. . . Thursday October 28, 2004

Off Message, Off Rocker

Mayor Rudy slipped way off message during a Today Show interview during which he blamed the troops for the missing munitions:

The president was cautious the president was prudent the president did what a commander in chief should do. No matter how you try to blame it on the president the actual responsibility for it really would be for the troops that were there. Did they search carefully enough? Didn’t they search carefully enough?

Rudy, if you’re going to stump for W, here’s a simple marketing rule of thumb that should keep you out of trouble:

If you’re not blaming John Kerry, you’re off message.

Of course Rudy’s insertion of New York plainspeak into an otherwise Rovian dialogue does bring up an important point. A president should not (even though he often is) be held responsible for every decision made on the ground (or even at the Pentagon) during the course of a war. It would be naive to assume all of these decisions are made at the top.

Again, what is important here is to rise above the granularity of the specific case of the missing weapons and to look over the entire record of the mishandling this war from its marketing lead-up to Rudy’s slip this morning. Team Bush did not secure the borders and did not secure the weapons. The question here is why did we really invade in the first place (if not to complete those two seemingly primary tasks)?

I understand that this is the height of the political season in a highly political era. So the case of the missing munitions is going to be a big story.

But wouldn’t it be a little ridiculous if this – and not the very decision to invade in the first place, or the overall lack of planning, or the possibility that we are as a result of actions taken actually less secure as a nation – was the story that swung the election?

Update: A reader and Gulf War I vet chimes in:

“I think you’re right on the money about the granularity issue in regards to the explosives. Obviously there are hundreds of thousands of tons of explosives floating around Iraq.

Same issue in terms of the 11th ACR being deployed out of the National Training Center at Fort Irwin and into Iraq. That’s the equivalent of sending the entire training cadre for the Navy’s Top Gun school at Miramar into a combat theatre.

Both issues are notable as symptons of the administration’s failure to prepare because their stated reasons for the invasion were never the primary reasons for going.

We were lied to. People are dying for reasons that still have not been articulated by the current administration.

The media’s inability to read below the surface of current events in even the most rudimentary capacity is remarkable.”

Concentration is important!