

    Ducking back out of bad metaphor, as long as the media and the election machines are in the Republicans’ pocket, elections like last months will be merely an occasional blip that occurs when the damage wrought by unchecked Republican power becomes too extensive to paper (or TV) over.

  • 12. Jenny from the Blog  |  December 7th, 2006 at 6:11 pm

    You’re allowed one bad metaphor every Friedman cycle. Then it’s gonna cost you.

  • 13. Eli  |  December 7th, 2006 at 7:08 pm

    lotus, I checked out those links – they reinforce my hope-is-not-a-plan (no offense, HopeSAT) impression. Sure, it’s all well and good to say that we just need to train the Iraqis up and convince them to stop killing each other, but those have been declared goals all along, and they’re just not happening, and probably won’t ever be happening.

  • 14. lotus  |  December 7th, 2006 at 7:58 pm

    Eli, next thing you need to check is Glenn today. Does up Baker-Hamilton to a crispy turn.

    (TARnation, boy, you got the longest, zeeiest verification strings in th’ bidness today!)

  • 15. Eli  |  December 7th, 2006 at 8:02 pm

    I’ll get there – I usually read Glenn every day as I work my way through my blogroll.

  • 16. Eli  |  December 8th, 2006 at 12:05 am

    Greenwald rocks. I think he’s absolutely right about the ISG, which makes it all the more striking that they savage the war as such a disaster. That’s why that’s the only positive: If even a panel of people who unanimously *supported* it think it’s a disaster, it really must be truly terrible.

    (Verification word “oonsh”, BTW)

  • 17. Multi Medium » ISG &hellip  |  January 26th, 2007 at 8:25 pm

    […] I’ve meditated on the ISG Report a little more, and I’m realizing that maybe it isn’t a complete waste of time and paper. I stand by my original assessment that even if implemented with scientific exactitude, it’s not going to come close to salvaging Iraq, and I stand by my subsequent prediction that Bush will use it to put bipartisan lipstick on the stay-the-course pig. What makes the ISG Report a Big Deal is that after all the hype about how the ISG is such a bipartisan collection of Serious Old Wise Men (and Sandra Day), they completely and utterly trashed the administration’s approach to the war – not just strategy (or its absence) or tactics, but also the gaming and suppression of negative information. […]

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