Sunday, June 19, 2005

Will The Last Throe To Leave Please Turn Out The Lights?

When normally reliable ABC News meat puppet Terry Moran starts getting uppity, it's a sure sign that the wheels are coming off your agitpropmobile.

After McClellan outlined the president's plans, leading up to a key June 28th speech, ABC correspondent Terry Moran asked a pointed question, which referred back to an assessment recently made by Vice President Dick Cheney.

Q Scott, is the insurgency in Iraq in its 'last throes'?

McCLELLAN: Terry, you have a desperate group of terrorists in Iraq that are doing everything they can to try to derail the transition to democracy. The Iraqi people have made it clear that they want a free and democratic and peaceful future. And that's why we're doing everything we can, along with other countries, to support the Iraqi people as they move forward….

Q But the insurgency is in its last throes?

McCLELLAN: The Vice President talked about that the other day -- you have a desperate group of terrorists who recognize how high the stakes are in Iraq. A free Iraq will be a significant blow to their ambitions.

Q But they're killing more Americans, they're killing more Iraqis. That's the last throes?

McCLELLAN: Innocent -- I say innocent civilians. And it doesn't take a lot of people to cause mass damage when you're willing to strap a bomb onto yourself, get in a car and go and attack innocent civilians. That's the kind of people that we're dealing with. That's what I say when we're talking about a determined enemy.

Et cetera, et cetera. (Not to be confused with the tiresome malaprop "ect.". Unlike "ect.", etc. actually stands for something, actually means something. "Ect." simply means that you don't know what etc. stands for, because you're not paying attention to what you're doing. It's a small but potent distinction; it bespeaks attention to detail. I'd bet $100 that George W. Bush uses "ect.".)

Anyway. Note how artlessly, as always, McClellan attempts to elide the details and evade the thrust of Moran's unusually persistent questioning. One can assume that McClellan is probably all teary-eyed and wistful for the dog-tag salad days of Jeff Gannon™, he of the creampuff questions and 8" of swinging man-root.

Naturally, McClellan never did give Moran a straight answer, despite about five or six game attempts on Moran's part. But that's understandable -- if McClellan told the truth, that Cheney didn't know or care what he was estimating the potency of, that words to these people are only for impact and never actually mean anything substantial, McClellan would be looking for another job forthwith.

Another ominous portent for the non-reality-based claque is the impending defection of one of their stalwarts, Chuck Hagel. Hagel, who actually showed up for duty while W was preparing for his career in manure spreadin' and brush clearin' by branding Deke pledges on the ass with a red-hot coat hanger, is surely burnishing his maverick rep for an '08 run at the current philosopher-king's place of residence.

Yet Hagel has the gravitas that a callow chump like Bush can only dream about, if Bush could indeed have any dream besides one in which he's walking down the halls of his high school in his underwear, and everyone notices except him.

Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel is angry. He's upset about the more than 1,700 U.S. soldiers killed and nearly 13,000 wounded in Iraq. He's also aggravated by the continued string of sunny assessments from the Bush administration, such as Vice President Dick Cheney's recent remark that the insurgency is in its "last throes." "Things aren't getting better; they're getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality," Hagel tells U.S. News. "It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq."

These are pretty strong words. If they'd been uttered by Howard Dean, every Bush flack and Nixon hack would be jockeying for position on Hannity & Colmes to verbally cast his treasonous ass into the fiery pits of hell.

But it's Chuck Hagel here, actual Vietnam vet, serious policy guy, non-bombthrower, no rep as a loose cannon. His only rep is similar to that of John McCain, that he strays off the reservation too often for the comfort of the suits pulling the strings. Holy shit, he says what he actually thinks!

You can see why this might be cause for alarm in the neo-con policymaking circles. Their ivory-tower wet dreams may be undone by the untermenschen on the ground, who may take umbrage at being consigned to IED fodder in a rapidly accelerating civil war, while the think-tank drones are in the rear with the gear. True to Trotskyist form, the neo-cons will be forced to continue and increase their unholy alliance with the theo-cons, while the serious policy-making arm of the party of Lincoln continues to wither from disuse.

A Wall Street Journal poll chronicles the continued slide in popularity for the brain trust, most notably for the geniuses at the top of the heap:

President Bush's job approval rating remains in a slump, far below his post-9/11 high, with less than half of Americans saying he is doing an "excellent" or "pretty good job," and 55% ranking his performance as "only fair" or "poor," a Harris Interactive poll shows.

All I want to know is what the 45% are smoking, and is it medicinal. My anecdotal experience is that self-described conservatives tend more and more to have the fallback position, when challenged on core principles versus actual policies, that the current gang is at least "better than Kerry would have been".

Obviously this is intellectually dishonest, as you can't prove a negative, and the poll questions aren't asking something so speculative anyway. Or they might feel that Bush could do "better" if not for those obstructionist Demo-rats. This is what I call the "Scooby Doo" defense -- they would have gotten away with it, if it wasn't for those meddling kids. Opposition parties are supposed to oppose, and that function is critical in avoiding a rubber-stamp banana republic. ¿Comprende, amigos?

So that's no excuse either; it's part of the landscape, like it or not. Indeed, it seems very safe to speculate that had Kerry won, he would have had to deal with a Republican wingnut-dominated Congress that would have screamed to high hell 24/7 on Faux News if Kerry had said so much as "nice weather today".

No, the poll merely asks what you think about the job each person is doing, and while I continue to take issue with the ulterior motives of the willfully blind who could give an answer like "good" or (choke) "excellent" in reference to this guy, let's just accept it and point out that regardless, the poll numbers are consistently slipping. As pointed out before, Bush's poll numbers are a good twenty points lower than Bill Clinton's were when he got impeached.

As Vacation Boy continues his never-ending sabbatical from all non-brush-clearin' related activities, don't be surprised if you start hearing the word "chimpeachment" more and more. Catchy, ain't it?

And as the Downing Street Memo slowly but surely gains traction and resonance among the three-digit IQ set, as more and more unsavory reports about some of our tactics get coverage, the more unpopular these people will get.

The administration's solution seems to be a heady mix of saber-rattling and shoulder-shrugging. With all of our international credibility squandered, neither does us much good. Oh, we could still take out Syria, though they are reputed to have a sizable chemical weapons cache, which would surely mean more grisly US casualties.

Or we could do some surgical strikes on Iran's nucular plants, which would piss off Iran just enough to decide to take Israel down with them -- if such an event as us attacking Iran didn't warrant Russian or even Chinese involvement in the first place. Believe the Pooty-Poot's soul stuff all you want, but he's a very cagey guy, and this is clearly an alliance of convenience. Thwarting Putin's commercial endeavors in Iran with acts of war throws the whole game into the air.

And judging by recent reports of dismal recruiting numbers, and overt attempts to dragoon teenagers into the armed forces, don't look for bolstered troop levels any time soon, unless you're ready for a draft.

And maybe we are ready for a draft; maybe this sort of thing requires that we all have some skin in the game. Maybe we need the point hammered home that none of this is free, that ribbons and songs don't mean squat, that all this oil we keep pissing away has a cost attached. Maybe the masters of the universe should try diddling with geopolitical realities using the lives of their own kids as well as everyone else's. Maybe the threat of draft lotteries will force Americans to turn off American Idol for five minutes and pay attention, to wait and see if Pierce Bush will be drafted right along with the kid down your block, or if this war is only for the poor to fight.

Is there even a sliver of doubt in your mind as to how that question resolves?


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