Thursday, June 14, 2007

Nathan Thurm, Redux

You may recall the wonderful Saturday Night Live send up of nearly any corporate executive you've ever seen interviewed on 60 Minutes, as well as many of the producers of SNL, that Martin Short created, Nathan Thurm.

That was the first image that struck me as I read this story this morning:
Amid unrelenting bloodshed in Iraq and scant signs of progress by the Iraqi government in meeting political benchmarks, the White House sought to temper expectations of rapid strides resulting from a security crackdown begun at the start of this year.

"I have warned from the very beginning about expecting some sort of magical thing to happen in September," White House spokesman Tony Snow told reporters on Wednesday.

"What I would suggest is, rather than it's, sort of, a pivotal moment, it is the first opportunity to be able to take a look at what happens when you've got (the troop increase) up and running fully for a period of months," he added. "It is naive to think, suddenly -- boom -- you snap a finger and you've got an instant change in the situation."

One might think, Mr. Snow, about checking the State department website before running yo' mouf, beeyatch:
One reporter asked Petraeus whether the September assessment would be truthful if the general and ambassador determine troop levels should be reduced because the mission is not succeeding.

Petraeus replied, “I have an obligation to some wonderful young men and women in uniform, and a lot of civilians by the way, who are serving in Iraq and who deserve a forthright assessment from the folks at the top about the situation on the ground, and that’s what I’m going to provide them.”
But hey, don't let that harsh your mellow, Mr. Snow. I'm sure that when September comes, and you start losing Republican Senators to the antiwar movement in Congress, you'll find some way to frame it as an encouraging sign, just as the administration has done all along with its abject failure to impose a new government in Iraq.

Now, admittedly, Petraeus has backed off that statement in recent weeks. I can't imagine why, other than the fact that the surge is clearly not working and the good folks at Acme War College have to come up with yet again another delaying tactic for the 2008 election that doesn't include troop reductions (at least, not superficially).

Bush tried laying the groundwork for a positive assessment of the surge two months ago after meeting with Petraeus:
"There's been some progress," Bush said during a press briefing after his meeting. "There's been some horrific bombings, of course. There's also been a decline in sectarian violence."
Yeah. Say it with me, children...Oops!

As Nathan Thurm would say, "I know that! Why wouldn't I know that? I'm well aware of that!"