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July 27, 2005

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There are new stories in the WaPo and the NYT tomorrow morning. The Pincus/VanderHei one, which seems to rely on CIA sources, says that Fitz is also looking at how the WH tried to shift blame to the CIA for the 16 words, and says that the CIA drafted the Tenet press release with only minor WH edits. The title is "Prosecutor in CIA Leak Case Casting a Wide Net." The NYT one seems to be sourced to Ari Fleischer's lawyer and tries to exonerate him.

To the extent the investigation does go back to the 16 words, and if it looks into that story, especially the Niger forgeries, it could impact Bush's credibility still further. The nuclear scare was the key piece of the Bush propaganda effort, and if it comes to be seen as the fraud it clearly was, a significant prop for the war is gone.

Also, Kevin Drum points out the new-found moral relativism of the GOP in essentially arguing that outing Valerie Plame was a service because the CIA keeps too many secrets.

Apparently, the problems with Bush's war are both on the right and left. Link from Daily Kos.

Let me just say how pleased I am to see others making use of the phrase, "to the extent." In looking back over my own writing over the past week or so, you'd think I was being paid to popularize it or something.

The 52% number for D's is surprising. But I'm adjusting my thoughts even further about appearances vs. reality in terms of politics. D's have recently "appeared" in coverage relatively tight and focused, and their opponents are reeling (message discipline, decent strategic moves, etc.). Only a few weeks ago there was handwringing about poll numbers that showed R's down, but D's not up. "Oh, we're still failing at standing up for who we are....blah blah..." Maybe national-scale changes in public opinion on complicated topics can swing even faster than I thought.

There has always been a strong isolationist streak on the right, up to the and even past the point when we entered WWII. This was put in abeyance somewhat to fight the Communist Menace, then the GWOT, but can't have disappeared altogether, and was bound to pop up once the war didn't look winnable.

But I have been wondering when it would surface again, and the "ungrateful Iraqis" or some similar theme would be invoked on the Right to support bringing the troops home. Maybe the Fitzgerald investigation will morph into the 21st century version of the Nye Committee after WWI.

Caution. A strong majority -- 64% -- believe the war is winnable. A minority believe it will be won.

As in Vietnam, that leaves a fertile playfield for scapegoating.

"Who lost Iraq?" The media? The liberals? Who?

I wonder how big a percentage of those 21% who think the Iraw war "could" be won philosophically overlap with those Americans who believed that Vietnam could have been won if only the military had been unleashed "to do the job right," as if anything short of nukes would have achieved ... ahem ... victory.

Mimikatz - There was a strong isolationist streak on the Right, in the WH in fact, on September 10. Bush had de-emphasized foreign policy, turned his back on the Israel-Palestinian issue, and was only interested in strategic missile defense, an idea with deep isolationist roots.

RonK and Meteor Blades - I think that for a surprising number of people, "winning" is a metaphysical thing. They believe that Iraq will be a stable democracy when carpets fly, and it's not our problem. But they want to see us march out of there with flags flying, not scrambling aboard the last helo out.

To be cynical in a good cause (is that an oxymoron, or just casuistry?), the way to get out is to do just that. Set a date and keep it, and blame the Iraqis for whatever happens afterwards. Pass the word through back channels to the insurgency players that if they make us fight our way out we will f*ck with the Sunni Triangle big time; if they let us leave without a hassle, we'll go our way and they can go theirs.

Iraq will probably dissolve into civil war, but it will be out of the news, and no one will care what goes on there, outside of a small circle of friends.

-- Rick Robinson

Here it comes: Iraqis want to set a timetable

You are right, Rick and Ron. The timetable will be set, the troops will start home, and when that starts it won't reverse. We'll see what happens.

Have to mention though, the Dems have not positioned themselves to get any credit when the inevitable withdrawal happens. Reps morph into the party that brought peace? That is a serious possibility absent any audible Dem opposition to the war, beyond "we screwed up how we did it."

Rick -- A couple of problems with the "call it a win and get out" model. First, it didn't satisfy the "we could have one if only ..." crowd in the case of Vietnam, or Korea, or China, or Eastern Europe after WW II. A lot of people will know we've lost, and lost stature and geopolitical advantage, and they won't be so easily pacified. A smaller but significant number will know they've lost arms and legs and sons and daughters, and they will be harder to pacify.

Second, chaos is Iraq will have trouble staying off the evening news. Chaos in Iraq means chaos in the oil patch, and that can mean chaos everywhere on the globe.

Perhaps we should be making mention of the fact it looks like the Iraqi Constitution will diminish Wonen's Rights, at least compared to the earlier documents. I realize Women's Rights were hardly anyone's reason for engaging in war -- but eliminating some is hardly something Bush would want to be credited with.

Likewise, I don't think we have paid as much attention as needed to the seeming alliance between the Iran government and the Shite leadership of the current Iraqi government. Perhaps asking some questions about why this looks to be the outcome would help Bush's poll numbers continue to go in the right direction.

I suspect the Saudi decision to pull Bandar out of DC may have lots to do with creating a greater (nuclear positive and oil rich) Shite empire in the Middle East -- something the Saudi's cannot support.

Question is -- was this always in Bush's plan -- or did a rug merchant sell him a machine made fake antique.

"Iran Won in Iraq" is what makes me nervous about war with Iran. Yeah, we have no troops, but we still have an air force. And Cheney knows not the meaning of "wrong, again".

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