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Tilting at Windmills

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September 2, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE MEDIA AND THE SURGE....Gen. Petraeus may be pretty good at handling the media, but even the best media handler can only get results if the media plays along. So how has the media done? Greg Sargent takes a look at that side of the story today and he's not impressed.

Kevin Drum 2:27 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (50)

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Do you mean to tell me that the corporate press/media, which have been promoting the invasion and occupation of Iraq from Day One, and propping up the notion that Bush is a great leader, are now promoting the credibility and validity of General Petraeus's report of "progress" in Iraq?

Color me amazed.

Look, the corporate press/media, along with the Democratic "leadership," have already determined that any criticism of The Surge will be characterized as surrender and a betrayal of Our Brave Troops. What else did anyone expect them to do? Tell the truth? Why would they ever do that?

Posted by: James E. Powell on September 2, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

The media have also given tremendous coverage to one poll, the Zogby poll in mid-August, that showed that 54 percent of Americans "don't think the war is lost yet". But this was a new question, and a weird one. On the questions that have been asked about Iraq for years now, there has been no movement at all towards a more positive view of the war over the summer. Americans hate the war, and want to get out. Yet the media are all saying Americans are getting more optimistic. This is a load of crap. Reporters have decided to get more optimistic, mostly because they've been rolled like suckers by a strong classic GOP PR offensive.

Here's the data on how Americans actually feel about the war. The latest national poll was the Aug 17-20 Gallup poll. UPI gives it a rare objective gloss:

Some 30.2 percent still strongly supported the war with 12.4 percent saying they somewhat supported it. These figures gave Bush a combined support base of 42.6 percent.

The figures opposing the war were considerably higher, but it was the intensity of the opposition rather than the numbers of those opposed that will be disquieting to Republican Party political strategists.

Only 6.5 percent of respondents "somewhat" opposed the continuation of the war, but a whopping 50.0 percent "strongly" opposed it.

Some 50 percent in opposition is the strongest such figure in opposition to any war the United States has fought since the grimmest period of the Vietnam War. But it is the intense commitment of a full half of the electorate to oppose the war that is the more significant figure. It is much larger than the regular Democratic support base in almost every presidential election over the past 30 years.

Then there was a poll last week by a GOP pollster, Strategic Vision:

Sixty-five percent of Iowa Republicans polled said it was important to find a 2008 presidential candidate in the conservative mold of Reagan. The poll also found 51% of them want to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq within six months.

That's 51% of Republicans. In Iowa.

The most recent CBS poll on Iraq, meanwhile, is still the one from Aug 8-12 that had 69% disapproving of Bush's handling vs. 29% approving. On how the war was going, 38% said very bad, 29% said bad, 26% said well, 3% said very well.

Americans hate this war. Their minds are made up. They want out. There has been virtually no movement on this point over the summer, despite a PR blitz which has convinced a lot of naive and startlingly ignorant Washington insiders (read: schmucks) that somehow things are getting better in Iraq.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 2, 2007 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Michael Bersin at Show Me Progress has a great post this morning on media complicity, and takes the KC Star to task for being a willful propaganda tool.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 2, 2007 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Reporters have decided to get more optimistic, mostly because they've been rolled like suckers by a strong classic GOP PR offensive.

I respectfully disagree.

The reporters have not been rolled; it is the reporters who are doing the rolling. They are willing, indeed enthusiastic, agents of the GOP PR offensive.

The only other reasonable conclusion is that the whole lot of them are dumber than a load of wood, have no short- or long-term memories, and cannot or do not read.

They, along with the Democratic "leaders" in congress, are supporters of the Bush/Cheney policies in Iraq.

Posted by: James E. Powell on September 2, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK


Cheney is at it again: and just as he had Judith Miller and the New York Times eating out of his hand over WMD's he got the whole journalistic rat pack eating his poisoned pellets over the surge, war with Iran and ,soon to be, why Condoleeza Rice should be our next president.

Posted by: Dr WU-the last of the big time thinkers on September 2, 2007 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

It is truly inexplicable -- the millionaires in the media, who answer to the multi-multi-millionaires, do the bidding of the tax-cut and spend Bushies.

I just don't get it.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on September 2, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Katie Couric did add that it seems the military shows the press what they want them to see, but that Al Roker was able to do his weather report with only a minimum of helicopter gunships hovering above him - So all is rosy. And sooo many Iraqis were out holding up "Hi Mom" signs.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 2, 2007 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

For at least the last two weeks, with two exceptions, news organizations in the United States have completely stopped reporting American military fatalities in Iraq.

Those two exceptions are The News Hour on PBS which shows pictures of soldiers killed at the ned of their Friday evening show. The ABC Sunday chat show, This Week, gives the total number of fatalities for the past week in its In Memorium segment.

For the week just past, incidentally, the total number of fatalities was 20. TWENTY people died and the news outlets didn't mention a word. Not a peep. Nor did they mention how many soldiers were wounded. I don't know where you'd go to find that out.

Call me paranoid, but I see a conspiracy of silence here. And really, it just is not possible to be paranoid enough these days.

Posted by: Helena Montana on September 2, 2007 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Pathetic. Now it's supposedly all the media's fault, which obviously has been deeply in love with Bush for six years now.

It isn't the media changing all the parameters. The real problem is Democratic politicians skidding around trying to stay in front of the polls, and dragging the goalposts around with them.

Greg's Number 2 is a great example. It isn't the media that jumped horses from "military progress" to "political progress." It was the Democratic Party. Most of us still remember the yawns from that quarter after elections and the formation of a new government in Iraq. "None of that is important," they said, "without security." You can take it to the bank that if Iraq now had a hugely successful government with full cooperation from all quarters, but there were still bombings, the talking points would still be about "security, not politics."

Democratic politicians, including the front-runner for 2008, are still going to be jockeying for position next year. Hillary can't pretend to be all things to all people forever. And she IS someone the media is in love with.

Posted by: elmendorf on September 2, 2007 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

I've been meaning to do some sort of comprehensive diary on DKos about this, but....good lord. Every day, it gets more and more depressing, to the point I don't even want to read or hear about it, forget write about it.

This is a massive failure and breach of trust on all levels. The country has long since been defamed and completely shamed by leadership on both sides, the media, and the military leadership, who have engaged in PR for a failed campaign rather than actually preserving lives, both of innocents and their own soldiers. It's galling, and it honestly makes me feel that I'm not in my own country anymore. I honestly no longer feel like I can call myself 'American', not because I 'hate' America, but the fact that the 'America' crafted by Washington, the military, and the complicit media is so far divorced from reality and sanity that it no longer resembles the great country it's meant to be.

Posted by: Kryptik on September 2, 2007 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

For the week just past, incidentally, the total number of fatalities was 20. TWENTY people died and the news outlets didn't mention a word. Not a peep. Nor did they mention how many soldiers were wounded. I don't know where you'd go to find that out.

You could start with the DoD's own site on this information, freely available to the public. Compiled figures are updated frequently here.

This is assuming a liberal can go to a DoD website without having to boil their keyboard afterwards.

Posted by: elmendorf on September 2, 2007 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Gen. Petraeus may be pretty good at handling the media, but even the best media handler can only get results if the media plays along.

—Kevin Drum

AND the dems play along as well. The media will only push back if the dems push back -- hard. And the dem leaders have been rolling over. They have failed keep the administration honest and the media can no longer be counted on to do that.

I see the dem leaders taking a position that the surge is "working" -- when it clearly is not working -- as cowardly and immoral. It is on a par with the decision to vote for the war to begin with. The very same political calculation is involved.

Posted by: Econobuzz on September 2, 2007 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Helena M: The DoD provides that information here. (.pdf warning). It updates M-F, I believe.


Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 2, 2007 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

This is assuming a liberal can go to a DoD website without having to boil their keyboard afterwards.

Match you DD-214 for DD-214.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 2, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK
...I see the dem leaders taking a position that the surge is "working" -- when it clearly is not working -- as cowardly and immoral....Econobuzz at 4:18 PM
And which leaders would those be?

...Big news orgs repeatedly twisted the words of Democrats who had returned from Iraq to make their assessments sound more positive than they were.
This has happened again and again in recent weeks. When Democratic Senator Carl Levin came back from Iraq and said that the escalation was showing measurable results but has "totally and utterly failed" to reach its goal of political reconciliation in Iraq, big news orgs repeatedly spun Levin's words to make it sound as if he were saying that the surge was succeeding, when he wasn't.
And when Hillary Clinton claimed in a recent speech that various tactical changes in Al Anbar province were showing results, news outlets reported again and again and again and again that she'd said the "surge" was "working," when that isn't what she'd said at all...

Posted by: Mike on September 2, 2007 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Sargent: "Again, this isn't to minimize the failings of liberals and Dems here. ... the Dem Congressional leadership was for some time surprisingly mute while Petraeus and the White House kicked their campaign into high gear."

What is really scary here is that, if a surge that is clearly "not working" can be transformed into one that is "working" with dems acquiesence and cooperation, even the flimsiest evidence that Iran is killing American soldiers can be also.

And that gives this clown all the excuse he needs to bomb these camps with all of the repug candidates and the MSM rabidly on board -- and HRC will calculate that she has to be on board as well.

He IS going to do it. God has told him he must. And this will completely change the calculus in 2008.

Posted by: Econobuzz on September 2, 2007 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Match you DD-214 for DD-214.

I meant to add...Bitch.

(I am really sick of you lot, in case you can't tell.)

No political party has exclusive right to the loyalty of those in service.

The oath is to the Constitution, and if you had ever taken it, you would know that.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 2, 2007 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

And which leaders would those be?

Posted by: Mike

If I am a leader of my party and my words are twisted by the MSM, I have an obligation to come forward immediately and state unequivocally that the surge is NOT working. That has not happened and I doubt seriously that it will.

And so does Sargent.

Posted by: Econobuzz on September 2, 2007 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

No political party has exclusive right to the loyalty of those in service.

This is certainly true. We'll see how the voting goes in 2008, particularly from those who have been fighting this war.

You really think Hillary is going to end up running on "immediate withdrawal," regardless of what she's been spoon-feeding her infinitely gullible base? Fifty-fifty odds by the time November 2008 rolls around, she will have her fans convinced that the surge was her idea the whole time.

And I think you meant "bastard."

Posted by: elmendorf on September 2, 2007 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Bitch-Bastard - Hmmm, and I just thought she meant Slime, or as when I was stationed in Germany in the US Army, Scweinhund.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 2, 2007 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Schweinerei works, also.

Posted by: stupid git on September 2, 2007 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Elmo, I think she made you her bitch, switching to the tough-sounding right-wing hysteria idiom.

I am dreadfully sorry that this war rolls on and on. I am dreadfully sorry for what America has wrought in all our names. Mr. Bush and his henchmen should resign, but that would take moral courage and true contrition--qualities he and they have never possessed. So we have a corporate media that controls the polls, the stories, and the outrage. I think the Constitution was destroyed in the most unexpected way--devoured by its watchdogs.

Posted by: Sparko on September 2, 2007 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

You people are going to be very unhappy in January of 2009. Whoever wins.

Moveon.org ain't calling the shots anymore.

Posted by: elmendorf on September 2, 2007 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Elmo: I'll be glad if the country survives to hold a next inauguration. Pestilence, Economic collapse, Ceaseless war profiteering, outlandish buffoonery in the White House, and then the sick enablers blaming their victims like you. I have voted against Bush every time he was on the ballot. And still he corrupts.

Posted by: Sparko on September 2, 2007 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Moveon.org ain't calling the shots anymore.

And you assume that everyone is a MoveOn member.

Some of us don't join a damned thing, having learned our lessons on that front from joining the military.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 2, 2007 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

You know, Kevin, for a guy who was one of the loudest cheerleaders IN FAVOR of invading Iraq, you sure don't seem the least bit reluctant to wag your finger at the media about Iraq. Hypocrite much?

Posted by: Pat on September 2, 2007 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Blue Girl. Over the past six years, you think the Democratic Party has been paying more attention to Moveon.org and Soros, or to you?

Posted by: elmendorf on September 2, 2007 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

And she IS someone the media is in love with.

Ah, after a beautiful day on the links, home to a good chuckle from (elmen)dorfman ( your name shall be flounder). Your ears have drunk so much swill from Rush and Glenn and their local familiars, you probably aren't even aware that it was the NYT that foisted Watergate on the public and then pimped the story for years. It was the MSM that called HRC vile names, including murderer, not Hannitty (albeit he was quick to join in).

Of course, sure 'tis a waste of electrons to rise to the bait of such as you, flounder, and so I'll go back to calculating when the Republicans will throw in the towel and change their name to escape the miasma of GwB.

Posted by: TJM on September 2, 2007 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Over the past six years, you think the Democratic Party has been paying more attention to Moveon.org and Soros, or to you?

I had a brief moment of getting their attention last fall when we turned out Jim Ryun in favor of Nancy Boyda in the KS-02...Home to both Ft. Leavenworth and Ft. Riley. We elected her with no help from the national party until the very last days, by which time we pretty much had it sewn up. I was one of the Missouri Dems in a safe district (does anyone even remember who the Republican challenger for Cleavers seat in the 5th even was???) who crossed the state line to work for her.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 2, 2007 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Well I, for one, believe that Blue Girl GC is the very epitome of the Democratic party. She is motivated by a concept with which the media and GOP are sadly unfamiliar: public SERVICE. There is a magnanimity in the heart of every true Democrat that eludes those who profit from punditry or popular cause espousal. Moveon has been right in trying to end the war; equivocation has brought us low and has fairly well broken our army and national spirit. The only people who do not feel sickened by the war are fanatical profiteers and Petraeus' staff.

Posted by: Sparko on September 2, 2007 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

It is totally appalling that the Pentagon can now muscle American public opinion with its huge PR department. Kinda unconstitutional, don't you think, in spirit if not legalistically?

Posted by: Bob M on September 2, 2007 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

She is motivated by a concept with which the media and GOP are sadly unfamiliar: public SERVICE. There is a magnanimity in the heart of every true Democrat that eludes those who profit from punditry or popular cause espousal.

Probably quite true as a description of Blue Girl. Doesn't change my question about whether or not people like her are in the driver's seat for the Democratic Party, which is something you should think about.

Posted by: elmendorf on September 2, 2007 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

... equivocation has brought us low and has fairly well broken our army and national spirit.

Posted by: Sparko

Amen. The problem, as I see it, is that we are much better than our leaders.

Posted by: Econobuzz on September 2, 2007 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

And for this, our lazy, legwork hating press members wanted a shield law - but there were too many American citizens that were happy to see Judith Miller go to jail. Murdock and Fox news, (and CNN) or nothing but a help the Bushies lie program.

We need a new press - so it's nice to Josh Marshall leading the way. It was nice that someone cared enough about his country to see the harm Bush, through Gonzales was doing in Washington and the harm he did to the US Attorney General offices all accross the land. And it wasn't the nations elitists didn't know BECAUSE they did know aobut this. They just didn't care.

Posted by: Me_again on September 2, 2007 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Well, elmendorf, I am such a Democrat that I take public transit. But really, I think who is being listened to depends on where you are. In the rural areas of Missouri (the MO-06 is my latest obsession) MoveOn isn't carrying much influence. They were not influential in the election of Tester, nor of McCaskill. I think they are the latest bogey-man/rallying point for the right, but where I am I do not see that they have much influence at all, let alone undue influence.

(And thanks guys. I'm blushing over here.)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 2, 2007 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

In general, visitors see what the Ministry of Truth wants to show.
Katie Couric in Iraq:
... Well, I was surprised, you know, after I went to eastern Baghdad, I was taken to the Allawi market, which is near Haifa, which was the scene of that very bloody gun battle back in January. And, you know, this market seems to be thriving. And there were a lot of people out and about. A lot of family-owned businesses and vegetable stalls.
And so, you do see signs of life that seem to be normal. Of course, that’s what the U.S. military wants me to see, so you have to keep that in mind as well. But I think there are definitely areas where the situation is improving....

As anyone who has been through war or has watched it before knows, life goes on. People have to buy groceries, go to work, survive, go to school, live, and if you didn't know better, you would swear everything looks normal. Except it isn't.

.... Democratic Party has been paying more attention to Moveon.org and Soros...? elmendorf at 6:11 PM
Who has Bush's ear, Rev Moon, Rupert Murdock, Grover Norquist, Ralph Reed, Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, Pat Robertson, Rove, rightist blogeurs, certainly not the man in the street?
....That has not happened and I doubt seriously that it will..... Econobuzzat 4:51 PM
As a matter of fact, those repeating their erroneous spin have been advised numerous times, but they continue to frame the story their way, especially FoxNews and other Murdock/Moon media. I suggest you read into the archives of the Daily Howler and learn how it works. It is not for the candidates to get into pissing matches with media whores. That encourages more distortion from them because they then know they have got under the individual's skin. Posted by: Mike on September 2, 2007 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

As elmendork lazes around his own AFB, eagerly awaiting the bombing of Iran - Then, he and all of the other Jingo Johnnies can huzzah for a Shrub bump in the polls.

Yeah, the last gasp of Madmen awaits your cheers, ellie.

Kinda funny, though. Poor Boys Corporate America has a tough time ponying up money to buy the Repugs, but, those big bad labor bosses, Move-on and George Soros have alllllll that loot to buy the Democrats. You do read some strange mags waiting in your airport stall, ellie. Don't forget your signs.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 2, 2007 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps if we looked at the ownership of the MSM, we would understand why they are spouting the Bush/neo-con/multinational corporate line:

NBC - GE, one of the largest defense contractors in the business.
CBS - Sony/EMI (if memory serves), one of the largest entertainment companies in existence today
ABC - Disney, not as big, but still big business
CNN - last I knew, part of AOL/Time Warner which is part of Disney?
Fox - Rupert Murdoch's chief propaganda machine for the neo-con movement, The newest addition to which is the Wall Street Journal AND NYSE.
The major newspapers are all but a handful owned by chains like The Tribune CO., Gannet, or venture capitalists.

Anybody still believe in the Liberal Media Bias lie? As an editor from the NYT said in recent months, "If I printed today what I truly believed was happening, I would be out of a job tomorrow."

Posted by: bob in fl on September 2, 2007 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

It bothers me that the discussion about Iraq is being conducted in the media, including blogosphere, so much on a political level. That's logical, because the Bushies have used the Iraq War as a political weapon against the Democrats since its inception, and the war remains in that frame. But today, more than ever, we need an informed discussion of the military options that we have --tactical and strategic-- and how they can be bolstered by diplomatic and economic offensives to make the Iraqis’ situation more tenable.

You can’t argue tactics for Iraq without first settling strategy. It is symptomatic of what went wrong in Iraq, that strategic considerations have been so neglected. Today, the only way we can get the issues off center is to take a fresh look at strategy, considered side by side with an expanded discussion of our diplomatic options—another sadly absent discussion.

How else can we decide what to do in Iraq. The question cannot be considered in isolation.

There is no question that by attacking Iraq preemptively, we incurred an obligation that has not been met. But it this obligation may be impossible to fulfill, except, ironically, by withdrawing and letting the Iraqis settle the matter themselves.

I hope everybody agrees withdrawal of our forces does not remove our obligation to put right what we tore down. Withdrawal, if that is our best option, is the beginning of a new policy, not the end. But none of this matters if the media doesn't reform the way we treat these issues.

Posted by: frank logan on September 2, 2007 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq is an illusion - Drawn by lines on the map by British elites in the 20s - Finally, placed under some semblance of control by the dictator, Saddam - We blew the lid off and only a dictator will sufface to keep the illusion of Iraq together again.

We do not owe any duty to "put right what we tore down". The only duty we have is to return our troops safely and try the warmongers in DC for their crimes. Stay and more of our troops will be killed for nought. In order to "put it right", we would have to place a Saddam II in power and stay as his armed thugs. Democracy, in that land, is, and will be, a sad, sad joke.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 2, 2007 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

elmendorf: It isn't the media changing all the parameters. The real problem is Democratic politicians skidding around trying to stay in front of the polls, and dragging the goalposts around with them. ... Greg's Number 2 is a great example. It isn't the media that jumped horses from "military progress" to "political progress."

Both military and political progress are obviously both necessary and are interdependent. But your charge that Democrats in particular are moving the goalposts is way off base.

From The New Way Forward:

...in response to the upsurge in sectarian violence in 2006, it was necessary for Coalition Forces to temporarily play a greater role, in conjunction with the Iraqi Security Forces, in securing the Iraqi population. ...to help provide the necessary time and space with which the Iraqi Government can continue to build its own capacity, can intensify efforts against the accelerants of the violence, especially al-Qaida in Iraq and some segments of the Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM),and can meaningfully address the all-important issue of reconciliation among the various segments of Iraqi society.

From the link in "Greg's Number 2":

As we noted Monday, Sens. Carl Levin and John Warner have returned from Iraq to report that while the "surge" may be producing "measurable results" in reducing violence, they are "not optimistic" that the Iraq government will use its newfound "breathing space" to make the compromises "essential for a political solution in Iraq."

In a follow-up press conference call with reporters, Levin made it clear that his was no glass-half-full assessment. "The purpose of the surge, by its own terms, was to ... give the opportunity to the Iraqi leaders to reach some political settlements," Levin said. "They have failed to do that. They have totally and utterly failed."

(Read the rest for how those statements were reported.)

Compare and contrast with recent White House press briefings (e.g., here), which focus on the military aspect (e.g., AQI), with little more than lip service to the broader political issues.

No surprise, war proponents are focusing on military progress, and war detractors are focusing on the lack of political progress. You can reasonably argue detractors are too impatient; claiming they're "moving the goalposts" is an unsupported cheap shot.

Posted by: has407 on September 2, 2007 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

It bothers me that the discussion about Iraq is being conducted in the media, including blogosphere, so much on a political level.

While I think that I understand your point, it's important to recognize that Iraq is all about politics and more specifically about domestic politics.

For Bush/Cheney, it is all about salvaging their legacy, protecting their corrupt partners in this enterprise and sealing off any attempt to discover the truth about how they produced and directed this whole disaster.

For the Democrats, apparently, the whole thing is about avoiding the blame for "losing" Iraq and serving the thirty-year old, right-wing narrative that Democrats are "weak" on foreign policy and national security.

There is nothing to "win" militarily in Iraq; there will be no political settlement favorable to the United States and there is nothing useful to most Americans to be gained by staying there even one more day.

There is, however, still a lot of money to made and Bush/Cheney are going to make sure that their supporters get every dollar, are protected by every immunity and leave the disaster to their successor.

Posted by: James E. Powell on September 2, 2007 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

As elmendork lazes around his own AFB, eagerly awaiting the bombing of Iran - Then, he and all of the other Jingo Johnnies can huzzah for a Shrub bump in the polls.

Sorry, wasn't the last big revelation that we scheduled to attack Iran last Easter? At what point do we just get to call this idea "a bit goofy?"

Kinda funny, though. Poor Boys Corporate America has a tough time ponying up money to buy the Repugs, but, those big bad labor bosses, Move-on and George Soros have alllllll that loot to buy the Democrats.

Don't read magazines in the airport, but you might have fun reading this.

BTW, "elmendork" is getting old.

Try:

Elmendoofus
Elmendink
Elmendong
Elmendolt
Elmendingleberry
Elmendope
Elmendweeb
Elmendouche
Elmendip
Elmendillywhomper (a favorite of mine)
Elmenwanker (if you're British)
Elmentary My Dear Watson
Elmendjoy's Got Nuts!

Those of you over 14 years old can ignore this part.

Posted by: elmendorf on September 2, 2007 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

and dragging the goalposts around with them. ...

What goalposts? Do the Iraqis have more food, less unemployment, more electricity or better access to health care than they did a year ago, two years ago or before they were "liberated"? How many more have been killed, kidnapped or forced to become refugees?
The administration, and its many mouthpieces have already declared that holding the Iraqis - or anyone else else for that matter - to arbitrary benchmarks is unfair. They prefer instead vaporous statements of progress with no substantiation. Meanwhile, real people are suffering and dying and real money is being hoovered out of the public fisc.

The original goalpost was to remove Saddam and obviate the threat of his WMD's and balsa bombers. Then it became the establishment of an elected government. Now it seems to be to keep Iraq from becoming a failed state. Now that's moving some goalposts.
Finally, wouldn't it be nice if we all had jobs in Bushworld?
Boss: "Did you finish the project?"
Worker: "No, but I'm making progress."
Boss: "Have you met any of the goals yet?"
Worker: "No, arbitrary goals are unfair but I'm making progress."
Boss: "Great! Here's another ton of money. Take all the time you want."

Posted by: Dennis P on September 2, 2007 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

Boss: "Did you finish the project?"
Worker: "No, but I'm making progress."
Boss: "Have you met any of the goals yet?"
Worker: "No, arbitrary goals are unfair but I'm making progress."
Boss: "Great! Here's another ton of money. Take all the time you want."

Sounds almost like the American education system. Or most government spending programs.

Posted by: elmendorf on September 2, 2007 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm. I kinda thought it applied to the two-billion dollar a week occupation of Iraq.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 2, 2007 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

Well, you could stop posting elmerdork.

You aren't proving us anything but the same dumb ass RNC talking points that we could get from any Bush supporting asshole. If you added some panache that might be one thing, but mindless regurgitation doesn't add a thing to the conversation.

Here's a test to determine if you are serious about national security Elmer, you Dork:

  1. Among the options listed, which is the most likely cause of death for an American citizen living in the United States?
    1. Heart Attack
    2. Lightning Strike
    3. Terrorism
  2. Among the options listed, which is the least likely cause of death for an American citizen living in the United States?
    1. Terrorism
    2. Lightning Strike
    3. Heart Attack
  3. True or False: Iraq had real ties to Al Queda?
  4. True or False: Iraq had WMDs?
  5. Iraq had a mechanism for delivering WMDs to the United States?
If you can't answer five out of five then shut the fuck up. You are too stupid to have any role in national politics - including voting.

Posted by: heavy on September 2, 2007 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm. I kinda thought it applied to the two-billion dollar a week occupation of Iraq.

Yeah, I really wonder what kind of progress is being made when the military expresses relief at Moqtada al-Sadr's declaration that he's having the Mahdi Army stand down for six months. A critic of progress would say that events in Iraq will be determined by the Iraqis who might just have the understandable desire to write their own history.

At this rate of progress we should be able to move from anarchy to mere chaos in a matter of a few decades.

Posted by: Dennis P on September 2, 2007 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

BGRS -- Looks like that will soon be $3B a week = $156B/yr = (2006 numbers) = ~195% Iraq's GDP (~$90B, per-capita ~$2,900) = ~$5700/yr per Iraqi. What's wrong with this picture?

Posted by: has407 on September 3, 2007 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

$156B/yr

What's wrong with those numbers? Well, for one thing, there are currently 1.1 billion people in the world living in "absolute poverty", i.e. less than $1.07 per day (if I remember the World Bank figure rightly). Their average income is somewhat over $200 per year.

So for $156 billion a year, i.e. about $140 per poor person in the world, you could end world poverty. For what we are currently spending killing people and blowing things up in Iraq, we could eliminate absolute poverty throughout the entire world.

So that's one thing I find "wrong", in the moral sense, with that picture.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 3, 2007 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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