Reporter Steven Lee Myers's "White House Memo" for Monday's New York Times, "A Familiar Strategy to Help Stay the Course," portrayed the president as deluded in his Iraq optimism and chiding him for not acknowledging anti-war sentiment.
"President Bush's Iraq strategy faces a crisis of faith these days -- from the American public. And he is confronting it the way he has previous crises: with a relentless campaign to persuade people to see things his way….Mr. Bush, back at the Prairie Chapel Ranch, went on to record a radio address that showed neither doubt nor any intention of reducing the American commitment in Iraq. On Tuesday, he will make another speech in Reno, Nev., arguing that a hasty withdrawal of troops would prove disastrous for the Middle East and for American security."
Myers wondered why Bush didn't pander to anti-war sentiment while defending the war.
"'We are still in the early stages of our new operations,' Mr. Bush said in the radio address broadcast Saturday, as if there were not those who fervently wished the country was in the later stages, preparing to bring the troops home.
"The White House's strategy is as unwavering as it is familiar. In military parlance, it is called preparing the battlefield -- in this case for the series of reports and hearings scheduled on Capitol Hill next month to debate the wisdom of struggling on in the midst of Iraq's sectarian chaos and bloodshed."
"Public opinion remains sour. Republicans appear increasingly frustrated, chief among them Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, who last week called for at least a symbolic reduction of troops by Christmas. And a new National Intelligence Estimate concluded that violence in Iraq remained high, that terrorists could still attack in spectacular fashion and that the country's leaders 'remain unable to govern effectively.'
Myers cast Bush as deluded:
"The White House response was a classic look at the bright side. 'The National Intelligence Estimate's updated judgments show that our strategy has improved the security environment in Iraq,' a spokesman, Gordon D. Johndroe, said Thursday."
(The Times was significantly more negative regarding the findings of the NIE than were other media outlets.)
"Critics have called Mr. Bush's ever upbeat message delusional. His rationale for the war has shifted so much since 2003 that any new pitch will have skeptics. His analogy last week between the war in Iraq and the epic struggles of World War II, the Korean War and, especially, the Vietnam War was ridiculed by some as revisionist or simply inaccurate."
Apparently, only the anti-war Times is allowed to make Vietnam-Iraq analogies.