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November 20, 2005 - Who's Listening?

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You have to be a real political junkie to listen, each Saturday morning, to the president's weekly radio address, and even more of one to list to the weekly response form whatever Democrat draws the short straw. News radio, out here in Los Angeles, is dead on Saturday. One all news station (KNX) drops the two addresses somewhere in the four-hour call-in food show, between recipes. The headline news station (KFWB) may give a one-sentence summary, and that's a short sentence. The progressive station (KTLK) runs infomercials for miracle cures, and gets to its regular programming later in the day. The many right-wing talk stations prefer their own rants. No one listens. Why either the White House or the opposition bothers at all is a question.

There are a lot of people dying in Iraq - bombs taking out ninety or a hundred Shiite folks Friday, and thirty or forty more Saturday. And Saturday we lost five more of our people. This is not going well. It'd be nice to know what each side says about this, in a concise weekly summary.

Well, someone listens. Apparently, the Saturday address from the president was a compressed version of the speech he gave the day before to our troops in Korea, where he happened to be at the time. The text is here - stay the course, we'll stand down when the Iraqis stand up, we will fight until we win. We will not "cut and run" as suggested by that nice but deluded old congressman from Pennsylvania.

We'll win this.

Josh Marshall here


The real problem though - and this becomes clear listening to the president, and increasingly from his supporters - is that the president no longer has any coherent idea of what the war he's fighting amounts to or what victory would look like.

He says we'll fight it out to victory or that "as Iraqis stand up, we will stand down." But it's been a really long time since I've heard any coherent plan for what we're trying to do besides slogans like this.

If we're honest I think what the president is saying is this: We're going to stay in Iraq until the place calms down and we can leave with a sense that we've accomplished something.

Isn't that basically the idea?

We're not going to leave as long as the place is a slaughterhouse and a total mess because leaving then will look like we couldn't accomplish what we wanted to accomplish and got run out and thus, in whatever sense, got beat.

I think perceptions of national power and 'credibility' actually mean something. But a sensible fear of losing either was a good reason not to get into this situation in the first place.

And I don't see where, at the moment, we have any real or coherent strategy for calming the place down - either a military strategy or a political one….

So at the moment, there's not even a reasoned fight between staying in and getting out. Getting out is the only coherent strategy or approach on the table. That doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. But it is clear and definable. On the other hand, there is the president, who hasn't put forward any concrete description of what our goals are or any coherent (let alone, a good plan) plan for accomplishing them. Under President Bush's leadership, in Iraq, we've become the national embodiment of the eternal Mr. Micawber, always waiting "for something to turn up."


Armando over at Daily Kos here


What pretty words from a perfect fool.

First, he believes a Constitution overwhelmingly disapproved by the Sunni, the very group fueling the Iraqi insurgency, is the solution to the political problems in Iraq. If he truly believes this, what more can one say? There can be no hope until there is true sober judgment, not this nonsense offered by Bush.

Second, is he still clinging to this ridiculous idea that the United States is NOT the focus of hatred in the Arab world? Does he believe that he is democratizing the Middle East? Delusion. Sheer delusion. Again, this is simply not the view of a man who has a freaking clue.

… Does Bush even know what is going on? Who can have any confidence in this Administration on Iraq? It becomes virtually impossible to even discuss the relative merits of alternate strategies when the Bush Administration is involved.

This is the worst President and worst Administration in the history of the nation. The situation would be near impossible to manage for the best of Presidents and Administrations. When we are governed by the worst, it is little wonder that folks like John Murtha advocate withdrawal as soon as is practicable.


So these two listened. Maybe it was best to sleep in, then run errands. The divide is deep. Nothing is changing.



Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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