. . . Thursday October 7, 2004

Where the Buck Never Stops

It probably will not surprise anyone that Paul Bremer received quite a few calls from administration officials after he made the now enormously obvious observation that we needed more troops in Iraq to cope with the chaos after the fall of Saddam’s government.

Listen. The immediate aftermath of the major combat in Iraq was a complete disaster, one we are plainly paying for today and one that certainly cost American lives. This truth is about as self-evident as it gets.

So why pick on Bremer? Because he wasn’t satisfied to live the truth. He had to go and tell it.

Now the administration is saying that the highly controversial decision to disband the Iraqi army was made on the ground and not in Washington.

Does the buck ever stop in this White House?

If the decision was made in Washington, then this lie is inexcusable and really pretty humiliating to the man in the Oval Office. If the administration officials are being straight (and there’s no way, but let’s carry this out), then the President and his team are guilty of an incredible dereliction of duty for passing such a critical choice down the chain of command.

When you bust loyal folks who have sacrificed for their country because they tell the truth and then come up with a lie that makes you look even worse than the damaging truth, well, it’s not that impressive.

These are real time lies about critical decisions. But that shouldn’t surprise any of us after the Veep’s performance the other night. Just a few of his whoppers are listed here and here.

You need to ask yourself why an administration that had been so disciplined in their “framing” of reality would let the wheels come off the bus in final weeks of a campaign. Bravado? Guilt?

For a variety of reasons, I have long felt that the Bush team would hold on and win this election. Partly it was just pessimism. Partly it was because I thought their campaign was a more tightly run ship. But they’ve slipped off the deep end in the last few days.

The President continues to rehash last week’s debate by reanswering Kerry’s charges. Insane. Any PR advisor would’ve told Bush to put the humiliation behind him. It’s lasted a week and counting and that’s all the Bush team’s doing. And yes, they have misled on Iraq since the beginning. But they misled with carefully chosen words and a taut (if fictional) storyline that was effectively (at least for some voters) massaged when events dictated. But the carelessness of the Cheney lies during his debate with Edwards was mind boggling. And many of them were meaningless in terms of content (I’ve never met him before, etc).

For a long time, the Bush team has told us that they’ve been expecting a close race. I don’t believe this any more than I believe them when they tell us who ordered the Iraqi army disbanded. They were not expecting this close of a race. No way. Otherwise they would not have been so ill-prepared for it. And they would not be resorting to such overt lies. Their strategies have become painfully obvious and transparent – see the post below this one for a good example. The new twists they try will not help.

It’s late and I’ve had a long day. The screen is starting to blur a bit. But damn, my gut tells me that this is over. And I mean let’s drive to Vegas and lay a bet on this thing over. And I want to make it clear that this is not what I would have predicted that I would be predicting today.

With this President, the buck may never stop. But the tenure in the White House is about to.

Concentration is important!