Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Rhetoric over realitity

Rhetoric over reality
Gene Lyons

Posted on Wednesday, June 28, 2006

As long as two weeks ago, when the world was young, the favored story line of your biased, anti-American, left-wing media was that President Bush was “on a roll.” “ Spate of Good News Gives White House a Chance to Regroup” was The Washington Post’s front-page headline. The Wall Street Journal asked if the White House was “setting the stage for a political recovery.” “The GOP was clearly on a rebound,” Newsweek opined. “It’s been the kind of week that President Bush and the beleaguered White House have only dreamed about,” gushed ABC News’ Claire Shipman. Under Shipman’s shining face, documented by the invaluable, the on-screen text read, “Best week ever? Is Bush on a comeback?” Best week ever? The evidence for this putative surge was the killing of criminal psychopath Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq, Bush’s secret 5-hour visit to Baghdad, the non-indictment of Karl Rove and what ABC called “a triumphant Rose Garden news conference” celebrating all of the above.

Sorry, but this last phrase strikes me as perfectly indicative of almost everything that’s wrong with the Bush administration and the celebrity press corps that chronicles its dubious progress. Rhetoric, symbolism and spin take precedence over reality at every turn. To put it bluntly, this nation is allegedly at war with an evil and implacable enemy. Don’t tell me about no triumphant press conferences.

The entire episode played like a chapter out of Eric Boehlert’s incisive new book, “Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush.” By any measure, the killing of al-Zarqawi, Jordan’s answer to Timothy McVeigh, was unabashed good news. So good that it appears fellow “insurgents” betrayed him. Even al-Qa’ida objected to al-Zarqawi’s savage attacks against Shiite civilians and holy places, although it called him a martyr after he was safely in his grave.

The mystery is why, according to numerous reports, the White House turned down several opportunities to capture or kill al-Zarqawi as long ago as 2001. The answer seems to be that it found his presence in the Kurdish part of Iraq not under Saddam Hussein’s control useful for propaganda purposes. Then things got out of hand.

Something similar could be said about Bush’s visit to Baghdad. Satirist Stephen Colbert captured it perfectly during his standup routine at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner: “I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound—with the most powerfully staged photo-ops in the world.”

Yet even as Bush was en route to Iraq, The Washington Post obtained—and all but buried—a cable from U. S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad portraying increasing sectarian violence and sharply deteriorating security affecting Iraqi employees at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Appearance not only trumps reality in the staging of photo-ops, it’s beginning to look as if the Bush White House can no longer tell the difference. It’s only natural for trendy TV pundits to think this way. What Hollywood calls a rising story line means more “exclusive” interviews with administration big shots, more face time on TV, invitations to more exclusive dinner parties and better speaker’s fees.

But when policy-makers start thinking like screenwriters, things can get dangerous. Consider last week’s Senate “debate” over two Democratic proposals for setting a rational timetable for leaving Iraq. On cue, almost every Republican in Washington began chanting, “Cut ’n’ run.”

Any and all proposals for withdrawing U. S. troops constitute evidence of Democratic cowardice, if not treason. Except those subsequently revealed to the press in a “classified briefing” (whatever that is) by Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top U. S. commander in Iraq, of course.

What nobody’s supposed to notice is that if the White House and Republicans were truly serious, one option would be increasing troop levels to deal with metastasizing sectarian violence among Iraqi factions. Military experts such as Gen. George Shinseki, all but forced out of the Pentagon back in 2002 for testifying to Congress that several hundred thousand troops would be necessary to pacify a nation as large as Iraq, warned that the force Bush was sending was inadequate to do the job.

So now American soldiers find themselves hostage to foolhardy decisions made four years ago, essentially serving as referees and targets of opportunity as a civil war breaks out around them. Bush can’t increase troop levels because the public wouldn’t stand for it even if sufficient combat-ready troops existed, which, with conditions in Afghanistan also deteriorating, they do not. Hence “Cut ’n’ run,” a slogan more appropriate to the rollout of an action/ adventure film than a grave matter of national security. What the phrase really means, as political commentator Josh Marshall points out, is “more of the same.”

Lily Tomlin said it best. "No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up."


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