BUSH AND BLAIR….The Los Angeles Times ran a story today with this headline:

U.S.-British Strategy Puts 6-Week Time Limit on Iraq

I keep reading stories likes these implying that the 6-week deadline is some kind of strategic compromise forged by George and Tony. But I’ve also been reading for the past couple of weeks that the military deployment won’t be ready until mid-March. That’s six weeks.

So why do the media play along with this game, when it’s clear where the 6-week number is really coming from? What’s the deal?

Meanwhile, Ronald Brownstein reports from elsewhere on the transatlantic front that Blair is getting diddly from his pal George despite being by far his most committed and unwavering partner:

That steadfast support has exposed Blair to increasing dissent from within his own Labor Party and contributed to a precipitous fall in his poll numbers from a British public skeptical of war. Blair has climbed out on a limb as far as one head of state ever does for another.

….Yet Bush, at the leaders’ joint press conference Friday, made only the most grudging of concessions to Blair’s political needs. Arriving in Washington, Blair’s top priority was to win Bush’s commitment to pursue a second resolution at the United Nations authorizing an invasion if Saddam Hussein doesn’t imminently disarm — a step Blair believes is essential to both broadening international support and tolerance in England for an attack.

….Once the process starts rolling, U.S. diplomats may join the British in pushing a second resolution. But Bush could not have been much more contemptuous of the idea — Blair’s top priority — if he had held up a sign that said: “Who cares?”

Many moderate Democrats learned last year that voting for Bush’s programs earned them nothing except contempt and an all-out effort to unseat them in November. Blair is learning that even being “Bush’s poodle” isn’t enough to win any loyalty from him. A couple of months ago Bush casually rubbished Blair’s desire to restart the Israel-Palestine peace negotiations, and now there’s this.

Tony Blair’s sincere belief that Saddam Hussein is a menace is palpable. But considering the way Bush has treated him, I wonder how long he’ll put up with this shabby, small-minded treatment once the war is over? Probably not very long.

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