I See Bad News A-Risin’

Bush Press Conference

I’m reading a book, News: The Politics of Illusion, which broaches the subject of Bush’s at first tenuous, later discredited claims about terrorist connections and WMD in Iraq — a subject the media were glad to continue discussing as possibilities long after they were proven to be fairy tales.

I’m experiencing an eerie sense of familiarity with a few articles in the “liberal” media in the past weeks — starting on Jan. 26, “Bush Defends Moving Against Iranians Who Help Shiites Attack U.S.-Led Forces in Iraq,” with this lede (preempting criticism, yes, it’s spelled that way):

President Bush and his senior aides on Friday justified American actions against Iranian operatives inside Iraq as necessary to protect American troops and Iraqis, and said they would continue as long as Tehran kept up what they called its support for Shiites involved in sectarian attacks.

A full ten graphs down the page comes some detail I would have appreciated a little sooner, and which most readers never hit:

President Bush kicked off a campaign of escalated rhetoric against Iran during a televised address to the nation on Jan. 10. For months, officials from across the Bush administration have accused Iran of supplying Shiite militias with high-tech explosives and training them to carry out attacks with roadside bombs.

Administration officials have thus far provided little detailed public evidence to support these claims. Officials said that Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador in Baghdad, is planning a news conference for Wednesday during which he will present a dossier of Iran’s efforts to fuel sectarian violence in Iraq.

Incidentally, Khalilzad spoke of trying to help increase security and open a bank, but that’s neither here nor there — the US is giving Iran the silent treatment, anyway. In today’s “Iran May Have Trained Attackers That Killed 5 American Soldiers, U.S. and Iraqis Say”, it gets better.

BAGHDAD, Jan. 30 — Investigators say they believe that attackers who used American-style uniforms and weapons to infiltrate a secure compound and kill five American soldiers in Karbala on Jan. 20 may have been trained and financed by Iranian agents, according to American and Iraqi officials knowledgeable about the inquiry.

The officials said the sophistication of the attack astonished investigators, who doubt that Iraqis could have carried it out on their own — one reason a connection to Iran is being closely examined. Officials cautioned that no firm conclusions had been drawn and did not reveal any direct evidence of a connection.

The worst part of the Bush’s lies in the run up to Iraq is that he cried wolf. And the worst part about the media is they keep loading their shotguns, reporting suspicions as facts, then only later revealing they lack substance. Bush should learn a different way to deal with hostile nations, and the press should think about the implications of reporting such claims as news– otherwise the U.S. is in for another round of hype, topple, truth, and quagmire.

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4 Responses to I See Bad News A-Risin’

  1. anoodle says:

    Great post. It is eerily similar to the fall of 2002, and I worry about the real threats that may be out there. I don’t doubt for a second that Iran would like nothing better than to see Israel wiped off the face of the earth, and to see Iraq become a shia partner in the region dominated by sunni regimes. But I worry that, once again, our fearless leaders will embark on an important mission carelessly and without a whole lot of forethought. I would argue that the mission in Afghanistan was a noble one, but has been executed horribly. The argument could be made (although I would disagree with it’s necessity), that the Iraqi war was at it’s heart, a liberal cause. Spreading liberty and democracy is, in essence, a liberal, internationalist idea. But when you sell a war to the American people under false pretenses, execute it poorly, fail to anticipate the consequences of occupation, and fail to convince the Iraqi people of your good intentions, you fail. A good policy executed poorly equals a poor policy.

    Now the situation in Iran is even worse. Even if you assume for a second that every report we’re hearing is true (which they probably are not), the Iraqi debacle has so weakened our military that we are in no position to deal effectively with an Iranian threat. You’re talking about going to war with 70 million people. Iran would make Iraq look like Grenada.

    And what the hell happened to diplomacy? Would it be the worst thing in the world for Bush to convene a regional conference (a la the Iraq Study Group), and discuss some of the current Iraqi problems with other regional powers? What’s he afraid of, losing face?

  2. I do marvel that the Bush Administration has credibility in any quarter, or that anything that man says merits serious discussion. The one worthwhile thing seen in the “W” years could e that the Office of the President has only the limits it chooses to accept; it may be time to give sober and rational thought to the entire idea and practice of the presidency. For my part I think we need a new government, not just new names on office doors.

  3. poldemics says:

    From slate.com:

    “And there is distrust in Washington. I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town. And I’m sorry it’s the case, and I’ll work hard to try to elevate it.”— President Bush, Speaking on National Public Radio, Jan. 29, 2007.

  4. askewed says:

    He’s going to try to elevate the level of distrust?

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