Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

This ought to make Arthur Chrenkoff blush, though it tends makes his one-time work obsolete: the Bush administration is increasingly taking the rhetorical position that all news out of Iraq is good news, regardless of its content. Whereas it used to be the case that the facts were biased against the Bush administration, now the secret, and concealed, "good newsiness" of those same facts has been unlocked. The result: there is no bad news. Remarkably, the Bush administration has transcended the good news/bad news dialectic to forge a purer version of news analysis. Take a gander. First, via Swopa, this Washington Post article (my emphasis):

President Bush warned Americans yesterday that they can expect to see more violence in Iraq over the next year but called this the price of progress as the country stands up its own security forces and moves toward democracy.

Speaking to members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Bush said that in the coming weeks Iraq is likely to be the scene of "a good deal of political turmoil" as factions jockey for position and vie for power. Rather than being alarmed by those developments, he said, "we should welcome this for what it is: freedom in action."
Freedom is messy after all. From rampant lawlessness and looting, to civil war, freedom has its frictions. And then there's this from the Cunning Realist from a few days back (emphasis mine again):

In the apparently casket-free war, here's what has happened during the past few days:

1. Eleven U.S. troops were killed on Thursday, including two in pacified Fallujah.
2. Another five troops were killed over the weekend, including three more in pacified Fallujah.
3. A Blackhawk chopper either crashed or was shot down, killing another twelve troops.
4. A U.S. journalist was kidnapped in Baghdad, and her translator was shot and killed.
5. Hundreds more Iraqi civilians were killed. [...]

Lt. Col. Barry Johnson's explanation: "Desperate people are dangerous people." Which leads to the operative question: how much more of their desperation can we take?
The Cunning Realist's post led to this insight from commenter Howard:

...the bush administration, in its usual breathtaking way, has now created a spin scenario in which all news is good news: when violence drops down, that's a sign that things are going well. when violence ramps up, that's a sign that the enemy is desperate, ergo, things are going well.
Sounds about right. The steady level of violence over the past three (almost) years - with the frequency of attacks remaining surprisingly constant (despite occasional spikes) - is a clear indication of the fact that the insurgency is in its last throes, and that the insurgents have been rather desperate for near three years and counting. Last throes just tend to "last" longer than most people realize.

And would it be presumptuous of me to suggest that even the so-called "nightmare" scenario of a full blown civil war and/or regional war might be more appropriately viewed as "unbridled freedom in serious action" or the "really desperate actions of really desperate people"? Would that be wrong?

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