When the left overs of a deadly, costly and undemocratic illegal war built on lies no longer result in smiles around the dinner table, what's a body to do? If you're in the White House, reach for a box of Illegal War Helper.
Yesterday, the US ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, did a song and dance (via video link) for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Wally ("THIS JUST IN! THAT'S A CROCK!") and Cedric ("It's a Crock") covered it in their joint-post. It's actually part of a push-back by the adminstration to re-sell the illegal war, a multi-part marketing scheme that also involves pushing back the evaluation date for the surge and attacking politicians with the sort of scare tactics that harken back to the days of McCarthy.
Starting with the Crock which existed to sell the fear (as did all parts of the marketing). Reneee Schoof (McClatchy Newspapers) starts off with Richard Lugar's question:
Are you planning for an eventual change of mission or redeployment of American forces in Iraq?
The Indiana senator, who's called for planning ahead for a withdrawal so that it won't be done poorly, said there'd been reports that the Bush administration had pressed officials to abandon any such planning.
Crocker said he knew of no efforts to create a Plan B.
Crock stuck with that throughout. Thom Shanker and David S. Cloud (New York Times) report that Crock said the benchmarks weren't being met and probably wouldn't. They leave out the reptition of 'the fear' which is apparently like really bad b.o. permeating Iraq and Crock wants to tag it with, "Never let them see you sweat."
Though Cloud whined about the benchmarks (more convincing coming from someone not a part of the administration since the administration set the benchmarks) were an unfair way to evaluate progress. He no doubt knew what Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) would be reporting today, something far more damaging than the administration's cheerful "assessment" last week:
A committee directed by Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and President Bush to accelerate the transfer of security responsibility to Iraq's army and police has warned that Iraq is lagging in a number of categories.
The quarterly report, a copy of which was obtained by The Times, says the Finance Ministry is blocking the Iraqi military from spending $660 million to build a logistical network; that militias are an obstacle to handing over to Iraqis responsibility for security in three mainly Shiite Muslim provinces; and that competition among rival security organizations has prevented the country from settling on a national security structure.
"I agree it is mixed results," said Iraqi national security advisor Mowaffak Rubaie. "We are behind schedule, but we made good progress."
A foreign advisor to the Iraqi government agreed that progress was being made.
Iraqi forces are now responsible for security in seven out of 18 provinces.
The findings by Iraqi, U.S. Embassy and U.S. military officials were the latest report card on Iraq's progress.
(Parker was a guest on Democracy Now! yesterday, "Despite Reports Showing Nearly Half of Foreign Militants in Iraq Are Saudi, White House and Lawmakers Keeping Sights on Iran.")
Another aspect of the plan to re-sell the illegal war is to push the date back. "Wait for September, wait for David, give David time, it's not fair to David!" David, David, David, the administration's whined making us all feel like Alvy Singer in Annie Hall when Annie can't shut up about her new *professor*. David is Petreaus who is supposed to give Congress a report on 'progress' and he was also cited repeatedly by Senate Republicans during this week's slumber party.
September's less than a full month away and nothing's improving (it never does) but polling demonstrates the US public wants action (and indicates they aren't seeing it from the Democratic leadership in Congress) with a majority favoring a timeline for withdrawal. So the administration is now scrambling to gain some more time. As Kat noted last night, the new 'deadline' is supposed to November. Barbara Slavin's "General: September too soon to assess Iraq" (USA Today) noted that "the number two" (in Iraq), Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, was leading that pushback. Shanker and Sanger (New York Times) report:
Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the No. 2 commander in Iraq, told Pentagon reporters that while he would provide the mid-September assessment of the new military strategy that Congress has required, it would take "at least until November" to judge with confidence whether the strategy was working.
The administration is like a lazy student forever requesting yet another extension -- but homework projects rarely result in deaths.
As usual when the news is bad, Bully Boy leaves DC, hoping to circumvent the national press for what's perceived as a softer local press that will be less likely to ask questions and will do nothing but include -- without comment -- a clip of some absurd statement he makes with no comment on the local evening news and call it 'news' as they shuffle it between their local crime blotter summary that also attempts to pass itself off as news. James Gerstenzang (Los Angeles Times) reports the stop yesterday was Nashville to the always hyper-enthused audience of a local Chamber of Commerce:
Such visits draw little national attention, but the out-of-town stops gain extensive local coverage sought by the White House to counter the steady beat of the Iraq war on news pages, websites, television and radio. And they provide a backdrop of a White House seeking, city by city, to portray the president as focused on the breadth of his job and not just the war.
Not content with selling fear, attempting to push back the due date and courting soft press, the administration hit a new low (even for them). The Chicago Tribune reports another step in Illegal War Helper:
Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman, a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, accused Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) of aiding the enemy by calling for contingency plans for a troop pullout. "Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq," Edelman wrote in reply to Clinton's May inquiry. Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines called Edelman's letter "outrageous."
Though the last seven years of the Bully Boy's occupation of the White House has modified Jefferson Airplane's "We Can Be Together" -- "We are all the outlaws in the eyes" of the administration, who knew we'd find ourselves asking the musical question, "What if . . . Hillary were one of us . . ."? But such is the reality of Illegal War Helper and the desperation factor in the administration -- everyone to the left of Joe Lieberman (most of America) can be tarred and feather, slimed and muddied by the administration. This time it's Hillary. Sending out a message to the majority of the American people that anyone who opposes the Bully Boy's endless illegal war (the majority of Americans) is an enemy of the state.
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