On May 20, Politico had an interesting little treatment of columnist Charles Krauthammer crowning him as the most important conservative columnist of the day. A brief overview of his life and his emergence as the most reliable voice against Obamaism served as the main subject for the piece, but a few quotes on Mr. Krauthammer made by other columnists added a sense of how respected Krauthammer is to scribe Ben Smith's piece. All the quotes were complimentary but shockingly, in one of those quotes, lefty Time columnist Joe Klein seemed to hint that a person in a wheelchair was incapable of really understanding enough of the world to make for a worthy columnist.
Can you imagine? In this day and age, saying that a person in a wheelchair is incapable of really understanding the world because they can't easily get out there themselves because of their disability? And, how does a lefty columnist get away with saying this? Will no one scold Klein for his conceit that because he has two working legs that this fact somehow automatically makes him better qualified to opine as a columnist than a wheelchair-bound Krauthammer? Here is how Politico quoted Joe Klein on Charles Krauthammer (my bold):
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen read some viewer email, including a question from one woman who asked: "Would you be willing to jeopardize your job to report something your bosses or the government wanted to keep hidden?" Co-host Harry Smith used the question as an opportunity to voice his opposition to the Iraq war:
You know, I remember being in Iraq before the war started, we were there just a couple of -- a couple of weeks before the war started and it came, it was really, really clear to me on the ground that this didn't make any sense. And I remember coming back, but there was all this sort of preponderance of opinion that this -- this thing should go on. And I kept thinking to myself, 'this doesn't -- there's -- I'm not connecting the dots everybody else is connecting.' And if I have a regret in my reporting life that I didn't stand up then and say, 'this doesn't make any sense.'
CNN anchor John Roberts failed to catch former Vice President Al Gore make a significant exaggeration about his criticism of the Bush administration in its early years during an interview on Friday’s American Morning. When asked about former Vice President Dick Cheney’s recent criticism of the Obama administration, Gore claimed that he had “waited two years after I left office to make statements that were critical, and then of the policy.” In reality, he made a significant policy speech denouncing the Bush administration’s pre-war policy towards Iraq in September 2002. CNN itself reported on the speech, which was made in San Francisco in front of the Commonwealth Club. Later, when Gore said that he didn’t “want to get dragged into an argument with Dick Cheney about what he’s getting into,” Roberts joked sarcastically, “Oh, Mr. Vice President, you know I would never try to do that with you.”
Roberts’s taped interview of Gore aired in three parts, and his questions to Gore about Cheney came during the second part, which began at the bottom half of the 7 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. The anchor asked the former vice president, “You were a big critic of the previous administration, particularly in the run-up to the war and thereafter. What do you think of Vice President Cheney’s statements that the Obama administration’s policies are leaving this country less safe?”
Did you know that former vice president Dick Cheney is speaking out only because he is trying to protect his legacy? Well just in case you wondered about it Steven Hurst for the Associated Press wants to assure that he has read Cheney's mind and it's all settled. This is what passes for "analysis" at the AP.
The AP has also decided that Cheney speaking out causes "chagrin" in a GOP trying to "rebuild the tattered party." Additionally, he AP throws out that much bandied liberal canard that Cheney is dishonoring "protocol" by speaking out because, you see, former chief executives always remain silent about presidents that follow them. Right Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Al Gore? Riiiight?
Oh, and one more thing: did you know that Cheney was "unpopular"? Well, just in case you forgot, the AP kindly reminds you. After reading this anti-Cheney attack piece, one wonders if the AP is now just letting White House flacks write its copy for it. It probably saves the AP some time, anyway.
Four weeks after FX's Rescue Me featured a New York City firefighter telling a French journalist how the 9/11 terrorist attacks were part of “a massive neo-conservative government effort” to enable “American global domination,” Tuesday night's episode gave the French character “Genevieve,” interviewing firefighters for a book on 9/11 first-responders, a platform to rail against how the U.S. failed to heed France's advice in starting “two new wars” in the name of “revenge.”
Discussing 9/11 with firefighter “Tommy Gavin,” played by show creator Denis Leary, “Genevieve” agreed “9/11 was a tragedy. To most of the world it was a tragedy,” but she fretted, “to Americans, it was the beginning of the end of the world.” As the two walked along a Manhattan street following a visit to Ground Zero, she lectured, presumably alluding to Iraq: “France warned the U.S. government because of their experience with Algeria. And then told them that maybe this was not a good idea and they didn't want to send their people to die.” As to why she wants to write about 9/11:
It's an amazing story, it's a story about how so many people in the world came to support America and its people, to say, “hey, you know what? You've done so much to help us and to support us, we want to give back to you.” But what did your government do with all that good will? Hell, you went right back to war. You started two new wars. In the name of what? Revenge?...Every goddamn war is about revenge -- and the French don't believe in guns.
As he appeared as a guest on Thursday’s Countdown show on MSNBC to discuss Joe the Plumber’s recent criticism of the Republican party, Newsweek’s Richard Wolffe started off by suggesting that Republicans had "lost their heart" in the 1980s and had "lost their mind" in the 1990s. Wolffe: "You know, if they lost their heart in the 1980s, and they lost their mind in the 1990s, what we've seen in the 2000s is Republicans losing their image, and they lost it on national security."
Wolffe later demeaned the intelligence of participants in the recent Tax Day Tea Parties, whom he referred to as "tea baggers," and charged that they want to "have their cake and eat it." Wolffe:
In 2004, coalition forces in Iraq launched Operation Phantom Fury, the battle for control of Fallujah. American troops battled through a city of enemy insurgents, fighting house to house and street to street to seize control of the most dangerous city in the world.
Narrated by Senator Fred D. Thompson, “Perfect Valor” [view trailer at right] is the story of the high price paid by US forces and the legacy of that campaign as seen through the eyes of the men and women who were there, risking their lives in service to their country.
We meet a Navy Cross recipient, recognized for extraordinary gallantry under fire during the assault on Fallujah. A true American hero still haunted by his experience in Iraq. We listen to the family of a fallen Marine as they tell the story of their sacrifice. We hear the harrowing tale of a battalion surgeon who risked his own life to move an aid station forward, into the middle of the fight - a decision that saved thirty lives.
Nothing in American politics is quite so intriguing as the Central Intelligence Agency. There is a certain mystique surrounding this agency, almost wholly because it has proven to be quite good at keeping secrets.
Thus, whenever the actions of the CIA are widely reported in the media, the story typically becomes a fixation for many news outlets - and any former agent who is able to shed light on these actions are usually well-received. But even here, the media has limits.
But while Scheuer is an equal-opportunity critic of missteps by Democratic and Republican administrations, the broadcast news media seem to draw the line at allowing him on air to find fault with President Obama.
Scheuer wrote a column in Sunday’s Washington Post, daring to claim that the president’s actions in publishing the so-called CIA torture memos were morally reprehensible:
New York Times reporter Ashley Parker, who specializes in soft profiles of Obama's staff, certainly made the president look good in her Monday look at Mike Kelleher, director of the Office of Correspondence at the White House -- he reads letters sent to the White House and passes a fortunate few on to Obama himself.
The task of keeping a president in touch with his public is daunting, as Mike Kelleher well knows.
Tens of thousands of letters, e-mail messages and faxes arrive at the White House every day. A few hundred are culled and end up each weekday afternoon on a round wooden table in the office of Mr. Kelleher, the director of the White House Office of Correspondence.
He chooses 10 letters, which are slipped into a purple folder and put in the daily briefing book that is delivered to President Obama at the White House residence. Designed to offer a sampling of what Americans are thinking, the letters are read by the president, and he sometimes answers them by hand, in black ink on azure paper.
"We pick messages that are compelling, things people say that, when you read it, you get a chill," said Mr. Kelleher, 47. "I send him letters that are uncomfortable messages."
Conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh says the mainstream media attitude on President Barack Obama is that he is too big to fail. What CNN has planned for the night of April 29 is one of several signs that could be the case.
"CNN is marking President Barack Obama's 100th day in office with prime-time coverage that will recall last year's primary and general election nights, right down to John King's magic wall," the AP article said. "The network says it will compile a national report card of Obama's performance, using opinion polls and a series of viewer surveys. The big night is April 29, a week from this Wednesday, pre-empting regular programming."
MacsMind's post is in response to an all-too-predictable gusher delivered by Democratic operative disguised as Associated Press reporter Jennifer Loven on April 7 (bold is mine):
Cheered wildly by U.S. troops, President Barack Obama flew unannounced into Iraq on Tuesday and promptly declared it was time for Iraqis to "take responsibility for their country" after America's commitment of six years and thousands of lives.
"You have given Iraq the opportunity to stand on its own as a democratic country," the president said as he made a brief inspection of a war he opposed as candidate and now vows to end as commander in chief. "That is an extraordinary achievement."
MacsMind contends that the troop contingent was contrived, based on an e-mail he says he received "from a sergeant that was there." The corresponding sergeant also dropped a telltale clue (in bold):
In case you were hungry for really, really bad news from Iraq, one set of stations is still pumping it out: radical Pacifica Radio, subsidized by millions from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
On April 9, the sixth anniversary of liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein, their flagship program "Democracy Now!" renounced its own name by decrying the imperialistic American transformation from a dictatorship into a parliamentary democracy. The headline was "We Didn't Create a Paradise In Iraq; We Created a Hell." The guest was Nir Rosen of the New America Foundation (Neuter America Foundation?), whose hatred of all American intervention sounded like it veered into tall-tale territory, like this:
I saw in southern Baghdad, on basically a vast pile of mud and sewage, a man had built a home entirely out of air conditioners. He piled air conditioners three high and built walls and threw on a tarp over it, and that was his home. It’s almost impossible to breathe when you visit many of these people, because the stench of the sewage and garbage is so strong.
"In Unexpected Visit to Iraq, Obama Wins Troops' Cheers -- Military personnel at Camp Victory in Baghdad applauded President Obama on Tuesday when he said 'It is time for us to transition to the Iraqis.'" -- Front-page photo caption over an enormous photo of Obama meeting troops on his first trip to Iraq as president, April 8, 2009.
"President Bush with American troops yesterday at the mess hall at Baghdad International Airport." -- Front-page photo caption to medium-sized photo of Bush's dramatic, secret Thanksgiving visit to Baghdad, November 28, 2003.
"President Bush posed for a photograph yesterday during his surprise visit to American troops at the airport in Baghdad, Iraq. Few journalists were told of the trip or allowed to cover it." -- Photo caption to a jump-page photo of Bush's Thanksgiving visit, November 28, 2003.
The front page of Wednesday's New York Times featured a huge Associated Press photo of President Obama greeting troops on his surprise trip to Baghdad. The caption (from the print edition, emphasis in original):
In Unexpected Visit to Iraq, Obama Wins Troops' Cheers -- Military personnel at Camp Victory in Baghdad applauded President Obama on Tuesday when he said "It is time for us to transition to the Iraqis."
That teased a favorable story about Obama's visit on Page 11, which included another photo of Obama and the troops, with a more straightforward caption (again from the print):
President Obama spoke to American troops at Camp Victory, Iraq, on Tuesday. The president said that it was time for Iraqis "to take responsibility for their country and for their sovereignty."
Compare the photographic enthusiasm the Times showed over Obama's first trip as president to Iraq to the coolness with which the paper's photo-caption writers greeted President George W. Bush's dramatic first, secret visit to Iraq on Thanksgiving Day 2003, which occurred during intense wartime hostilities.
The "Today" show devoted much of last week's coverage of Obama's European trip to obsessing over such frivolous matters as what Michelle Obama was wearing and what kind of gift the Obamas gave the Queen, so when Laura Ingraham was invited on Wednesday's "Today" show, the conservative radio talk show host couldn't resist knocking the silly coverage, as seen in the following exchange with NBC's Matt Lauer (audio available here):
MATT LAUER: So let's be fair and say that he didn't come away accomplishing what he went there to accomplish, but is it possible to say, look at it slightly differently, Laura, and say some of these things take a while to bear fruit and that perhaps some of these leaders, other leaders were reluctant to come forward with some of these things under the glare of the summit spotlight and they may be more forthcoming in the coming weeks and months?
LAURA INGRAHAM: Well I don't know, I guess that's possible. But look we, we know that Europe loves President Obama. He had adoring crowds. The press loves Obama.The question is how will this date end? Okay? The question is, to what end? Why do they love President Obama? They love his personal story, they love his wife. North Korea, China and Russia don't really care about Michelle's arms and, you know, whether they gave an iPod to the Queen, okay? They care about whether America is still going to lead, exhibit strength and doesn't just talk about these vague concepts, Matt, of global cooperation.
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed to rationalize the actions of the Chile-based Marxist terror group MIR, as he compared one of the group’s followers who helped kidnap a Spanish businessman, and who is currently attempting to have Bush administration members indicted in a Spanish court on war crimes charges, to George Washington.
In response to FNC’s Bill O’Reilly, who last week pointed out that Gonzalo Boye, the attorney in Spain who is trying to have Bush administration members prosecuted, himself spent eight years in a Spanish prison for assisting the MIR, Olbermann suggested that the attorney’s involvement with the Chilean terrorist group was justified because the group's aim was to topple former dictator Augusto Pinochet.
But Olbermann did not mention that the crime Boye was convicted of being involved in was the 1988 kidnapping of Spanish businessman Emiliano Revilla, who was abducted outside his Madrid home and held eight months for ransom in a collaborated effort between the Chile-based MIR and the Spain-based ETA, another left-wing terror group which has perpetrated bombings and killed many in Spain. Olbermann responded to O’Reilly’s complaint that it was a "big omission" for a New York Times article not to mention Boye’s history by rationalizing Boye’s terrorist history. Olbermann: "Well, no, not as big an omission as forgetting to mention that the man whom Mr. Boye`s collaboration with terrorists targeted was the sadistic Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. This is like Bill-O calling George Washington a terrorist."
On the Monday, March 30, The O’Reilly Factor, FNC host Bill O’Reilly slammed the New York Times for not reporting that an attorney in Spain, Gonzalo Boye, who is trying to have Bush administration members charged with war crimes in a Spanish court, himself has served eight years in prison for "collaborating with terrorists," referring to the Chile-based MIR, and the Spain-based ETA, both left-wing terrorist groups. During his "Talking Points Memo," O’Reilly related: "The action is being driven by a man named Gonzalo Boye, a radical left lawyer in Madrid. On Sunday, the New York Times reported Boye's beef, but did not report this: Boye served almost eight years in a Spanish prison for collaborating with terrorists. He was sentenced in 1996. Now, that seemed to be a mighty big omission by the New York Times, does it not?"
But on the same night’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann informed his viewers of the possible indictment in Spain without mentioning Boye and his terrorist connections. Introducing a discussion with George Washington University Professor Jonathan Turley, Olbermann announced: "The first steps towards opening a criminal investigation against the Bush administration about torture is now under way, only it`s not by the U.S. government but by Spain. The New York Times reporting a Spanish court now building a case against six high-level Bush officials."
Assessing President Barrack Obama's overseas trip, ABC's George Stephanopoulos proposed it was “a real test for the President” and, no surprise, decided “he passed it pretty easily” since “he was confident, he had a sense of command in his personal and his public diplomacy, forged strong relationships with his European counterparts...” Furthermore, Stephanopoulos admired Obama's “strong” unannounced visit to troops in Iraq, touting how the President “capped off” his travels “with this critical visit to the troops. When you've got American troops fighting on two fronts, you have to end that visit with a strong visit with the troops, and he did.”
Asked by anchor Charles Gibson to list some minuses, Stephanopoulos acknowledged “good feelings with your allies don't guarantee agreement,” citing Obama's inability to secure help in Afghanistan and with North Korea, but the host of ABC's This Week wrapped up with how the White House is pleased with the trip -- as if it were possible they wouldn't be: “They feel this trip went exactly as they planned. They couldn't be happier. Now they're going to come back home and focus again on the economy.”
Hard to imagine how they could be any happier with the media's reverential coverage.
Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter hit all the expected pro-Obama marks in an interview on Monday’s night’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. He disparaged George Bush’s "good versus evil, us versus them" foreign policy, marred by "Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and the war in Iraq, it’s understandable why the Muslim would would get this message – that the United States did not wish them well."
As for his own personal foreign policy, Alter advocated a much softer tone with our enemies. Ultimatums don’t work, so "I personally favor much closer relations between the United States and Iran because, as Obama said during the campaign, you have to talk to your enemies." Here's how it unfolded:
OLBERMANN: It seemed so radical to hear an American president say United States is not and can’t be at a war with Islam. Is that a clarification that needed to be made? And is there any way to gauge how much it needed to be made?
ALTER: It absolutely had to be made. This was a huge and extremely important do-over for the United States in the Muslim world. You know, under Bill Clinton, we had pretty good relations in that part of the world.
CBS's Bob Schieffer devoted about half of his Face the Nation interview, with President Barack Obama, to Pakistan and Afghanistan, but on Iraq he failed to point out Obama's opposition to the surge as he hoped: “Are things going well enough there now that you may consider speeding up the withdrawal of troops from Iraq?”
On violence in Mexico, Schieffer pushed a blame America first line, suggesting more regulations on guns: “It's my understanding that 90 percent of the guns that they're getting down in Mexico are coming from the United States....Do you need any kind of legislative help on that front? Have you, for example, thought about asking Congress to reinstate the ban on assault weapons?”
Schieffer concluded by wondering if, like Thomas Jefferson, Obama is finding the presidency to be a “splendid misery” and quoting Jefferson, who once said “the presidency had brought him nothing but increasing drudgery and a daily loss of friends,” commiserated: “Have you lost any friends yet?” Certainly not in the news media.
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams offered this brief update on Wednesday's newscast: “We learned today there's no more Global War on Terror -- at least it's been renamed by the Obama administration. The Pentagon will now call the ongoing U.S. military effort the 'Overseas Contingency Operation.'” That presumes the war, I mean “effort,” will continue.
But not even the NBC News graphics staff bought the new name , or at least couldn't fit the longer name into a graphic. As Williams spoke, NBC displayed “FIGHTING TERROR.”
The short item from Williams came right after he pointed out “a stunning turn of events in Iraq” as “the level of violence in Iraq has thankfully fallen sharply.”
Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC's “Morning Joe”, showed her father's aptitude for foreign policy this morning.
The daughter of one of the Carter administration's chief foreign policy wonks started by scolding Robert Gibbs' knee-capping response to former Vice President Dick Cheney's CNN interview, saying that:
BRZEZINSKI: I would have probably wanted to take that on in a big way because many would argue that Cheney made the country more dangerous. Cheney is the one who put us in the position we're in and now has al Qaeda reconstituting around the world. There's some good answers to what Cheney said.
Many would, and they would be proven wrong by that very statement. It was Cheney's policies that destroyed Al Qaeda to the point that they had to “reconstitute” at all. It was Cheney's policies that stopped a long string of al Qaeda attacks. It was indeed Cheney's policies that put us in the position we're in - winning, and safe at home. Apparently, Brzezinski's idea of a better response would have been to attack the policies that have made us safe in the first place.
On World News Sunday, ABC correspondent Terry McCarthy filed his first report in a weeklong series, "Iraq: Where Things Stand," which will give a progress report on the six-year anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom's beginning. After anchor Dan Harris introduced the story by relaying that McCarthy had found "optimism" in Iraq, McCarthy began his report by informing viewers of some positive effects of the country's lower violence levels, and that Iraqis are now more concerned about the economy than security. The ABC correspondent continued: "Iraqis are slowly discovering they have a future. We flew south to Basra, where 94 percent say their lives are going well."
The current “money mess” is “primarily because we've spent or authorized more money on the Iraq war (its sixth anniversary is next Thursday) than we're putting into the stimulus program,” USA Today founder Al Neuharth contended in his weekly “Plain Talk” column on Friday. While “many Democrats as well as nearly all Republicans in Congress gave Bush” the authority to go to war in Iraq, “by contrast, the votes on President Obama's recovery or stimulus plan to clean up the mess that Congress helped create with the Iraq misadventure” were not so bi-partisan.
After citing how 246 Democrats House Democrats, but zero Republicans, and 56 Democratic Senators, but only three Republicans, voted for the “stimulus” package, Neuharth scolded Republicans: “Both parties got us into this mess, but only one is trying to get us out of it.”
Did a liberal on TV ever declare they wanted Bush to fail in Iraq? Well, here’s one from the Fox News Channel. On the December 27, 2002 edition of Your World With Neil Cavuto, during a discussion with left-winger Ellen Ratner on expectations the economy would grow and the stock market would go up in 2003:
BRENDA BUTTNER: You’re basically saying he’s [Bush] going to get re-elected. I mean essentially.
ELLEN RATNER, FNC political analyst: Well, unless the economy tanks –
BUTTNER: The economy could. That’s what people vote on.
RATNER: Well, unless he messes up the war [with Iraq]. My hope.
BUTTNER: Your hope?!
RATNER: Well, I don’t want him to be reelected!
BUTTNER: Right, but I mean, "mess up the war," what do you mean by that?
RATNER: I mean, do something that will make Americans say, ‘maybe we shouldn’t have done this.’ You know, that kind of thing.
On the December 9, 2008, Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann charged that Bush administration members – whom he did not specify by name but presumably President Bush was meant to be included – deserve to be "in hell," as he cited a report that a post-war insurgency in Iraq using roadside bombs to attack U.S. troops had been predicted by the U.S. military before the invasion. During the show’s regular "Bushed!" segment, Olbermann lambasted the Bush administration:
So not only did the Bush administration and the Bush Pentagon ignore the prewar intel, that the WMD we sought to recover were not in Iraq, but the Bush administration and the Bush Pentagon ignored that if we removed Saddam Hussein an insurgency of some sort would develop in Iraq. And now we learn the Bush administration and the Bush Pentagon ignored the prewar intel that when an insurgency did develop, it would use roadside bombs to kill the troops we needlessly sent there.
I don’t know what, if any religion you belong to, but I suspect you’ll agree that people who ignored that many foretellings of preventable death should have a long time to think about it in hell!
Below is a complete transcript of the "Bushed!" segment from the December 9, 2008, Countdown show on MSNBC, with critical portions in bold:
Associated Press reporter Ben Feller needs a better copy editor to keep him from inventing history for Barack Obama. Near the end of a dispatch filed early Saturday morning on the president’s speech at Camp Lejeune on Iraq, Feller claimed:
The president who voted against the war as senator and ran against in his upstart White House bid said the Iraq conflict is one huge, painful lesson.
The vote authorizing President Bush to wage combat operations in Iraq was on October 11, 2002, and Obama wasn’t elected until 2004. Then Feller failed to note Obama’s "no" vote in the Senate on Bush’s successful surge of troops, although this may have been the most critical-sounding passage in his story:
He applauded the armed forces for its successes in Iraq, where U.S. deaths and violence in many parts of the country are significantly down. He never credited Bush's buildup of troops in 2007 as contributing to those improvements.
Feller opened with a flourish: "President Barack Obama consigned the Iraq war to history Friday, declaring he will end combat operations within 18 months and open a new era of diplomacy in the Middle East."
In Friday night stories on President Barack Obama's plan to reduce troops in Iraq by 90,000, neither the CBS Evening News nor NBC Nightly News mentioned a key factor raised by ABC reporters Jake Tapper and Martha Raddatz.
On ABC's World News, over video of Tapper standing at Camp Lejeune with the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Tapper noted: “Defense Secretary [Robert] Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen today credited President Bush's surge, opposed by then-Senator Obama, with helping to pave the way for today's announcement.” Viewers then heard a short soundbite from Gates: “It clearly has put us in a very different place in terms of where Iraq is.”
Up next on the February 27 newscast, Raddatz addressed the military's reaction, and shared her assessment:
I think if there hadn't been a surge, if there hadn't been such success, you wouldn't have seen those Marines clapping today. It would be a very different kind of speech.
On CBS’s Sunday Morning, correspondent Kimberly Dozier interviewed former C.I.A. agent Robert Baer, who argued that Iran: "...is empire by proxy. You get people -- it's like Communism. You get people to go along with you and your vision of the world. And they're saying, you know, ‘we can finally drive the United States out of the Middle East.’" Dozier added: "Unless, Baer says, we give President Ahmadinejad and his religious backers what they want."
Baer explained what Iran wants: "First of all, they want to be recognized as a major power in the Gulf...By the United States, by the Europeans. They want to be deferred to on big issues like Iraq and Afghanistan, issues that directly affect them." Dozier asked: "But in a sense, wouldn't the U.S., wouldn't Europe be rewarding them for bad behavior?" Baer replied: "Well, we would be. But does it matter? We have to be pragmatic about this."
Dozier went on to explain: "If we don't negotiate, Baer worries, the United States may find itself in yet another war we can't afford to fight." Baer exclaimed: "And do we really want to take down the most powerful country in the Middle East? I mean, we've just taken down Iraq, the second most powerful country, and it hasn't done a bit of good for anybody in the region." Dozier interjected: "It's a mess." Baer agreed: "It's a mess and it's going to remain a mess. Let's talk them back into the game of nations."
In Friday’s Washington Post, columnist Charles Krauthammer lamented how good news in Iraq seems to be no news in Washington, married as the liberal establishment is to a narrative that Iraq was a "fiasco" (courtesy of WaPo’s own Thomas Ricks). The elections weren’t totally ignored, but the anti-Bush narrative is uninterrupted. Krauthammer elaborated on the good news:
A fabulous bazaar of 14,400 candidates representing 400 parties participated, yielding results highly favorable to both Iraq and the United States.
Iraq moved away from religious sectarianism toward more secular nationalism. "All the parties that had the words 'Islamic' or 'Arab' in their names lost," noted Middle East expert Amir Taheri. "By contrast, all those that had the words 'Iraq' or 'Iraqi' gained."