My fellow Americans

In the Wall Street Journal, Historian John Q. Wilson writes the speech he thinks George Bush should deliver on Iraq:

We are winning, and winning decisively, in Iraq and the Middle East. We defeated Saddam Hussein’s army in just a few weeks. None of the disasters that many feared would follow our invasion occurred. Our troops did not have to fight door to door to take Baghdad. The Iraqi oil fields were not set on fire. There was no civil war between the Sunnis and the Shiites. There was no grave humanitarian crisis.

Saddam Hussein was captured and is awaiting trial. His two murderous sons are dead. Most of the leading members of Saddam’s regime have been captured or killed. After our easy military victory, we found ourselves inadequately prepared to defeat the terrorist insurgents, but now we are prevailing.

Iraq has held free elections in which millions of people voted. A new, democratic constitution has been adopted that contains an extensive bill of rights. Discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, or politics is banned. Soon the Iraqis will be electing their first parliament.

An independent judiciary exists, almost all public schools are open, every hospital is functioning, and oil sales have increased sharply. In most parts of the country, people move about freely and safely….

The progress of democracy and reconstruction has occurred faster in Iraq than it did in Germany 60 years ago, even though we have far fewer troops in the Middle East than we had in Germany after Hitler was defeated.

We grieve deeply over every lost American and coalition soldier, but we also recognize what those deaths have accomplished. A nation the size of California, with 25 million inhabitants, has been freed from tyranny, equipped with a new democratic constitution, and provided with a growing new infrastructure that will help every Iraqi and not just the privileged members of a brutal regime….

We made no mistake ending Saddam’s rule. We have brought not only freedom to Iraq, but progress to most of the Middle East. America should be proud of what it has accomplished. America will not cut and run until the Iraqis can manage their own security, and that will happen soon.

I got into lots of blog hot water once when I said that much of Bush’s problem is a PR problem. Yes, that was too glib. But I am still amazed that for all the spinning he does, he’s still bad at it. He should hire Wilson as his speechwriter.

: Meanwhile, Dave Winer points to a speech his father, Leon Winer, says Bush should deliver (both blogging and bluntness are hereditary, one way or the other). It is matter to Wilson’s antimatter:

1. I have put my expected gain ahead of the well-being of the people of the United States. In seeking to maximize my wealth and the wealth of my family and close friends, I have ordered our military to invade Iraq. My objective was to grab half the Iraqi oil – worth $50 billion per year, and rising.

2. In implementing my attempt to grab Iraq’s oil, I have caused the deaths of more than 2000 Americans and uncounted tens of thousands of Iraqis. I have also caused the maiming of thousands of Americans and Iraqis. I have also wasted hundreds of billions of dollars of US Treasury funds in fighting the war in Iraq.

This is why wikitorial was doomed to fail. This is how far apart we are on our interpretations of what is happening in Iraq.

  • Not only are blogging and bluntness hereditary, it appears that foolishness is, too.

  • daudder

    Shorter version: who you gonna believe? me or your lyin’ eyes?

  • Gee no mention of how Bill Clinton and other Democrats were all in agreement about the danger Sadaam was.

    This blog is very one-sided.

  • daudder

    one assumes you have to read the entire wsj article for the standard clinton reference

  • Ravo

    The liberal’s chant“it’s all about oil” is only true in that our presence in Iraq now keeps the billions in Iraqi oil profits from financing the world wide Al Queda terror machine, and ensures those profits now instead fund the Iraqi nation and all the progress that is occurring there.

    How do the Winer’s figure Iraqi oil is being stolen? Do we not pay as much as ever for it, or more?

    The Winer’s “useful idiot” leftist, stinking thinking is ludicrous.

    Al Queda counts on these useful idiot types to help them win the war – something they will not be able to do on the battlefield alone.

    The Winer’s type of treasonous thinking fights their battle for them.

    Frankly, it would seem only right at some point to be reimbursed for the expense it took to free the Iraqi people, (so OUR children won’t be burdened, – now that we’ve freed theirs).

    The 5% of our oil we get from Iraq is not worth what we’ve spent on the cause, … certainly never worth the American blood spilled.

  • Hunter McDaniel

    I find responses like that of Leon Winer deeply troubling, because I’m afraid he really believes the things he is saying and that he reflects the thinking of tens-of-millions of others.

    I don’t know how we are going to sustain the struggle against an implacable foe when we ourselves are so deeply divided among competing realities. Differences of opinion are one thing, but I don’t even know where to start a conversation with Leon Winer.

  • Ravo

    I’m afraid he really believes the things he is saying
    It starts with the press, …distortions repeated often enough, begin to sound true.

    Re: the anti-war crowd
    “These people might as well be card-carrying jihadists.”

  • WJA

    This really points to the significant failure (thus far) of political blogs as a medium. They’re really not “people’s journalism” that Jeff proclaims them as, if by “people” we mean the polity at large and as a whole. In practice, it’s one cross-section of people talking among themselves, and filtering out everyone else. So hawkish bloggers will link to Wilson’s speech, while ignoring all the counter-examples that hurt his optimistic case. And anti-war bloggers will link to Winer’s speech, and allow not a single link that would refute his simplistic assertions. It’s two audiences ignoring each other, to the detriment of both and the larger detriment of all.

    For that reason, the next step in the evolution of blogging must be an active cross-fertilization, bloggers engaging other bloggers across the political spectrum or the spectrum of opinion on a single issue, like the war in Iraq.

  • Yep. Very well written pieces. GWB could have definitely used some good PR these past few years, but it’s way too late for that, methinks.

  • I thought I knew what the Iraqi war was about:
    1. Replace military bases lost in Saudi Arabia
    2. Intimidate middle east neighbor states
    3. Install friendly Iraq regime that will provide oil to the world market (not especially the US) at favorable rates.

    How we have done:
    1. 17 or 19 permanent bases built or under construction in Iraq. When Murtha says withdraw he meant to these and other staging points. – Mission almost accomplished
    2. Syria, Jordan and Lebanon now behaving better than previously. Libya completely cowed. – A work in progess.
    3. Oil production is behind schedule, unstable regime is scaring off foreign investors. – So far objective not achieved.

    What we were not trying to achieve (but used as justifications):
    1. Install democracy
    2. Remove tyrant
    3. Settle factional differences
    4. Eliminate WMD threats

    I’ve now modified my beliefs and think we were not so interested in point 3 (securing a cheap supply of oil) so much as preventing China from getting it sometime in the future. The US economic dominance depends not so much on our sources of supply (which are pretty well established) as keeping potential competitors at a resource disadvantage in the future. The water issue in China is a current example of problems they will face, oil will be another.

  • Well, WJA, I’m quoting both sides here and you’re reading and commenting on both sides here. What echo chamber? What echo chamber? The only echo chamber I hear is all the blathering about one.

  • WJA

    Yes, Jeff, *you’re* quoting both sides– but generally speaking, neither side reads the other. You’re one of the rare bloggers who attracts a politically mixed readership, but that’s mostly because your main focus is on the mainstream media and blogging as an emerging medium. Were you to focus more on politics, especially on your hawkish views that are also highly critical of anti-Bush ideologues, you’d find yourself losing a large part of your current audience and gaining yourself a new readership– i.e., hawks and conservatives. Then you’d be stuck in the feedback loop that most political blogs seem to be in, catering to the beliefs of their readers, showing pronounced discomfort with altering their views, and a reluctance to acknowledge or link to news that “hurts their side”.

    What I’m proposing is that prominent centrist bloggers like you invite “star” bloggers to have an extended conversation over a key topic, i.e. the war in Iraq, with a stipulation that they agree to prominently feature the subsequent conversation on their respective blogs. That way, their audiences are presented the “other side” on neutral territory viewable by everyone. Will anyone’s mind fundamentally change? Probably not, but then, even being forced to acknowledge that reasonable people can disagree on issues like Iraq would be enormously beneficial.

  • Jeff: In order to be good at what you improperly call PR or spin, you have to anticipate what criticism you might get, could get, will get, and respond to it. But to Bush himself and his team, criticism is illegitimate, and responding to it shows weakness. The root problem is not PR skills; it’s the doctrine of White House infallability. Unfit even for popes, it is disastrous for president, as well as anti-democratic in the extreme. But there has been no change in that attitude, even as the approval rating heads south from the 70s to the 30s.

    Remember “mission accomplished?” Not only has there never been an admission that it was a mistake, but Bush attempted to say the White House had nothing to do with that banner, which was false. If you practice the politics of infallability, then you have to deny that there is any reason to defend. It’s not surprising, then, that Bush and company are bad at defending their policies.

  • Ravo

    That way, their audiences are presented the “other side” on neutral territory viewable by everyone.

    Kind of like what the LA Times is taking heat for.

    But yes, “dualing journos” ARE the future.

  • Jay: That sounds good, but the prevalence of Gotcha! journalism makes such a nuanced public conversation impossible, at least when it involves an official government participant. Witness the typical presidential press conference which involves such potentially enlightening leading questions as “Was it a mistake for you to…” and the ever-popular “Will you now apologize to the American people for…” Unfortunately, the rise of the blogs has made this sad situation even worse.

    It’s self-evident in the fact that were Bush to deliver the speech proposed above, the MSM and half the blogosphere would focus on one small part of it, to the near exclusion of all else: “After our easy military victory, we found ourselves inadequately prepared to defeat the terrorist insurgents….” You know they would.

  • Ravo

    I thought I knew what the Iraqi war was about:

    What the war is about is keeping those capable of doing the following from their quest to rule the world.

    Baghdad – The Iraqi army said on Thursday it had seized a number of booby-trapped children’s dolls, accusing insurgents of using the explosive-filled toys to target children.,,2-10-1460_1840119,00.html

  • Brian: You gotta grow up. You are describing conditions that would face any president. Reporters at White House press conferences ask questions that they know presidents don’t want to answer. This was the case before W. and it will be the case after W. That would be obvious but for the victim’s mentality that has overtaken Bush supporters, of which your comment is a prime example. Anyway, all this has little has to do with the doctine of infallability, which has been a disaster for Bush, and ought to be a sore point among his supporters because it has cost the White House a great deal.

  • Hunter McDaniel

    Jay. It is the press, not Bush, who create the expectation that we should have an infallible president – some clone of Harrison Ford, maybe. And I don’t buy the notion that the inability to foresee every twist and turn in the Iraq conflict represents some kind of failure that requires abject apology. I don’t recall Lincoln or FDR (not saying Bush is their equal) publicly flagellating themselves in the midst of a difficult war.

    The reason Bush won’t give John Q. Wilson’s speech is because any particular that doesn’t pan out will be seized on as yet more evidence of his incompetence and duplicity – much as you are still doing with the “Mission Accomplished” speech 60 months after the fact.

    The one thing we agree on is that the current relationship between the president and the press is dysfunctional.

  • daudder

    we all want an infallable president, and complain loudly when then appear as only human. That notwithstanding, when the president himself believes he is infallable, we ALL have a problem.

  • Bryndís

    A couple of other points Leon Winer could have added: as we know that the Iraqis are ever so grateful to the United States we will make sure that during the next election that they will be allowed to vote on:

    1) whether the United States military should leave or remain

    2) whether they(Iraqis) think that the invasion of Iraq by the United States was beneficial to the country.

  • Eileen


    Do you think if there was a gathering of even 5 Iraqis – in a country of 25 million – who demonstrated for us to leave (like Cindy’s gang of 12) the U.S. media would cover it?

    Remember, they’re allowed to march and demonstrate now.

  • its just idiotic to pretend the war is going well and you are achieving things. The infratsructure comment is a lie, nothing more nothing less. We are discovering ethnic TORTURE chambers in Iraq.

    Pathetic Jarvis. Grow up and admit you were just plain dumb for believing war brings peace and democracy. Stick to commenting on journalism where at least you make some sense,

  • I don’t think Americans will truly understand the value of Operation Petri Dish until Pajamas Media eradicates the MSM and starts telling the citizenry the truth.

  • Ravo

    Yes Jeremy, but the killing fields with hundreds of thousands in mass graves are a thing of the past.

    Millions of liberated Iraqis stood in endless lines to cast their vote in the last elections, “doing so in the face of Abu Musab al Zarqawi’s threat of death”.

    Iraqi’s can now voice an opinion without having to die for it.

    And this FACT means less than what you read in the MSM propaganda machine?

    Since you feel qualified to judge the President’s decisions based on what you read in there, you must think they are more complete than the briefings and knowledge fed to the President daily from the various intelligence monitoring agencies. Guess we could save a lot of taxpayer money by getting rid of all these agencies and just believe what the MSM chooses to tell us.

    What could soldiers coming home from Iraq ever know compared to MSM?

    Here’s an actual excerpt from an email sent by one of our hometown soldiers returning from Iraq. Does the “appreciated feeling” the soldier has sound like anything you’d read about in the MSM?

    “I made friendships like I could never have imagined. On the last night our team was at the palace, the Iraqi’s gave us a farewell dinner with gifts. I’ve never had such a more rewarding feeling in my life as we said good bye to each other. The Iraqi’s treated us so nice that it’s hard to imagine that there was such much violence going on in their country.”

    But, hey, you MSM readers, “useful idiots” that you are, know so much more about it.

  • Jeff, I disagree. Even for friends of the President’s policy, I find Wilson’s public relations advice is flawed.

    He spends six paragraphs rehashing yesterday’s arguments and only half a paragraph on the important debate: “America will not cut and run until the Iraqis can manage their own security, and that will happen soon.”

    Here is my problem with Wilson’s suggestion: everyone agrees–supporters and opponents, both, of George Bush’s Iraq policy–that the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq in desirable and inevitable, everyone. The only debate is on timing and conditions. Wilson says it will happen soon. But how soon?

    Here we see the irony and seeming intractibility of this debate. Supporters of invasion and occupation, such as Wilson, by emphasizing the successes of Bush’s policy, make the conditions for withdrawal seem tantalizingly close. Yet they still refer to withdrawal as dishonorable–“cut and run”–rather than a vindication.

    Opponents of invasion and occupation seem so intent on discounting those successes that they make it more difficult to achieve the aim they, presumably, seek, since for them Iraq is a quagmire not an achievement.

    One would think that the policy prescriptions of the troops-out crowd would carry more weight if they conceded the claims of Wilson and his ilk. Why do they not just stipulate that there is no civil war, nor a humanitarian crisis, that elections have been and will be held, a constitution written and ratified, a judiciary formed, and that education and healthcare and the energy sector are functioning? Would that not insulate their advice from the cut-and-run accusation?

    Please, Wilson, suggest a six-paragraph speech that concentrates on the future not on the past, that distinguishes between cutting-and-running and withdrawing with dignity, that uses those achievements you cite as a rationale for a future pullout rather than for a past invasion.

    Prepare a Presidential speech, instead, that promises timely fulfilment of that desirable and inevitable goal, an end to the US military presence in Iraq.

  • Andy Freeman

    First things first, Germany, Japan, Korea, Bosnia, etc. (You do remember Bosnia, Clinton’s folly.)

  • Heather says: I don’t buy the notion that the inability to foresee every twist and turn in the Iraq conflict represents some kind of failure that requires abject apology. I don’t recall Lincoln or FDR (not saying Bush is their equal) publicly flagellating themselves in the midst of a difficult war.

    I find this way of arguing really really weird– common enough these days but weird nonetheless.

    I had said the White House doctrine of infallability was extreme and counter-productive, and Bush supporters should be sore about it because it hasn’t worked. It’s hurt him, and is partly responsible for Bush’s surging unpopularity and a finding like the recent Harris poll showing that 64 percent of Americans believe the White House “generally misleads the American public on current issues to achieve its own ends.”

    To give up infallability isn’t an extreme course of action. It would mean returning to the recognizable world of human affairs (since only gods are infallible), to common sense, and to the genius of political flexibility. It means once in a while you say publicly that you might have reacted better, or spoke imprecisely, or shouldn’t have been so optimistic.

    But how does Heather interpret it? To give up infallability means you have “foresee every twist and turn in the Iraq conflict.” (Huh?) To give up infallability means “abject apology” when you cannot discern the future like a god. (What the hell?) To give up infallability is to start “publicly flagellating” yourself. (Where did that come from?)

    It’s like the only alternative to one bizarre extreme is another bizarre extreme. Where did you learn to think this way, Heather? Do you actually mean it, or is it some strategy you think you should adopt in comment threads? Does anyone know where this syndrome comes from?

    To me it’s just plain weird….

  • Hunter McDaniel

    Let me try it a different way. Bush believes that he is right, not that he is infallible. What makes you think the latter? I’m sure there are many decisions he might want a mulligan for, but so what? He looks forward, not back. Just because a decision doesn’t turn out exacly as one hopes doesn’t mean it was the WRONG decision.

    While there has long been an adversarial relationship between the press and the president, the nature and tone of questioning today has become truly poisonous.

  • Ravo

    “64 percent of Americans believe the White House “generally misleads the American public on current issues to achieve its own ends.”

    After the MSM leads the public that way almost daily, the miracle is that it isn’t 100%.

    Hunter nails it.

    Bush believes that he is right, not that he is infallible.
    He looks forward, not back.

    We are at war. War requires strength. Nothing is gained and much is lost by broadcasting weakness or fallibility at such a time to either of our enemies – the MSM or Al Queda.

    There will be time for that – when it’s over. History provides complete hindsight. Bush is confident that such History will judge him kindly. So am I.

  • What makes me think otherwise?

    We live in different universes, Heather.

  • WJA: I believe this this post by Austin Bay is an example of what you are recommending to Jeff here. But you tell me.

  • greeneyeshade

    Maybe it’s off topic, or just that I’ve spent too long on the copy desk, but nobody else here _ or on the original site _ seems to have pointed out that it’s James, not John, Q. Wilson.

  • jeb

    Oh yeah, we’re doing great….
    “Former Iraq Leader Tells Paper Abuse There as Bad as in Saddam’s Day
    By E&P Staff
    Published: November 26, 2005 10:15 PM ET
    NEW YORK Abuse of human rights in Iraq is as bad now as it was under Saddam Hussein, if not worse, former prime minister Iyad Allawi said in an interview published on Sunday in the British paper The Observer. “People are doing the same as (in) Saddam Hussein’s time and worse. It is an appropriate comparison,” Allawi said… “

  • Also, he’s not an historian. Political scientist.

  • monkeyboy

    So a former Iraqi leader says that things are as bad as they were under Saddam? What a surprise,m I’me sure that Nathan B Forrest thought life after his defeat was worse than before.
    Read “Roll me over in the Clover” A WWII vet named Ganter talks about how all the blond aryans he met in Germany complained about how much better it was under the Nazis.

  • Jay Rosen: “… the White House doctrine of infallability was extreme and counter-productive …”

    Yep, so is the Democrats’ doctrine, shared by their supporters and the self-proclaimed “reality-based” community, of apocalyptic doom, abject failure and wild conspiracies – resulting in even lower poll numbers and greater public mistrust.

    Interestingly, during the 5 year clash of doctrines since the 2000 election, the Republicans re-elected the President and control of Congress while the Democrats have lost political standing.

    Wierd, huh?

  • Robert

    The other description for John Q. Wilson’s ‘ interpretation’ is ‘sheer pack of lies’.

    The US and UK are so desperate to get out of Iraq that they are handing over control to local militias, most of whom are extreme Islamists. We have created a terrioble situation over there.

    The fact that comments such as those from John Q. Wilson are still being taken at all seriously in America, just shows how biased and one-sided the media is there.

  • If you read my entire post, you would find that my presentation was satirical and that I assign blame to the MSM, the Democratic Party and especially, the gullible voters who believed Bush’s ourageous lies and voted for him.

    In any event that’s all in the past. What we have now is a hopeless situation in Iraq and a throughly disillusioned American public. What do the right wing nuts offer now?

  • Hunter McDaniel

    Leon, we “right wing nuts” offer you a suggestion that the situation in Iraq is not hopeless and the best course of action is to see things through regardless of whether it was wise to invade Iraq in the first place. Withdrawing now would simply guarantee the worst possible outcome, both for us and the Iraqis – you don’t really want that, do you?

  • Hunter (not Heather)–

    No offense intended, but your comment is a case in point of the sterility of much of the Iraq War debate.

    You state the choice as “to see things through” versus “withdrawing now.”

    What does this mean? Is no one allowed to advocate withdrawal not now, for example, but in 18 months? What “things” are we supposed to see through? What is the criterion for establishing when they have been successfully seen through? With what troop levels should we “see” them through–200K, 100K, 10K? At what high troop levels do US forces start making matters worse, inflaming the resistance with the heavy hand of occupation? At low troop levels do US forces start making matters worse by demoralizing the forces of communal comity and secular democracy?

    There are countless questions to be asked about Iraq policy, all of which are dodged by your content-free formula of “seeing things through.”

  • Hunter McDaniel

    There are a whole range of possible outcomes in Iraq, from (a) all of Iraq resembles Kurdistan to (b) all of Iraq resembles Afghanistan before 9/11. All of the questions you ask are reasonable ones, and I’m sure that they get a lot of discussion both in the Pentagon and the White House. But I’m very concerned that the primary focus of PUBLIC discussion (driven by the MSM and the Dems) is more on “how do we end this thing” than “how do we win this thing”. And I think that choice, of which questions to focus on, is very destructive to our chances of winning this thing.

    The fundamental problem is that we are losing the minimum level of trust between the major parties which is necessary for a functioning democracy. The analogy I would use is this. Imagine a couple on the brink of divorce, the wife is driving, and they suddenly find themselves in a blizzard. There’s nowhere to stop, so they have to keep going. Suddenly they hit a patch of ice, and the husband starts screaming commands at his wife. That’s what things feel like right now.

  • Hunter–

    Point taken. I look at the question less confrontationally than you. I believe that “ending this thing” and “winning this thing” are just two ways of describing the same phenomenon, an honorable end to the US military occupation of Iraq. That is why I find rhetoric of “quagmire” and “cut and run” counterproductive–both are designed to make such common ground unreachable.

    My quibble with your argument is this: in a democracy it is inappropriate that there should be a realistic private discussion at the Pentagon and in the White House and a “public” discussion where such realism is discouraged as “destructive.” If these “reasonable” questions are good enough for our leaders to discuss, they are good enough for everyone.

  • Hunter McDaniel

    I have no problem with realistic discussions both public and private. But I think the enemy draws a message from how time they see us spend to discussing “how much longer is this going to take” versus the amount of time they see use discussing “how to beat the shit out of Al Qaeda”. I believe the MSM has made a choice (the wrong one) on how to spend their time and ink, and I fault them for that.

  • sbw

    Fixations are fixations. Dave’s father is fixated on oil no matter that none of the oil is under our control. Jay Rosen is fixated that Bush won’t admit he’s wrong when, whether or not he does, the other side offers no alternative with any rational plan.

    In their shrillness they don’t see that rants are pointless and do not move the discussion forward. Ah. but it is pointless for me to point it out. Sigh. And yet I try.

  • owl

    Jay Rosen says… “Brian: You gotta grow up. You are describing conditions that would face any president. Reporters at White House press conferences ask questions that they know presidents don’t want to answer. This was the case before W. and it will be the case after W. That would be obvious but for the victim’s mentality that has overtaken Bush supporters, of which your comment is a prime example”

    I assume you believe that statement.

    No, these conditions would not face any president. Even after shaking his finger, Clinton was never treated with the disrepect shown by this WH press. Never. Ever. His spokesman was never treated with total disrespect. Never. We even see people screaming at Scott McC. The press is out of control and their behavior is unacceptable.

    You think we have adopted the “victim’s mentality” and I believe you are either blind, deaf, or bias. I refuse the ‘victim’ label as I don’t think I qualify. I consider it facing facts. Fact: Probably 80% of the MSM (or press) vote Democrat. Now I can ignore that fact, or I can understand the deck is stacked. Out of every ten articles I read, at least eight will be either attacking Bush directly or something that can be tied back to Bush.

    Has it always been this way? Yes, but never to this extent. Think of the MSM (your press) coming out of the closet, rather like France. The WH press now screams. Ex-presidents now trash current occupant, even on foreign shores. Senators have become so simple-minded that they can be ‘mislead’.

    Yes this WH does horrible PR. I would have fired them all. They are still playing under old rules that do not apply since the ‘coming out’.

    That is also Bush’s problem. Not that he will not admit mistakes, but he is still Mr Nice Guy. Every error I have seen on his part gets traced back to this. Kerry thumps his chest and declares himself a hero, Bush when asked said yes he is a hero but never mentions even ONE time that a coward would not have been flying fighter jets. LA Blanco sits an hour and a half up the road on top of enough buses to bring her people out of NO. She sits on them, keeps the water out and won’t sign while the MSM is having a fine time, but Bush never pointed his finger at Blanco. It happens over and over with Mr Nice Guy. His PR team should have learned to overcome this flaw in their boss.

    If you are going to fight international organizations, terrorists, a couple of wars, the Democrats and the MSM, you need an effective PR team. I admit it. Bush’s PR stinks.

  • God Save America

    We have all seen the “God Bless America” stickers on cars.

    It’s time for a change.

    The prayer we should be sending up should be a sincere request to save us from the ever present incompetency of the Bush/Cheney Administration.

    Yesterday’s NYTimes, on page A8 carries a story entitled “U.S. Lacks Plan to Curb Terror Funds, Agency Says.” Here are the first two paragraphs:

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 – The government’s efforts to help foreign nations cut off the supply of money to terrorists, a critical goal for the Bush administration, have been stymied by infighting among American agencies, leadership problems and insufficient financing, a new Congressional report says.

    More than four years after the Sept. 11 attacks, “the U.S. government lacks an integrated strategy” to train foreign countries and provide them with technical assistance to shore up their financial and law enforcement systems against terrorist financing, according to the report prepared by the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress.

    On page A27 in the same issue of the NYTimes, we see an op-ed piece entitled, “Think Inside the Box.” The first paragraph follows.

    THIS week President Bush will seek to focus the nation’s attention on border security and immigration reform. But the president’s proposals won’t protect Americans from our gravest cross-border threat: the possibility that a ship, truck or train will one day import a 40-foot cargo container in which terrorists have hidden a dirty bomb or nuclear weapon.

    God Save America.

  • sbw

    My compliments to Dave Winer. To still have a father actively engaged as yours is should give you a warm feeling.

    My compliments to Leon Winer. To have a son who has done so much to develop community should give you a warm feeling.

  • New York Daily News:

    Even as his poll numbers tank, however, Bush is described by aides as still determined to stay the course. He resists advice from Republicans who fear disaster in next year’s congressional elections, and rejects criticism from a media establishment he disdains.

    “The President has always been willing to make changes,” the senior aide said, “but not because someone in this town tells him to – NEVER!”

    For the moment, Bush has dismissed discreetly offered advice from friends and loyalists to fire Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and bring back longtime confidant Karen Hughes from the State Department to shore up his personal White House staff.

    “He thinks that would be an admission he’s screwed up, and he can’t bring himself to do that,” a former senior staffer lamented.

    So aides have circled the wagons as Bush’s woes mount, partly hoping they can sell the President on a December blitz of media interviews to help turn the tide.

  • Los Angeles Times:

    As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.

    The articles, written by U.S. military “information operations” troops, are translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defense contractor, according to U.S. military officials and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

    Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists. The stories trumpet the work of U.S. and Iraqi troops, denounce insurgents and tout U.S.-led efforts to rebuild the country.

    Though the articles are basically factual, they present only one side of events and omit information that might reflect poorly on the U.S. or Iraqi governments, officials said. Records and interviews indicate that the U.S. has paid Iraqi newspapers to run dozens of such articles, with headlines such as “Iraqis Insist on Living Despite Terrorism,” since the effort began this year.

  • sbw

    Little benefit comes from comments that convey the tone, “The scope of what is wrong is what I point out, and nothing more.”

  • Jay, I’m trying to decide which is worse:

    a) finishing the work of terrorists for free (or at least on behalf of advertisers)


    b) taking money from the government/military to run factual, albeit one sided, propaganda?


  • It’s all Over but the Pullback

    According to Jonathan Rauch, it’s all over in Iraq. The withdrawal of American troops has been scheduled to begin next year.

    This will neutralize Democrats and the Republicans will keep their control of Congress.

    See: Rauch

    Libs have been asking to have the troops brought home for some time. For this, they were labeled bed-wetters by the right wing nuts.

    If Bush brings the troops home, will the right wing nuts call Bush a bed-wetter?

  • Leon,

    Initially, the Bush administration wanted to draw down to 30,000 troops in Iraq months after deposing Saddam. His critics argued that more troops than what was already there were needed and accused him of “cut and run”.

    The military argued successfully against both to balance footprint with security.

    Then the partisans switched sides, which happens a lot.

    The partisan debate about withdrawing troops is about influencing the perception of reality, not about understanding it.

  • Leon Winer

    Let’s hear from the right wing nuts now.

    Are you satisfied?

    Bush has stayed the course for another year and Iraq is in civil war.

    How many more Americans have to die or be maimed for life before you say: “Enough!”