Political Animal


SHOOTING THE MESSENGER….Judy Keen’s profile of George Bush in USA Today has come in for much ridicule due to its exceptionally fawning tone, and rightfully so. On the other hand, I guess everyone deserves a puff piece once in a while, and this is Bush’s for April.

Here’s the paragraph that struck me the most:

News coverage of the war often irritates him. He’s infuriated by reporters and retired generals who publicly question the tactics of the war plan. Bush let senior Pentagon officials know that he was peeved when Lt. Gen. William Wallace, the Army’s senior ground commander in Iraq, said last week that guerrilla fighting, Iraqi resistance and sandstorms have made a longer war more likely. But Bush has told aides that he wants to hear all the news from the front ? good and bad.

Let me get this straight: he was “peeved” when Wallace said Iraqi tactics made a longer war more likley, but he also says he wants to hear all the news, “good and bad.”

I can tell you from experience that you can’t have it both ways. If you get peeved when people come through the office door with bad news, they’re going to stop coming. After all, Bush is the boss, and no one wants to make the boss mad.

Or is it that he just doesn’t want the public to hear the bad news?


AHMED CHALABI REDUX….Looks like I may have spoken too soon about Ahmed Chalabi’s position in post-war Iraq. The LA Times says today:

On new postwar Iraqi leadership, the Pentagon is now making decisions that could virtually ensure that Ahmed Chalabi, the controversial Iraqi National Congress leader who fled Iraq in 1958, becomes the transitional leader after the ouster of Saddam Hussein, U.S. officials say.

“Chalabi is the Pentagon’s guy, and the Pentagon is in charge,” an administration official said.

If this is true, it’s really not good news.


BILL KRISTOL, CALL YOUR OFFICE….Is Tony Blair a neocon? Apparently not!

Britain will have “nothing whatever” to do with any military action against Syria or Iran, according to Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary.

….Interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Mr Straw said: “Iran is a completely different country and situation from Iraq. Iran is an emerging democracy and there would be no case whatsoever for taking any kind of action.”

….Mr Straw was asked whether he was worried that an impression was being created that once Iraq had been tackled, Syria and Iran might be next in line. The Foreign Secretary said: “It would worry me if it were true. It is not true, and we would have nothing whatever to do with an approach like that.”

For all the Andrew Sullivan-ish talk about how the planning for this war has been the result of a deviously concealed master plan, what’s really remarkable is just how wide and deep the disagreement about it has been within the administration and its allies ? and how much this disagreement has been the true driver of its lurching quality over the past nine months. There’s always a certain amount of this, of course, and the Bushies have done a pretty good job of presenting a single face in public, but I sure wish I could be a fly on the wall during some of the internal discussions. There’s a real battle going on there for the heart and soul of George Bush, and it’s not clear yet whether anyone has won.

SHORTER 24….Our story so far:

SHORTER 24….Our story so far: a nuclear bomb has been detonated in the desert outside of Los Angeles (thanks, Jack!), and we have reason to think this was the work of three Muslim countries. Seasoned 24 fans never really believed any of this because, after all, this is 24 we’re talking about ? and anyway, they kind of gave the game away when they started torturing the NSA director and discovered that he knew about the whole thing.

So anyway, last night we learned for sure that the evidence implicating the Muslims has been faked. The reality is that the whole thing was planned by some folks who wanted us to start a huge war in the Middle East.

I think Richard Perle was behind it. Those 24 scriptwriters really know their neocon politics, don’t they?