Don't Let Me Stop You

What the heck, you'll do what you want anyway.

All the News that Fits We Print

Posted by Dan Draney on August 12, 2005

Tom Raum of the AP weighed in last week with a “news analysis” piece on the Iraq situation. Apparently the term “news analysis” means pure editorializing in something that looks like a news article. We will give the AP some credit for at least marking it as “analysis,” but it’s faint praise.

We remember Raum primarily for a post-election article he wrote last November, in which he described Hilary Clinton, as “a Northeastern centrist and one of the most polarizing figures in American politics.” We initially thought him a highly gifted satirist for that line, but further reading showed he did not intend to be ironic. It’s hard to justify calling Hilary northeastern, and ridiculous to call her a centrist by any standard.

Just ask yourself how a “centrist” could possibly be considered “one of the most polarizing figures in American politics” by anyone. Can you name a single “polarizing centrist?” It’s an oxymoron.

So here is the recent article:

New pressure on Bush to find exit strategy
BY TOM RAUM / Associated Press Analysis
The deadly recent attacks on American troops in Iraq are increasing the pressure on President Bush to develop an exit strategy. The U.S. death toll from the war is now over 1,800, and a new AP-Ipsos poll shows the lowest approval yet for Bush’s handling of Iraq, just 38 percent.

The president’s fellow Republicans are growing nervous as they head into an election year.

Yet the administration must also confront the possibility that a U.S. drawdown of troops — tentatively planned to begin next spring — could further embolden the insurgents and throw Iraq into civil war.

“We will stay the course. We will complete the job in Iraq,” Bush pledged anew during a news conference on his Texas ranch with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

Our general rule of thumb, and it has proved to be a good one, is that prominent use of the term “exit strategy” is a good indicator of a leftist world view. This AP-Ipsos poll has been widely cricticized, and the results of any poll are strongly influenced by the way the questions are framed. No mention of any specific Republicans who are “growing nervous.” This is mainly spin and speculation on Raum’s part.

Considering what has been accomplished, 1800 American dead is amazingly light. Of course, each death is a tragedy for the serviceman or woman involved and the family, but before the invasion an estimate of 1800 dead at this point would have been considered ridiculously optimistic.

Bush suggested his resolve was only strengthened by a videotaped warning earlier Thursday from al-Qaida’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri, threatening more terror attacks in Britain and tens of thousands of U.S. military deaths if the United States doesn’t withdraw.

Al-Qaida threatens more attacks. Drug cartel threatens more smuggling. Koffi Annan says UN needs more money. Dog bites man. Dems promise more obstruction. Which of these is the most surprising? We’re going with the “dog bites man” angle.

There has been little outward sign of progress in U.S.-led efforts to defeat the insurgency and to beef up the Iraqi army and police so they can take over security responsibilities and allow an orderly withdrawal of American forces.

Little sign of progress for those who rely entirely on the news media for news, that is.

Particularly lethal bombings over the past few weeks, including a roadside bomb that claimed the lives of 14 Marines on Wednesday, have made the situation look even bleaker than U.S. military experts suggest it is.

Perception is reality, so evidently the experts are wrong and Raum is right.

That translates into a continued erosion of public support for Bush’s Iraq policy at home.

An AP-Ipsos poll this week showed that just 38 percent of Americans approve of Bush’s handling of Iraq. A year ago, the public was evenly divided on Iraq, and Bush’s stance on the war and terrorism helped him to election victory.

Bush has lost support most dramatically among younger women, especially those who live in the suburbs, and among less-educated men.

We’re pretty sure that if the poll had offered a choice of Bush vs. Kerry for president that Bush would be the choice for president. That poll was taken recently.

Despite the horrific headlines, many military analysts say that attacks on U.S. troops have actually remained constant in recent weeks while attacks on Iraqi civilians have increased.

“As tragic as they are, they don’t establish a pattern that says U.S. casualties are getting consistently worse,” said Anthony H. Cordesman, an Iraq expert and former Pentagon intelligence official. He attributed recent deaths of Marines to the fact that “these are more aggressive military patrols going into hostile areas.”

… but that doesn’t fit the storyline, so just ignore it. There’s more of the same, but that’s too much already.

Update: Fixed small html error.

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