Mourning In America

A New York Democrat on politics, journalism, and the Mets

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Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Getting Their Stories Straight The continuing chaos is Iraq is stretching the lines of communication between the Bush Administration and its parrots in the right-wing press. A National Review online columnist recently had this to say:
There is no overt attempt to rally the Iraqi people to a specific cause, other than the implicit one of not building the new Iraq.

But in Veterans' Day remembrances today, President Bush said:
"Foreign jihadists have arrived across Iraq's borders in small groups with the goal of installing a Taliban-like regime."

I guess it's possible that all of the foreign fighters arrived in the last two weeks, but it seems unlikely.

Bush's Veterans' Day speeches also included language intended to signal that he is fully aware of the sacrifices being paid by the soldiers dying in Iraq:

"For their families, this is a terrible sorrow, and we pray for their comfort. For the nation, there is a feeling of loss, and we remember and we remember and we honor every loss."

But is Bush's promise to "honor every loss" really consistent with his administration's policy of not addressing them as they occur?

Monday, November 10, 2003
If This is Winning... Iraq Administrator Paul Bremer is continuing to hew to the Bush administration's line that the increased pace of terrorist attacks is actually evidence of success:
“We’re going to have increased attacks and increased terrorism because the terrorists can see the reconstruction dynamic is moving in our direction,” Bremer, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, was quoted as saying in The Times newspaper of London.

“It will be more of a problem in the months ahead unless the intelligence gets better,” The Times quoted him as saying.

The second quote is the troublesome one. If the "reconstruction dynamic" (whatever that is) is truly "moving in our direction," then shouldn't that, by definition, be accompanied by better intelligence. And if not -- if the quality of our intelligence is solely a factor of our own competence -- then shouldn't we be doing something to make sure it gets better?