Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 17, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

GATES: HOORAY FOR DEMOCRATS!....Defense Secretary Robert Gates said today that Moqtada al-Sadr's withdrawal of six cabinet ministers from the Iraqi government might, in the end, turn out to be a good thing depending on who replaces them. Then he added this:

Gates, on a Middle East tour, called for a range of efforts from inside and outside Iraq to speed up the formation of a broad-based government of Iraq's majority Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish factions.

...."The debate in Congress ... has been helpful in demonstrating to the Iraqis that American patience is limited," Gates told Pentagon reporters traveling with him in Jordan. "The strong feelings expressed in the Congress about the timetable probably has had a positive impact ... in terms of communicating to the Iraqis that this is not an open-ended commitment."

Somebody jog my memory here. I know that other people have made this point about congressional pressure before, but never a high-ranking Bush cabinet officer, right? Is Gates off the reservation, or is this is the new party line from the White House?

Kevin Drum 8:31 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (67)

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Comments

Cheney made the same point a few weeks ago, no?

Posted by: coldhotel on April 17, 2007 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Is this a case of 'keep it in the family'? If so, when did we turn from traitors into brothers?

Posted by: absent observer on April 17, 2007 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

Off the reservation... there is no way to square this with the primary theme of Democrats as traitors. That article popped up on Google News and just as quickly was gone. I wouldn't be surprised if the White House quickly moved to shut it down.

Posted by: dynamicinfo on April 17, 2007 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

Gates is clearly "managing upwards" at this point. I thought this was the aim of his very public announcement of extended tours of duty for soldiers in Iraq as well, in which he pretty much tied the need for this to the President's "surge." He can't be directly insubordinate. But he can advance the pace of the debate that needs to happen, and that Bush and Cheney have steadfastly avoided. What's Bush going to do? Fire him?

Posted by: larry birnbaum on April 17, 2007 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, Gates is, I believe, one of them Generals that the President wants everybody to be listening to.

(That is, he's one of the ones who the President didn't fire, and therefore we should still be listening to him)

I expect we'd best listen to Gen. Gates.

Posted by: anonymous on April 17, 2007 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

What do you mean, Gates, there's no open commitment?
The terrorists are celebrating already!!1!
Damn, it's getting hard to stay on message.

Posted by: Dick Durata on April 17, 2007 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

I said a few days ago that aWol screwed Gates when he threatened to extend tours when it was a done deal.

I also said I think they underestimate Gates and that way lies doom.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 17, 2007 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

Yesterday I read, and have spaced off where, an excellent analysis of the notion of creating an 'Executive Management Czar', or whatever it was.

The author's point was that it was an attempt to cut out Gates from serious input, the way Cheney cuts out Condoleezza.

If that's true, this may be Gates shoving back.

(The author also mentioned that it might be illegal in subverting the established chain of authority for the military.)

Posted by: cld on April 17, 2007 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

I think there might be something to the "off the reservation" theory. Remember the Times article about how Gates wanted to close Guantanamo? And the theory that his surge/deployment leak was undermining Bush's eventual veto of the congressional Iraq bill? I think there's another data point that I'm missing too...

Posted by: geoff on April 17, 2007 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

Gates was never a General. He left the Air Force for the Intel community 35-40 years ago. He only did one hitch, and resigned his commission as a Captain, I believe.

I'm too spent to google today. I had to deal with two different versions of Clancy Wiggum and one Dale Gribble. It was exhausting.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 17, 2007 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

If that's true, this may be Gates shoving back.

I say it is, and it is. If I'm wrong I owe you a six pack.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 17, 2007 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

I think you are being too optimistic in your assessment, Blue Girl. Gates is hardly the maverick you suggest he might be.

Clearly, this is the new party line. Empty rhetoric of the "we won't wait forever" sort elides two salient facts:

First, "forever" does not preclude another 50 years.

Second, it perpetuates the illusion that Iraq actually has a functioning government which can in some way assume responsibility for the destiny of the state.

Iraq isn't any more of a state than Palestine is, yet why does the media go along with the charade that each has a real, functioning, and autonomous government, with Prime Ministers and Security Forces and Parliaments?

Posted by: smedleybutler on April 17, 2007 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think Gates was ever ON the reservation... He's Bush senior's man, parachuted in to deal with the immediate aftermath of the election defeat. I've always assumed that W agreed to him under duress.

Posted by: dave l on April 17, 2007 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, I don't like him. At all. But I know his past work. I detest the man. But I respect talent. Here is what I said about this last week. Guess I was ahead of the curve.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 17, 2007 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

Wolfowitz's girlfriend's association with the State Department is that she is somehow seconded (or thirded) to something called Foundation for the Future, which has somehow got funded with a huge mass of money.

It gives the impression that, modelled on an NGO, it is, in fact, a private trouble-making organization headquartered in Beirut.

The very name, Foundation for the Future, sounds like some theories that the origin of 'al-Qaeda' was inspired by Asimov's Foundation trilogy.

Posted by: cld on April 17, 2007 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq is an artificial construct and a scrap of the Ottoman Empire. There was no such thing as an Iraqi before 1917(?) or thereabouts. (I'm not bringing my a-game tonight. Sorry.)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 17, 2007 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Remember, according to the GOP a threat (such as sending military forces to the Middle East pre-2003 invasion, Saddam complies, but we have to invade anyway says Princess Bush) is no good unless you actually go through with it, so Gates is clearly stating that the Dems should push for and make deadlines stick.

Posted by: anonymous on April 17, 2007 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

I think that it is about to get really interesting. I think Gates is playing chess with checkers men.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 17, 2007 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

hmmm. Yes, see if the republicans had been calling for a timeline, it would have been a great idea, until it didn't work, when it would have been rebranded as a democratic idea. If democrats call for a timeline, it is emboldening the enemy, until it starts achieving an adminstration objective, at which time it's a miracle that the Dems finally see the GOP wisdom of demanding accountability. see? easy.

Posted by: HermanNewticks on April 17, 2007 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

The President has always maintained he believed in bipartisanship and that he's understood he must work with the Congress.

What Gates means is that the debate the President has had with Congress has shown that the President has the upper hand, and that the Democrats attempts to torpedo the surge will be vetoed and defeated. That sends an important message to the terrorists.

Also, great news that Sader and his heavies have left the government. Now the last impediments to peace in the government are gone.

ANyone care to insist the surge is not having it's affects?

Posted by: egbert on April 17, 2007 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

I think Gates is playing chess with checkers men.

Controlled by the ghost of Nixon's dog, yes, now I understand. . .

Posted by: cld on April 17, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Gates is slimy and seems bland, and he has something nobody else in this administration has, which is a sense of what the country actually wants. Much more dangerous as an infighter than Rumsfeld or Cheney, knows how to use his colorlessness as a weapon. Rumsfeld only knew how to get his fingerprints off things; Gates knows how to smell pretty good to the general public.

I think his aim here is to generate the external pressures that will save the military from bush junior's bathtub-- keeping that procurement pipeline open, which is good for his holdings and buddies at Carlyle-- and maneuver the Democrats into taking the blame for "losing" Iraq.

He's pretty close to untouchable as far as junior is concerned, I think.

BTW, why isn't Cheney the war czar? That job has his name all over it--

Posted by: Altoid on April 17, 2007 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

just a little aside to this conversation:

native americans generally find the "off the rez" lingo to be pretty offensive.

fyi.

Posted by: trypticon on April 17, 2007 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq is an artificial construct and a scrap of the Ottoman Empire. There was no such thing as an Iraqi before 1917(?) or thereabouts. (I'm not bringing my a-game tonight. Sorry.)

Iraq is also home to the culture of Mesopotamia, between the two great rivers of the Tigris and Euphrates, a region which has been bound together for centuries.

Kuwait, I'll give you that one -- it makes no geographic sense (other than to box in an incipient Iraqi state). But Iraq? Its cultural and geographic roots are quite strong, even as we (not necessarily you) seek to minimize it in order to assuage our own guilt for the destruction of Iraqi culture in the looting which followed the invasion.

Posted by: smedleybutler on April 17, 2007 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

Gates is providing cover for GwB by allowing that the Dems aren't all cowards and traitors, that's just for the Fox set, and the Iraqis have to know there's a limit. But just like the Bao Dai regime, the Iraqis know we're in a no win spot,so a "limit" is meaningless.
Saying it don't make it so.

"Genuine independence as we understand it is lacking...Regardless of our united effort, it is a truism that the war can never be successful unless large numbers of the people...open hostility to it and fully support its successful conclusion...
I strongly believe ...cannot succeed...without giving concessions necessary to make the native army a reliable and crusading force."

J.F. Kennedy, June 1953,Senate speech,excerpted from here:
http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pentagon/pent5.htm

Posted by: TJM on April 17, 2007 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

Kennedy later said about the French:
"Every year we are given three sets of assurances: first, that the independence of the Associated States is now complete; second, that the independence of the Associated States will soon be completed under steps "now" being taken; and third, that military victory for the French Union forces is assured, or is just around the corner."
ibid.

Posted by: TJM on April 17, 2007 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, why isn't Cheney the war czar?

He's certainly the czar one way or another. The Executive Management Czar would probably end up reporting to him, which would add a whole other layer of questionable legality.

Checker's tombstone, with voodoo doll.

Posted by: cld on April 17, 2007 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

Princess Bush previously stated that the Iraqis needed to meet some benchmarks, but when the press started asking by when those benchmarks would have to be met and what would happen if they didn't meet the benchmarks, he stopped talking about it because it contradicted his lie that the war is not an open-ended commitment.

Lies, lies, lies, is all the Princess knows how to speak.

Conservatives are willing to spend the next 20 years in Iraq if it means they can avoid responsibility for not winning and they are equally willing to redefine "winning" and "losing" and "democracy" to mean anything necessary to avoid responsibility for what has happened in Iraq.

At best the neocon warmongers were wrong; the evidence suggests worst, that they lied.

Either way, they have lost any credibility on the issue and they clearly cannot be trusted to make the right or honest choices necessary to remove the US from this quagmire.

They are trying to win Vietnam again and their loss is just as inevitable - those who initiate immoral and unjustified wars on the basis of lies deserve the utmost contempt and prosecution for crimes against humanity and for the murderous use of our troops for their own partisan agenda.

Posted by: anonymous on April 17, 2007 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

The Richard Perle 'documentary' is on PBS right now. The fucker keeps making statements which are contrary to evidence. He's setting up strawmen left and right. He even dragged in the notion of Irrational Bush Hatred during a montage of dirty hippie protesters. I'm so pissed from shouting down his bullshit that i had to turn it off.

Funny, the only guys with intellectual integrity on the show were Pat Buchanan and some editor for Al Jazerra. Even the idiots know Richard Perle is full of shit, but he's still gotta get his voice hear. No, dipshit, you're an embarrassment to civilization.

Posted by: absent observer on April 17, 2007 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

Oops, I forgot to ask, anyone care for a hit off this crack pipe I'm smoking?

Posted by: egbert on April 17, 2007 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

My idea of better living through chemistry is biodegradable plastics, thanks.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 17, 2007 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

My husband has been cussing at the TeeVee for an hour. I have been inadvertently exposed to that garbage and now I need a shower.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 17, 2007 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

native americans generally find the "off the rez" lingo to be pretty offensive.

That's why i used the phrase 'keep it in the family'.

Although the 'incest is best' crowd is now screaming bloody murder.

Posted by: absent observer on April 17, 2007 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

When even that crowd is embarrassed by the association, it's really, really bad.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 17, 2007 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

Gates might be the only person in the upper echelons of this entire administration who understands how the personal and the public game of politics is played....

Posted by: Martin Gale on April 17, 2007 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

I look forward to the swiftboating of Gates any time now.

Posted by: craigie on April 17, 2007 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

NOT the new WH party line. Gates playing it smart personally is my guess. After all, what's Bush gonna do, fire him? And get who exactly to replace him?

Posted by: gemini on April 17, 2007 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

I wouldn't be surprised if you who ever wins the Presidency...if they are a democrat...they keep on Robert Gates as their Secretary of Defense...

http://www.americanlegends.blogspot.com/

Posted by: J. Mark English on April 17, 2007 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, mods, stop deleting my posts! The people on here need to know that Sebastian made a violent threat on another thread.

Now, if you have evidence that it was a spoof, then say so. But if it was from our local supposed progressive gun nut, we need to know that.

Posted by: Disputo on April 17, 2007 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

When Cheney read the riot act to Musharaff a month or so ago, he was essentially making the same point: "The Dems in Congress are going to make life really miserable for you unless you show some progress."

Posted by: dns on April 17, 2007 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

"Conservatives are willing to spend the next 20 years in Iraq if it means they can avoid responsibility for not winning and they are equally willing to redefine "winning" and "losing" and "democracy" to mean anything necessary to avoid responsibility for what has happened in Iraq." - anonymous

I don't know. I have a suspicion that something besides the desire not to take responsibility for a failed war is at work here. I have always tended to think that this war was 'all about oil' and geopolitical strategy in the oil-rich middle east. I don't think this administration wants to leave until that goal is accomplished. The US has a sweetheart deal before the Iraqi parliament
on oil rights at the moment but I think the 'powers that be' in this country also really want a foothold in Iraq from which to control any lack of fealty by any other country in the region. This is why Hillary's vision of a 'residual force' in Iraq after a major withdrawal makes me nervous, coming after her rather hawkish support of the war. I may be letting my conspiratorial tendencies get the better of me, but something is afoot besides a blemish on the Bush legacy, a legacy that will be seen as one big festering boil in any case.

Posted by: nepeta on April 17, 2007 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

Applications for a new Defense Secretary are being sent out, due to Gates' alcohol and/or family issues...

Posted by: AkaDad on April 17, 2007 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

Gates has made a few statements indicating that he isn't completely insane. Of course, he's a wingnut and a Bush partisan, or he wouldn't have the job. Just the same, he is reality-based enough that I expect he won't hold the job for long. Sooner or later he will piss off the Boy King.

Posted by: Joe Buck on April 17, 2007 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

Qubad Talabani said the same thing not too long ago, and he speaks for his father Jalal.

Gates is running DOD with the notion that his position is to serve the nation, not the president. Witness also his changes to intel practices, use of contractors, etc, etc.

Posted by: bubba on April 17, 2007 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't Gates a servant of Bush 41?

If so that would make lots of sense as part of Bush 41's effort to rain in Bush the Mad.

Posted by: MNPundit on April 17, 2007 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

I just read the wikipedia piece on Gates. I hadn't realized the 'strangeness' of Gates' appointment as CIA Director by Bush I in May 1991 in the midst of the Iran/Contra hearings in which Gates was being investigated. The Senate Intelligence Committee chairman requested that the Independent Counsel provide any information that would have bearing on Gates' fitness for the CIA post. Obviously Grand Jury Secrecy Rules limited what info the IC could provide, but he rushed the investigation of Gates over the summer and then reported that Gates' Iran/Contra activities and testimony didn't warrant prosecution. However, questions remained and the investigation remained open, particularly in regard to one witness who refused to testify. I don't trust Gates further than I could throw him, regardless of his positive actions taken to date as Sec of Def.

Posted by: nepeta on April 17, 2007 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't Gates a servant of Bush 41?

No. Gates is a servant of Gates.

I have been advising caution about the man since his name surfaced as the nominee.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 17, 2007 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Mixed Signals from within the Administration - - on the very question of whether Mixed Signals are always bad

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/04/20070403.html

April 3, 2007
President Bush Makes Remarks on the Emergency Supplemental
The Rose Garden
10:09 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: . . . I think setting an artificial timetable for withdrawal is a significant mistake. It is a -- it sends mixed signals and bad signals to the region, and to the Iraqi citizens . . .
- - President Bush, as reported by the White House
http://washingtontimes.com/world/20070417-114819-7177r.htm
World Scene
April 18, 2007
Gates finds blessing in push for timetable
AMMAN, Jordan -- The push by Democrats to set a timetable for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq has been helpful in showing the Iraqis that American patience is limited, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said yesterday. At the same time, Mr. Gates renewed his opposition to congressional approval of a timetable. Both the House and Senate have passed bills calling for an end to the war, and President Bush has said he would veto either version. "I've been pretty clear that I think the enactment of specific deadlines would be a bad mistake," Mr. Gates said.
"But I think the debate itself, and I think the strong feelings expressed in the Congress about the timetable ... probably has had a positive impact -- at least I hope it has in terms of communicating to the Iraqis that this is not an open-ended commitment," he said.
- - Secretary Gates, as reported in the Washington Times
Despite his disclaimer -- that timetables and deadlines are good, but only if NOT enacted -- Secretary Gates is clearly stating that President Bush's policy of open-ended commitment is wrong and/or unsustainable.

Pelosi and Reid should hold a joint press conference, and accuse the Administration of sending mixed signals.

Posted by: PJ on April 18, 2007 at 3:23 AM | PERMALINK

In response to Kevin's explicit request for help on "who else in the Bush admin has said the Dems push has helped in negotiations" I believe it was Condi a couple of months ago. If I had a month to search C&L I could probably find you the video.

Posted by: wvng on April 18, 2007 at 5:16 AM | PERMALINK

Gates sounds like he doesn't think democratic representation is important in Iraq - more evidence of the disdain conservatives have for basic American principles of governance.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on April 18, 2007 at 6:41 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney and Rice have both made similar comments. I hope some reporter runs through them at Bush's next conference.

Posted by: JPS on April 18, 2007 at 7:05 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. Gates is off the reservation, and Dick Cheney will see that his blasphemy does not stand.

Posted by: Donal from Hawaii on April 18, 2007 at 7:59 AM | PERMALINK

I expect we'd best listen to Gen. Gates.

um, I don't think he's a general, he's Defense Secretary--which make the comments even more notable.

Posted by: haha on April 18, 2007 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

You will all hopefully note the difference between rhetoric and budgetarily imposed military restraint. If the Democrats wanted to send exactly Gates' message, they can issue non-binding resolutions.

Posted by: Cobb on April 18, 2007 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Story Highlights
• At least 157 people killed on Wednesday in series of bombings in Baghdad
• 112 dead, 94 wounded in Sadriya market in central Baghdad
• U.S. troops kill six suspected terrorists near cities of Falluja, Taji, and Mosul

So, ex-liberal, CNN does report the "good news" along with the bad, pretty much making you a liar.

Only problem is, six dead suspected terrorists just neither outweighs nor minimizes 157 dead known innocent civilians.

And 157 dead versus 6 dead is no indication of progress or a "surge" that is working.

Your pathetic, dishonest, and apologistic rhetoric defending Princess Bush notwithstanding.

Posted by: anonymous on April 18, 2007 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

this is a beautiful thing ...
the more higher up officials come around to the positions of the Congressional Democrats, the greater the risk to all the GOP candidates out there - Romney, McCain, and Giuliani - who continue to parrot Bush's party line of staying the course and refuasl to negotiate with the catch-all "terrorists." To adopt their message to the populist themes that the Congressional Democrats have seemed to have all found their voice around, the greater the risk they have of alienating their base. And if they alienate their base, they can't win the primaries and thus they - obviously - can't possibly get elected president. So instead of co-opting this populist language, one of the three buffoons will continue to use the President's disaterous stance on Iraq/W.O.T. thus increasing their chancres to win their own party's national primary, and then get trounced in the general election come the Fall of '08. It will be a total catch-22 and all 3 candidates realize it but can't do anything about it.

Like I told you - it's a beautiful thing.

Posted by: ny patriot on April 18, 2007 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

I have been advising caution about the man since his name surfaced as the nominee.

Honestly his actions (that we know of) as Defense Secretary have raised few red flags... so far so good when you consider this is the Bush Administration.

Posted by: MNPundit on April 18, 2007 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

anonymous,

But, but, but all of those newly arrived pallets of Sherwin-Williams paint.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 18, 2007 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

One thing I've never understood is this. Why is setting a timetable with benchmarks for withdrawal of our troops eighteen months from now a bad idea, but telling our enemy exactly where our "surge" will be is not a bad idea? We are told the insurgents will just wait us out if we set a timetable. It's more likely they just move when we tell them where we will be. Bottom line is if we don't have enough troops to pacify the entire country we should get out.

Posted by: Rich Jones on April 18, 2007 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Colin Powell deserved the esteem in which he was held before he went to work for W, and he deserved to lose his sterling reputation when he failed to fight back against the administration's disasterous policies. Maybe Gates has noticed this.

Posted by: HStewart on April 18, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

The "surge" is like this:

There is a dike in another country with 100 holes in it through which water is pouring.

A town in the another country is threatened with desruction if the dike is not repaired.

The dike and its repair have no consequence to the security of the nation led by Princess Bush.

A boy approaches the Princess and tells him that if we stick a 100 fingers in each of the holes and shore up the dike's structure, the dike (and town) will be saved.

The Princess tells the boy to go stick his finger in one of the holes.

The boy does so and the water stops flowing through that hole.

But another hole pops up 50 feet away, resulting in an undiminished total of 100 leaks in the dike.

Nevertheless, the Princess announces to all the world that the boy's plan is working and there has been improvement in the local situation (the immeidate locality of the hole plugged) dishonestly implying to the citizenry that this local improvement is in accordance with the boy's original plan and represents a global improvement in the dike's structure as a whole, despite knowing that this isn't even remotely a true implication.

The Princess also proclaims that saving the dike has saved the country led by the Princess.

The Princess's followers (e.g., ex-liberal) chime in and encourage this false belief, dishonestly insisting that those who criticize the Princess's plan and announcement are disrespecting the boy's plan, undermining the Princess, and ignoring real improvement in the situation.

They castigate the critics for placing the country led by the Princess in danger, despite knowing this to be a false assertion.

The people of the country led by the Princess despair, because they know the Princess will continue to lie about and implement this failed plan no matter the consequences.

And they know that the Princess's consort, Count s'Chameless, is even worse.

The Count believes (or at least purports to believe) that there are no holes in the dike.

Posted by: anonymous on April 18, 2007 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Rich Jones:Why is setting a timetable with benchmarks for withdrawal of our troops eighteen months from now a bad idea, but telling our enemy exactly where our "surge" will be is not a bad idea?

Tsk, tsk. Sounds as though you need a refresher on techniques for holding two contradictory beliefs simultaneously. Report to the nearest Republican Party Headquarters for a lobotomy--I mean re-education course.

Posted by: cowalker on April 18, 2007 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Oops, that's "stick a finger in each of the 100 holes."

Apologies.

Posted by: anonymous on April 18, 2007 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

anonymous,

As snorkling becomes the national past time.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 18, 2007 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Gates off Reservation?

The Iraqi duty extension: Clunk!!
.
It seemed odd that the three month extension was announced prior to briefing the troops. It also seemed odd that it had no political content attached to it. It made me wonder if Gates had his own agenda and was walking outside the politically lockstep Bush administration.

Now I learn that the extension, which highlights a broken military and more Bush/Cheney incompetence, was leaked before it could be tuned up in the GOP propaganda shop.

I absolutely love it. It makes me laugh.

The briefing to the troops should be,"Sorry guys that we have to increase the chance of your tired asses' dying by 25% on this rotation but we've screwed this occupation thing up from the beginning and well, we're sorry."

The result of the leak appears to be the odd victory for truth over the Soviet style propaganda apparatus pronouncement we have come to expect from 'reality central', i.e. the White House.

"It's all the fault of the people that are trying to bring you back home," they could have said.

Posted by: craig jjohnson on April 18, 2007 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

egbert: ANyone care to insist the surge is not having it's affects?

I think you mean good "effects".


anyhow, bad news today:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070418/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq

more bad news: the airport in Basra was closed due to Katyusha rockets fired on it. I wish there had been more widespread reportage that the airport was operating and supporting the commerce in Basra. That said, this was bad news.

Posted by: spider on April 18, 2007 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

And I expect news stories about Gates being replaced in 3...2...

Posted by: The Political Gamer on April 19, 2007 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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