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Saturday, April 28, 2007

More on the Sanger NYT piece

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates found himself pressing Mr. Maliki last week to keep Parliament from taking a two-month summer break. If lawmakers remain in Baghdad, said one senior American official who did not want to be identified because he was discussing internal White House deliberations, “we’ll have some outputs then.”

He added, “That’s different from having outcomes,” drawing a distinction between a sign of activity and a sign of success, which could take considerably longer.


There's some more excellent coverage of the above-quoted David Sanger's piece in this morning's New York Times. (I 've already mentioned David Kurtz's must-read piece at the bottom of my analysis below.)

Here are two more excellent analyses:

Lithium Cola, a diarist at dailykos.com, has an excellent breakdown of the GOP talking points leading up to this "goal post moving" leak from the Administration. Needless to say, Republicans have consistently trumpeted the news from post-surge Iraq as rosy and upbeat and used their partisan bludgeon to cudgel critics of the surge simply for pointing out the obvious fact that the surge is NOT working and never was going to work.

(Has anyone pointed out that the President claimed in January that the surge would create "reconciliation" between Sunnis and Shia, and almost immediately Petraeus set out to build an ethnic wall dividing Baghdad?)

The effect, as Lithium Cola ably demonstrates, is to highlight how Republicans will question the patriotism of anyone who dares challenge their account of the facts...up and until they leak the news that "Shucks, things aren't going so well. We need another six months to a year." It's a hypocritical game that has cost them in the polls and at the ballot box. It's time for the media and the Democratic leadership to stop letting them get away with it. It's a truly excellent diary, check it out.

Second, Kevin Drum has a great translation summarizing Sanger's piece:

Translation: Maliki has no authority whatsoever; the Iraqi troops we've been training for the past three years are still useless; there's no political progress in sight; and in the meantime we're stalling for dear life, hoping against hope that something good magically happens. In Republican leadership circles, this is called a "foreign policy." The rest of us have a different name for it.


(This is followed by a round of vituperative comments well worth wading into.)

I am still convinced that David Sanger's piece reflects something powerful: a potential turning point. The New York Times, who deserve (on some backwards level) credit for reporting this stuff at all, couch this news in such terms as to make this course of events seem natural and "just the way things are."

It doesn't have to be this way. The press, the Democratic leadership and every American opposed to this war have to step up to the plate here.

The Bush Amdministration knew this surge was a sham from day one in exactly the same manner that they knew there was no WMD before we invaded Iraq. This is the exact same ploy they used to justify the invasion...repeated, however, in the fifth year of our occupation.

When will our press stop reporting these lies with a lackadaisical shrug and a deceptive headline? Bush and Cheney are simply buying time in Iraq with this hocus pocus...and in the meantime, as has been the case all along, people are dying for their lies.

The upshot of David Sanger's article is simple: Bush is lying to buy himself time and the New York Times, in my view, is helping him do it.

At this point, it is crystal clear: the United States will not leave Iraq until the people of the United States demand that we leave Iraq, until further political pressure is brought to bear. Our votes in the last election were, apparently, not clear enough.

If you haven't watched it already, watch Bill Moyers Buying the War and you will see exactly what I mean. The media politics used to justify surge are an exact re-run of how this Administration's lies are sold wholesale by the press.

Fool me once, shame on me....fool me twice, three times, four times, five times....how many times is it now?

And how much shame?

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