Wednesday :: Nov 30, 2005

No Measurable Benchmarks In Bush Iraq Strategy


by Steve


(Picture courtesy of Swopa at Needlenose, recommended by Simp)

So after the usual hoopla from the White House spin operation about today’s announcement being a major address, and after blogger Michael Petrelis noted that only one in five of the San Francisco Bay Area TV stations carried the address live this morning, Bush rolled out his “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq” today to a Stepford largely-supportive audience at the Annapolis Naval Academy. The document is long and impressive, until you realize that despite the Senate policy resolution earlier this month, there are no measurable benchmarks anywhere in the strategy for Congress or our media to assess progress or the lack of it. Also, the document is silent on two key issues: who controls Iraqi oil, and whether or not the United States plans to have a permanent presence in the country.

The document dismisses concerns over the number of bombings as “metrics that the terrorists and insurgents want the world to use.” So if such “metrics” are irrelevant, then why is the Bush Administration still touting Vietnam-era body counts?

The Washington Post’s initial piece on the strategy and speech was little more than stenography, and the piece in the NYT did not provide much more. The only piece of substance so far has been the AP piece by Deb Riechmann.

The early returns on the AOL online poll about the speech indicate that more than three-quarters of those who took the poll say that their opinion of Bush’s handling of Iraq and his strategy has either not changed or has actually lowered, and 65% say that after hearing about his speech, the United States will not achieve victory in Iraq.

This was just another “Karl, get them off my back” maneuver by Bush and Rove, masquerading as a serious policy announcement. To be fair to Bush, there was no chance that he was going to break new, noticeable ground today, since changing course isn’t really in his DNA. But the real question will be to see how this thumb-in-the-eye to McCain, Warner, and Lindsey Graham will go down in Congress.

Update: Read this fine piece by Jeffrey Feldman of Frameshop.com over at DailyKos on how well Senator Russ Feingold has mastered the effective framing necessary to challenge Bush's policies, whereas John Kerry regrettably still has not.

(Original post modified to address commenter Merle's valid point that I shouldn't denigrate the service of the Academy members. Good point Merle, and the service and commitment shown by your child is to be respected and honored by all, including me.)

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