While Dubya takes his own sweet time to reach a decision, will the New Way Forward (Now Lemon Scented!) actually make a difference? This whole story line feels like a rerun of a show you didn�t much like the first time, where you already know the punch-lines before they happen, and the only thing keeping you involved is that the effort to reach for the remote is greater than your boredom.
This great fact gathering and consulting effort reminds me of our bee-hung Solomon�s approach to the stem cell research problem: divide the baby in two and make sure no one is happy, except for the Smirking One. And remember it too was played out for days and weeks over a holiday period. Chimpy thinks best while clearing brush.
We have the usual props for the story, too. We have the doomed Iraq Study Group �presenting� new ideas to Chimpy (to a man who has no ideas, any idea is a new idea), who is visibly disengaged and dismissive, and dare I mention it, drunk according to some eyewitnesses; we have his cabal of neocon think tanks who assure him that the candy and roses are coming; FTD must be running late because of the holidays. We have his demonic minions off in the fields being told by their own toadies to stay the course, or maybe to add more cannon fodder, er, troops.
Even as I write this, on the radio I hear that our new and improved (“tastes-great and is less-filling”) Rummy-lite, Mr. Gates, in Iraq hears not a single troop suggesting anything as radical as bringing them home. Somehow he managed to find the five or so residents of Chimptopia, that utopia in Mesopotamia where Bush is adored.
The talking point of the moment, and the one that is sure to be adopted is called the Surge. The Surge, simply put, is bringing in a theoretical 20,000 to 50,000 additional troops. Never mind that the military already is stretched to the breaking point and recruitment has been underwhelming.
And please let no one remind the Brain Trust of Texas that last summer the same Surge plan was tried and the violence escalated. More troops = more targets. And no one will say how long the surge will last. My guess: 2008, when it can be some other president�s problem.
The Surge, we are told with a straight face, will secure Baghdad, kick some Islamb-o-fascist ass, train their troops and police force (Like Calliope weaving by day and unravelling by night, their police and military are thought to be largely composed of the insurgents themselves, but shhhhh, don’t mention that to the Decider), and secure Chimpy�s place in history. I think his rightful place is pretty much guaranteed already.
Tony Snow gives us a strangely clear view into the process to come to the New Way Forward:
Q: “Is he going to talk with people who differ considerably from his view? Like people who absolutely want to get out of Iraq?”
SNOW: “No, because that does not, in fact, achieve your goal.”
Nope, I think the New Way Forward is the Old Way Backwards.