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Vacuity By A Piano Wire
t this point in any Administration, inevitably thoughts begin to turn to the legacy. That Bush would make a little noticed speech at West Point last week comparing his Administration to Truman suggests legacy is indeed on his mind. Doubtless Bush likes to think containment, formation of NATO, the Berlin Airlift and the Korean War are akin to his incompetent war of aggression in Iraq, fiscal irresponsibility, and malignant authoritarianism at home. At 29%, one can forgive that drowning man clutching for a straw.
Iraq can fairly well be said to be “lost” in the American mindset — Haditha is likely merely a postscript. As of May 2006, insurgent episodes in Iraq climbed towards 630 a week - an all time high. Basra has fallen into chaos. Apologist Tom Friedman has finally acknowledged that Iraq is heading towards “anarchy”. Anbar requires an infusion of yet more troops. The Administration's canard of claiming yet another election in Iraq having an appreciable impact has been revealed even for the Kool Aid set. Since the elections of January 2006, the Iraqis can not select a Minister of Defense.
Haditha is a tragedy for the victims and the Marine Corps. Unlike My Lai which was symptomatic of a disintegrating Army and the massive racial and cultural ecumenae divide, Haditha is not emblematic of the military. Despite efforts by Buchanan and Tony Blankley to fabricate a “stab in the back” strawman over Haditha, the American media and even Left blogs are almost uniformly pro-troops and sympathetic to the burdens placed on them. There is no “Mainstream media” effort to disparage the troops. Should the allegations be true, those guilty should be punished. As with those in the cover up.
And yet, Miss Foreign Affairs continues to blather the talking points on Iraq. Bromides, verbal diarreaha and vacuity, today on Face the Nation
f even “we'll know in the next six months” Friedman is abandoning ship, things are indeed grim for this AgitProp regime. Yet note Condi's facile repetititon of the talking points. More hollow rhetoric from such an unrelentingly mediocre mind. Self parody without even realizing it, with frequent use of “clearly” and “obviously”.
The new elections turned the corner.
The new strong man will assert control.
The Iraqi security forces are taking the lead.
We need more time.
Yet still the Condi Fan Club, fresh from rapturous adoration for Madonna's latest tour/caclulated outrage, ignores Condi's essential banality. The Condi Fan Club now performs summersaults over Condi's “breakthrough” with Iran. But as the NYTimes reports, Rice's triumph is a bid to recover from a “disasterous” meeting in Europe. There, Europe, Russia and China made it clear that the U.S. was alone and without support for its maladtroit intansigience over Iran. Her much vaunted breakthrough, thus is a scramble to block an Iranian diplmatic rout. And rooted, as noted in a post below, in fundamdental U.S. geostrategic weakness. Other than Wilhelmine Germany, has a Great Power ever played its hand so recklessly and poorly? And for the Condi Cheerleaders, since when is having a policy collapse at the hands of an admitted delusional firebrand in Tehran and then forced to scramble to recover amount to a “triumph”? The Condi Cheerleaders can't even point to a victory over Cheney or Rumsfeld — neither sought to block this move nor seek an alternative policy.
Perhaps, if Cher Condi simply repeats the AgitProp long enough, she believes she can avoid the fate below. Yet the verdict of history is remorseless. And is indifferent to Ferragamo shoes.
Clearly, you have misinterpreted Tom “six months” Friedman's optimistic refrain: “we''ll know in the next six months.” Obviously Friedman is just trying to be encouraging, to be supportive, to be optimistic. Tom Friedman often makes people smile - that is why he is the most successfull columnist since Richard Harding Davis.
Anon saw Buchanan and Blankley on McLaughlin - Both of them, in true pundit form, seemed to care far less about the specific alleged event, which you correctly noted is not emblematic, but about how may play out politically. Pat seems to think the Corp is not a Corp, but like a bunch of guys who play for a “our gang” stickball team getting in scraps with some neighborhood rivals, that gets out of hand until Spencer Tracy cracks the whip. Blankely, like some others on the right, can't seem to help themselves - they insist on trying to 'contextualize' this by smearing the memories of American soldiers in past wars. What is up with that? By doing a poor job of defending the military, the right just seems to be trying to provoke a liberal response - an old Nixonian way to divide. The vast majority of soldiers, Marines, sailors, or airmen are incredibly idealistic, selfless, and patriotic. Even war critics know that - but Blankly (who is probably a good person) seems to wish that were not so.
Let me clarify - Anon did not mean to suggest that Blankley wished anything bad for American military personel - Rather, just meant to suggest the Blankely and others sometimes seem to be disappointed that there is no authentic anti-soldier 'left' for them to rail against with any sincerity. The fact that military is respected by all but the most radical fraction of a fraction of the 'left,' seems to be a fact that annoys them, instead of please them. Maybe that's wrong - but it just seems that way.
Anon has a question - You refer to Rice's “medicore mind.” Politically that accusation is answered by pointing to her very impressive credentials. This defense works - but it raises questions too. Sometimes Rice does seem unimpressive and less than candid (read her testimony to the 9-11 commission) Yet - she is impressive in many ways. This is a recurring puzzle in Bushland - Bush seems so dense, but everyone that knows him say otherwise. Scott McClellan seemed so akward giving press conferences - he seemed out of balance, etc. Yet - McClellan somehow made the varsity tennis team at UT - the very sport that requiers agility and nimbleness. You see how odd this is?
Credentialism is the last refuge of the unduly credulous, Anon. One merely has to look at the substance of her accomplishments. Her expertise was reportedly Soviet military doctrine, yet her achievements there are almost non-existent. The book on Germany was largely written by Phil Zelikow (now her hatchet man at Foggy Bottom). She is as synthetic and packaged as Ashley Simpson, without the dimples. A good friend of the Stiftung worked closely with 43 for about a year when “he was between opportunities” after his commitment to sobriety. He is not totally dim, according the Stiftung's friend. But he is not more, either. We won't sully a Monday morning thinking about McClellan . . .
Understand what you say about credientialism - but the only reason Anon brought that weak reed into play is the vastness of the chasm between what seems to be and what the bios would suggest. It's odd, stunning. If someone is a ranked chess player that still may be regarded as poor players among serious competive chess champions - But just because they are ranked means they in the top one percent of one percent of chess players - and are elite is some respect. If someone makes the varisty tennis team at a huge school like UT - they are well within the top one percent athletically - No matter how much practice or luck you factor in, natural talent well above the average American is required to make the team. Sorry to bring SM back into it - but he just illustrates the point - while his job was press secretary — it was his comically robotic style that was so at odds with the apparent fact of his being a natural athlete - as noted by his coaches in an extremely competitive sport. That does not mean he could be a pro - just that he is better than more than 99 percent. That's just a puzzle - but it's symbolic of many people in the administration - Anon read that Rice wrote a book about one of the former WARSAW bloc militaries and that the book was not well done - when reviewed by someone who was familiar with the subject- Yet, because it was written about something foreign, it was classified in the minds of the Russertian press to be an intellectual masterwork. Anon sees this BS - and concurs with your point, but Anon just wanted to observe how vast the gap between creds and apparent reality being vast.
Bush admin. officials have not been really held to account for things like Katrina meltddown. Would this have been the case in a country like Japan?