Monday, May 24, 2004

You Can Let the Media Tell You Why the President is Speaking at the Army War College Tonight...

....Or you can figure it out easily on your own:

It's a battered President Bush -- literally and figuratively -- who takes to the stage at the Army War College in Pennsylvania tonight for a prime-time speech intended, as one official told Steven Wiseman of the New York Times, to dispel "this idea that we don't know what we're doing" on Iraq.

The speech was not going to be carried nationally at first - now because of the pressure on the administration, that's changed. From the previews provided today regardless of what is being advertised, the speech will actually change nothing - no surprise.

The big date is now being switched. The June 30th transition date to "limited sovereignty" (whatever that means), which was "crucial" up until last week will now, all of a sudden, just be a "step on the road" (whatever that means). You will now be asked to believe that the important date is magically next year sometime (conveniently after our own elections) when the Iraqis will supposedly vote in their own elections. The number of troops won't change, we won't be bringing them home any sooner, and the military strategy won't change. If you hear the phrase "stay the course" one more time, that will be another clue that nothing has really changed - although nobody knows what the "course" is, including the president.

So why is the president speaking now, and specifically at the Army War College? The two real reasons:

1. His approval ratings went down to 41% today, continuing a trend for nearly two months averaging a 1 % loss per week. That fact is more than significant for Karl Rove and his poll takers - and they know it - even if their boss stubbornly stays in his Crusader Warrior motif.

2. Even more pertinent, and not reported anywhere that I have seen yet: the military infrastructure, and in particular the Army, without even factoring in Abu Ghraib, has been showing signs of major disagreement with the president's use of the military. Reports began coming out of that same Army War College last year severely criticizing how the war in Iraq was being prosecuted. That, after notables such as Gen Shinseki and Gen Zinni took public exception to the Bush/Rumsfeld doctrine.

The Army War College is the equivalent of private sector executive training: it is for seasoned proven professionals, namely those expected to make colonel and general and run the Army of the future. So disruption from this cream of the Army's crop is no little matter - for Mr. Bush, or for us as a nation.

Even the president realizes that he can't continue to lose support from the military machine that has saved his fried bacon to this point.

This speech is going to need a lot of make-up to make it presentable to his real audience at the Army War College. For that matter, so will the president himself:

Less serious Bush-watchers were absorbed by the accident-prone president's mishap when he fell on his face while biking Saturday, leaving him with some pretty serious road rash.

UPDATE: One item that will probably not be in the speech - it really was a wedding party that was bombed...(click on the girl holding the photo)

UPDATE: Gen Zinni spoke out again on 60 Minutes this weekend...

UPDATE: Those &%#$&((&%$# cameras are at fault for everything...

UPDATE: The case against Brandon Mayfield was just thrown out of federal court for lack of evidence (see Friday's post below)

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link