Judging from the appearance of General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, the sole and singular lesson from Vietnam for Senators and bureaucrats caught in a military quagmire is never utter the words "light at the end of the tunnel." The rule is that you can say anything you want that means the same, but not "that." Yet that is precisely the argument of Petraeus and Crocker-conditions are getting better, a wee better, but we have to pause now because it all could turn to crap. The rest is lies and more lies, as Crocker lied to the Armed Services Committee in trying to spin Maliki's licking in Basra into a victory because some made-up group called for an end to outside interference in Iraq, which he defines as Iran--not the U.S. Too many senators on the Armed Services Committee, in part because of time limitations, simply nod along. To her credit, Hillary Clinton was positively presidential.
Well, it's nice to know that our men in "theatre" can spin a whopper as well of the old Vietnam crew. Now, why doesn't someone ask why Iran is "outside" and the U.S. is not, especially since Iran's Ahmadinejad has visited Iraq, like Bush, only unlike Bush, he went where he wished. He was also the first Persian leader to visit Baghdad in more than a millennium, meaning, as my friend, Jeff, observes, this whole extravaganza has made Iraq safe for Iran.
The Foreign Affairs Committee is much tougher this afternoon, wanting specific reasons for continuing what is clearly a failed policy. The only answers they get are vague to the point of absurdity, except for the attempts to blame everything on al-Qaeda in Iraq and Iran. They are all playing to form in their "theatre."
Oncce again this afternoon, Crocker claims the fiasco in Basra last week was proof that Maliki is really a nationalist. The calculus behind this statement--and I predicted this argument last week--is that the Senate in particular and American public in general are too stupid to know the difference.