Thursday, December 01, 2005

Spinning Iraq: The Orwellian scope of Bush's self-justifying self-delusion

There's been a lot of coverage in the blogosphere of Bush's speech yesterday at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and on the unclassified White House document called the "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" (which sounds vaguely Orwellian, doesn't it?) -- thanks to Steve Clemons of The Washington Note for the pdf of the document. Give it a read, but watch your blood pressure. If you have any idea what's really going on in Iraq, it'll arouse your ire and disgust at how this president has botched the entire war.

For MSM coverage of the speech, see the Post.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid: "After nearly 1,000 days of war in Iraq, our troops, their families and the American people deserve more than just a Bush-Cheney public relations campaign. They deserve a clear strategy with military, economic and political measures to be met in order to successfully complete our mission."

They may deserve it, but Bush didn't give it to them. And they should be outraged.


I may yet do a thorough round-up of reaction to the speech/document once the dust settles, but here are some of the best responses from some of the best bloggers:

Steve Soto at The Left Coaster: "This was just another 'Karl, get them off my back' maneuver by Bush and Rove, masquerading as a serious policy announcement. To be fair to Bush, there was no chance that he was going to break new, noticeable ground today, since changing course isn’t really in his DNA. But the real question will be to see how this thumb-in-the-eye to McCain, Warner, and Lindsey Graham will go down in Congress."

Steve Benen at The Carpetbagger Report: "[I]f you're looking for an indication that the war policy is back on track, you're likely to be disappointed. The 45-minute, 5,000-word speech can be summarized in one simple sentence: Bush thinks his Iraq policy is working. You could almost hear him prodding us along — we're on the right track, really, trust me, it's true, take my word for it, disregard everything else you've heard... In this sense, today's speech wasn't so much a new approach as it was new packaging. Bush said in slightly different words what he's said repeatedly for nearly three years — 'I know what I'm doing.'"

Does that fill you with confidence? Didn't think so.

Matthew Yglesias at TAPPED addresses a gaping hole in the NSVI: "Now the way a normal planning document would work is that after having identified some challenges, you would explain the plan for meeting them. But the 'detailed' section on the political track just ends right there and the discussion moves on to other things. Alleged signs of progress are noted in great detail, which is useful for propaganda purposes, but doesn't constitute a strategy. Then some problems are flagged. And then... nothing. Right where the strategy is called for, it goes blank."

That's because there's nothing there. No strategy. None whatsoever.

Maha of The Mahablog live-blogged Bush's speech. Good stuff.

Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend calls the speech "a pageant of delusion" and the NSVI "a mind-numbing affair of spin and blather" -- the best descriptions I've heard or read so far.

Think Progress deconstructs the NSVI: "After two-and-a-half years and 2,110 U.S. troop fatalities, the Bush administration released what it calls a 'National Strategy for Victory in Iraq' (NSVI). The problem is, it's not a new strategy for success in Iraq; it's a public relations document. The strategy describes what has transpired in Iraq to date as a resounding success and stubbornly refuses to establish any standards for accountability. It dismisses serious problems such as the dramatic increase in bombings as 'metrics that the terrorists and insurgents want the world to use.' Americans understand it's time for a new course in Iraq. Unfortunately, this document is little more than an extended justification for a President 'determined to stay his course.'"

See also Bradford Plumer, Body and Soul, The Heretik, and The Glittering Eye.

For more coverage, see Memeorandum.


Okay, that's a pretty good round-up for now. Keep checking back for updates.

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