Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A few quotes. First from Dubya's press conference today, his new favorite line:

We're not succeeding nearly as fast as I wanted.

But, a bit later on, he tried to qualify that.

Most of the deaths, most of the violence, is within a 30-mile radius of Baghdad, as well as in Anbar province.

So, it's not like there's mayhem everywhere. We don't see huge death tolls in the middle of the empty desert. There's only trouble where the people are.

While this press conference was going on, WBUR was doing a show in which they asked soldiers what they thought of the war. One of the guests was Jeff Englehart, a specialist from the First Infantry Division, who heard Dubya's plaint that he was "not succeeding as fast as I wanted", and had this response (at about 27 minutes into the audio stream):

I think Bush has been known for empty rhetoric and he hasn't produced anything. When I was sent there with my fellow soldiers, when we went with the first ID, we were sent in with plastic doors and windows you could break with a rock and it was very obvious from even on the Kuwaiti side, when we were going into Iraq, that this war was horribly planned out.

And just to see that last month was, especially, one of the bloodiest months of the war --- I just don't see any progress being made. It's time for this administration to be held accountable for the failures that they've been known to make. And we as a people need to start holding them accountable, and stop listening to a lot of this Orwellian Doublespeak.

Well, we have one of the troops here saying that there's a choice --- you can support the troops, or support the policy, but you can't do both. Personally, I support the troops.

Atrios observes:

There's a permanent class in Washington, various orbits of power centers, who really believe they run the town and by extension the country. Politicians come and go, but the permanent ruling class is always there. Its members shift a bit over time, and there are those higher up in the perceived power structure than others, but the class remains. It's what Broder meant when he said of Clinton, "it's not his place." They set the rules, define the parameters of debate and acceptable conduct, and every now and then step in and Make a Decision which they assume Will Be Listened To. Once the Wise Old Men finally got around to realizing that Iraq was a disaster, they assumed They Would Be Heeded, especially if they did it in a nice way which didn't blame anybody for anything and let Bush off the hook.

Which explains all the news stories you saw and continue to see about the lack of "support" for a withdrawal long after polls showed the public favored it. They aren't talking about the lack of support for withdrawal among the general public. They are talking about the lack of support for it among the jejune old farts of D.C.'s aristocracy. In our soi-disant democracy, it does matter what the people think --- but only the right people.

Monday, December 18, 2006

So, it seems that there are still people who blame the American press for the general impression people have that things aren't going so well in Iraq. The problem must be very severe. That press had members of the Baker/Hamilton Iraq Study Group so scared that in three days in Baghdad, only one of them set foot outside the Green Zone.
Ah, Donald Trump.

A few years ago, Fox broadcast a parody of Trump's "job interview" show, The Apprentice. By the time "My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss" was cancelled, it seemed like a mercy killing --- these guys had contracted for ten hours of TV with about enough ideas for a few good Saturday Night Live skits. But they were really good skits --- the premiere (which, for all I know, is on YouTube someplace) was devastating, right up to the end, in which the losing team was forced to camp out in a vacant lot.

Fast-forward to this winter's edition of the show, in which then losing team will be camping out in tents. Trump is not just descending into self-parody --- he's descending into Fox's parody of himself.