Friday, May 30, 2008

Tied in knots

Funny stuff from the Wall Street Journal editorial page as they get with the McClellan-bashing program --

As for the "propaganda" claim, any U.S. President has no choice but to make his case for going to war. It is an obligation of democracy. In Iraq, the long march to the 2003 invasion included months of debate at the U.N. and in Congress. Far from rushing to war, Mr. Bush heeded Secretary of State Colin Powell and British Prime Minister Tony Blair and sought U.N. approval. That required longer debate and a heavy reliance on WMD claims because the U.N.'s Iraq resolutions were mainly concerned with WMD after the first Gulf War. That too was a mistake, but it wasn't a lie.

The reason Powell and Blair pushed the UN line is because they wanted the war to have at least a fig leaf of legality -- which a war based on a goal of "remaking the Middle East" would not. So the WSJ essentially accepts the point that WMDs was only there for convenience. Note also further evidence of an emerging right-wing talking point to blame the UN for the current mess in Iraq.

One other bit of comedy --

As we read it, the real critical lesson in Mr. McClellan's book concerns personnel and management. Despite his MBA pedigree, Mr. Bush often failed to mediate his Administration's many internal disputes – not least on Iraq.

Since the possibilities for sarcasm are just too easy, we'll note instead one defence of Bush: the job of mediating such disputes is exactly that of the national security adviser, then Condi Rice. Only yesterday, she said

I’m sure there are many things we could have done differently. I will go back to Stanford and I will probably oversee dissertations about mistakes of the Bush Administration. I’ll happily do it from my academic perch.

Can you oversee dissertations when you're the subject?

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