A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Friday, June 18, 2004 :::
Now that a riotous week of fame as a commentator on the messier personal habits of four charming kids from Liverpool is coming to a close, A Mind That Suits returns to the more quotidian aspects of life in war time.

In particular, he is down with a minor flus. He suspects it is but an occupational hazard of serving food to large numbers of people in the heat--weather the people have the flu and he gets it, or he gets to the food after it has been out in the heat a shade too long, which can happen as caterers eat well after their clients do. In any case, he is a shade under par this morning, as Bertie Wooster would say, and has to get through the day.

Presidential historians are going to have to ponder this peculiar wrinkle of W's character: he came out with both pistols blazing after the staff of the 9/11 Commission said that they could find no evidence that Saddam had cooperated with al-Qaeda on operations. "On operations," it should be noted, first of all. The press was pretty fast out of the box with headlines saying "no connection," but that is absolutely not what the staff said. The press also tended to say it was a Commission report, but it is not. What the staff said was that there were lots of contacts, but nothing directly related to any one particular action.

This is pretty much what the Administration has said, and Mr. Bush jumped right on the false reports, defending himself quickly when he needed to defend himself.

However, confronted with the complete breakdown of pre-war intelligence, he has been all but silent for nearly a year. Initial signs that he would start making a positive case for the war, and would embrace the work of the Iraq Survey Group once headed by David Kay, have come to naught. Why he has ducked this important task and forced himself to limp into his re-election effort is one of those mysteries of presidential psychology that will be debated in grant-supported seminars for decades to come.

The Wall Street Journal, too, was quick off the mark for once, with an excellent run-down on the deeply disturbing things the staff did uncover. It's nice to have them leading for once, instead of clinging to pre-war certainties and taking themselves out of the debate.

The timeliness is a considerable improvement on its track record of truly ground-breaking commentary on the war. They let Richard Clark have nearly a week to himself before they noticed that former Senator Slad Gorton, (a liberal, after all) had tossed them a soft lob by forcing Mr. Clark to admit that there was nothing the Administration could have done to prevent September 11. They finally acknowledged that the insurgency was part of Hussein's plan, one week after the President himself did so in a press conference and one year after Gen Franks said so. And of course there was their bold attack on the Administration's plan to bring in the UN, 18 months after the Administration announced it.

A little late, guys, but welcome to the party.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 10:18 AM



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What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

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