Monday, May 01, 2006


Insane to think the Mission was Accomplished
"[On May 1, 2003] the U.S. had 150,000 troops in Iraq; the number now stands at 132,000. American casualties at the time were 139 killed and 542 wounded."
--Editor and Publisher
Three years ago today Bush vamped on the deck of an aircraft carrier, pretending to be a warrior. Perhaps by choosing May 1, he thought he could not only destroy the Democratic Party with his flight-suited walk of triumph, but destroy even the memory of what May Day really stands for. Now, three years, countless lives (2,251 of them US soldiers), and hundreds of billions of dollars later, we can pretty clearly say that his declaration has backfired.

Editor and Publisher has collected togther a nice little ode to our national insanity. It highlights not the failures of Bush, the inveterate half-ass who never completed a single task in his life, but those of the national media who completely bought his charade. Two choice examples:
"He won the war," boomed MSNBC's Chris Matthews. "He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics."

President Bush's made-for-television address tonight on the carrier Abraham Lincoln was a powerful, Reaganesque finale to a six-week war. (Elizabeth Bumiller, NYT)
Media Matters has more, from the reaction to the vamping:
"And two immutable truths about the president that the Democrats can't change: He's a youthful guy. He looked terrific and full of energy in a flight suit. He is a former pilot, so it's not a foreign art farm -- art form to him. Not all presidents could have pulled this scene off today." (Brian Williams, NBC anchor)

"It was so well done, and even though we knew that everything was choreographed down to, you know, catching that fourth hook on the ship, it was still a pretty stirring tableau. Cecil B. DeMille couldn't have been done better. And even though you know there's no Santa Claus, Christmas is still great, as it was with that particular moment." (Time columnist, Margaret Carlson)

It's stunning. It's amazing. I think it's huge. I mean, he's landing on a boat at 150 miles per hour. It's tremendous. It's hard to imagine any Democrat being able to do that. And it doesn't matter if Democrats try to ridicule it. It's stunning, and it speaks for itself. (Ann Coulter)
On the three-year anniversary of Bush's grand spectacle, the media has shifted attention away from the role it played. Now they're talking about Rummy and quagmires and putting blame back on the White House. Of course Bush botched it. This was the inevitable consequence of the invasion. Bush's feeble grasp on geopolitics, his proud acknowledgement that he doesn't read the paper, the well-known cooking of the intel books (the details of which had already emerged by May 1, 2003). Yet when Rove concocted the idea of putting Bush into a flight suit as the conquering Caeser, the press lapped it up.

There are many failures related to Iraq. But I'm reminded, reading through these quotes, what it was really like during the pre-war, war, and post-war months. The media was truly embedded, and doing one hell of a job providing propaganda for the American war machine. Yet today when I do a search on the phrase in Google News, I get an anemic 100 sories or so. Bush will indeed go down as the worst president in the modern era, and we will see decades of books giving a post mortem on his incompetence. He wasn't the president in a vacuum, though. Those post mortems ought to include the press and the 70%+ who wanted to invade. There were a few people who saw this disaster for what it was (and I assume that includes anyone who would read this blog), but Bush's declaration shouldn't only be read as a measure of his delusion. The entire country was barking mad.

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