Tuesday, May 22, 2007

More WaPo crap on Iraq

[cross-posted at And, yes, I DO take it personally]

yesterday it was fred hiatt, today it's david ignatius...

President Bush and his senior military and foreign policy advisers are beginning to discuss a "post-surge" strategy for Iraq that they hope could gain bipartisan political support. The new policy would focus on training and advising Iraqi troops rather than the broader goal of achieving a political reconciliation in Iraq, which senior officials recognize may be unachievable within the time available.

The revamped policy, as outlined by senior administration officials, would be premised on the idea that, as the current surge of U.S. troops succeeds in reducing sectarian violence, America's role will be increasingly to help prepare the Iraqi military to take greater responsibility for securing the country.

ok, one more time... let's look at the wording...

  • "post-surge" strategy
  • gain bipartisan political support
  • new policy would focus on training and advising
  • unachievable political reconciliation
  • time available
  • revamped policy
  • current surge succeeds in reducing sectarian violence
  • Iraqi military to take greater responsibility
and this is all in ONLY THE FIRST TWO PARAGRAPHS...! if you read further, it only gets worse...
  • "Sectarian violence is not a problem we can fix"
  • the administration is talking with Iran and Syria
  • the post-surge policy would track the recommendations of the Baker-Hamilton report which the president now supports
  • policy adjustments must be made
  • an approach that would have sufficient bipartisan support so it could be sustained even after the Bush administration leaves office
  • build bipartisan support from Congress and the American public
and, yes, it goes on (and on and on and on) but i don't have the stomach for the rest, so let me just cut to the chase...

if you were an average schmoe, moderately but not exhaustively well-informed, who happened to read ignatius' op-ed piece, here is what i believe you would come away with...

  • the "surge" (not an escalation) that is taking place in iraq is not only temporary, it has a definite time limit, and its conclusion is close enough to begin detailed planning for what takes place afterward
  • the u.s. will still be in iraq after the surge is over
  • there is a serious desire on the part of the bush administration to craft a plan that would appeal to both political parties
  • focusing on training and advising is a "new" policy
  • the surge will succeed in reducing sectarian violence but political reconciliation cannot be achieved and the problem of sectarian violence cannot be fixed (huh...?)
  • the u.s. is in active discussions with iran and syria
  • george bush has changed his mind and now supports the recommendations of the iraq study group
  • george bush is flexible enough to see that his policies in iraq need to be changed
  • a plan can be crafted that will have the support of congress, the american people, and both political parties
  • the u.s. will still be in iraq when george bush leaves office
yes, i added comments to two of those conclusions... i can't help myself... but do you see how insidious this kind of journalism really is...? the washington post is in the best position of any newspaper in the world, with the possible exceptions of the new york times, the independent, the financial times, and the wall street journal, to influence and shape public opinion, and it is seriously abusing that power... a REAL opinion piece would clearly point out the following...

  • george bush has stonewalled all advice and input from other than his most loyal, bubble-protected, ideologically correct colleagues for six and one-half years
  • george bush chose to interpret the 2006 elections as a call for victory in iraq when it was precisely the opposite
  • george bush rejected the conclusions of the iraq study group out of hand immediately after it was issued, preferring instead to escalate the number of troops and exacerbate the violence of an already-violent situation
  • george bush has chosen to ignore the will of the american people to disengage from iraq as expressed in the 2006 elections, national polls, and congressional efforts
  • george bush wanted everyone to believe that the troop increase in iraq was both limited in numbers and in time when, in fact, it was neither
  • all efforts at "bipartisanship" have been rebuffed
  • george bush has consistently labeled the two countries that could potentially be the most helpful in stabilizing iraq, iran and syria, as part of the "axis of evil," has refused to engage in dialog with either, is covertly fostering a regime change strategy in both, and has repeatedly threatened to attack one of them
  • a plan that has the support of everyone (congress, democrats, republicans and the american people) that will be sustainable after the bush administration leaves office not only ignores the fact that formulating such a plan is impossible, but also that "the american people" have clearly said, in multiple forums, that remaining in iraq is not an option
as long as this is the kind of journalism our major media prefer to engage in, the opportunity for the american people to get an accurate picture of events and, as a result, to make the right choices as responsible citizens, is seriously diminished...