Steve and Jen bring you this daily review of the news
Premium Advertiser

News Blog Sponsors

News Links

BBC World Service
The Guardian
Washington Post
Iraq Order of Battle
NY Times
LA Times
ABC News

Blogs We Like

Daily Kos
Digby's Blog
Operation Yellow Elephant
Iraq Casualty Count
Media Matters
Talking Points
Defense Tech
Intel Dump
Soldiers for the Truth
Margaret Cho
Juan Cole
Just a Bump in the Beltway
Baghdad Burning
Howard Stern
Michael Moore
James Wolcott
Cooking for Engineers
There is No Crisis
Whiskey Bar
Rude Pundit
Crooks and Liars
Amazin' Avenue
DC Media Girl
The Server Logs

Blogger Credits

Powered by Blogger

Archives by
Publication Date
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
Comments Credits
Comments by YACCS
Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Weak governments fail

Alexander Kerensky

In Iraq Visit, Bush Seizes on a Step Forward

Published: June 14, 2006

WASHINGTON, June 13 — In visiting Baghdad on Tuesday, President Bush was trying to deliver a carefully calibrated message to Americans: that Iraq and the administration's strategy there appear to be turning a corner, but troops will not be withdrawn anytime soon.

Mr. Bush could have spoken with Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki by secure videoconference from Camp David. Instead, he embraced Mr. Maliki both figuratively and literally — at the same time embracing the political reality that Iraq is so central to his presidency that he cannot escape developments there, and must try instead to make the most of any good news.

"I'm impressed by the strength of your character and your desire to succeed," the president told the new prime minister, as the officials he left behind — Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — watched via remote video link. "And I'm impressed by your strategy."

It was powerful political theater, choreographed by an experienced team that played up the drama and secrecy of the moment, and were rewarded with a day of relatively unfiltered cable news coverage. The trip, including a stealthy nighttime helicopter departure from Camp David, unfolded with the precision of a campaign event, complete with the image of the commander in chief addressing cheering American troops.

But it was also a gamble. For Mr. Bush, the new Iraqi government is a life preserver, evidence of progress toward the goal of establishing democracy in a hostile environment.

Since the killing last week of the jihadist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, polls have shown some tentative signs of a reversal in the slide in public support for the war. Some foreign policy analysts, even those critical of Mr. Bush, see glimmers of hope."It's been a steady drumbeat of disastrous tactical news, so this is a very significant event," said one of those critics, Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired Army commander, referring to the formation of the new government. "This is the decisive turning point, not whacking Zarqawi."

Yet experience suggests that steps forward with Iraq are often followed by more violence, which in turn erodes any surge in public support for the war.

And the fledgling Baghdad government is both fragile and untested. So the administration is putting all of its diplomatic and bureaucratic muscle behind Mr. Maliki, with the goals of turning things around in Iraq, putting a floor under the president's plummeting job approval ratings and keeping the war from leading to a Republican defeat in Congressional elections in November.

Is there a Minister of Defense? Interior? No?

By the end of the summer, we're going to see the government collapse, because there is no government, just interest groups. Everyone is jockeying for power while the country collapses into even greater anarchy. As long as we are screwing around with Iran, Iraqi instability is guaranteed.

Anyone who takes Bush at his word needs to stop playing with sharp objects.

posted by Steve @ 1:35:00 AM

1:35:00 AM

The News Blog home page


Editorial Staff

Add to My AOL

Support The News Blog

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More
News Blog Food Blog
Visit the News Blog Food Blog
The News Blog Shops
Operation Yellow Elephant
Enlist, Young Republicans