Monday, July 09, 2007


Elite punditry, an accountability free profession.

David Brooks, on PBS NewsHour July 6th: "And, then, the final thing, the problem with the Iraq Study Group--and Mark is absolutely right. I think the Bush administration bitterly regrets not embracing that now."

Ah, but where was David on the ISG back in the day, you know, when it counted most? Here he was on January 11th of this year, busily poo-pooing the ISG's findings ("pulling a tooth slowly"), just as debate had been raging as to whether Bush should adopt same: "So we are stuck with the Bush proposal as the only serious plan on offer."

Even Brooks's take on the ISG "plan" is either missing the point or deceptive. The ISG put out a framework into which roughly any "let's start getting the hell out, if even slowly" move by the Bush administration could have been fit. The point wasn't really to provide a plan, the point was to provide cover for Bush and all the Republicans (and some Democrats) who had been screaming that if we leave Iraq WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE. The purpose was to provide political cover for an exit strategy, and any exit strategy, even a glacial one, would've been fine. All they had to do was trot out Baker and Hamilton to say that yes, this fits our recommendations, and all the very serious wise old men would've nodded their approval at the brave and cunning president and the wonderful and noble Republican party. That was the chance that Bush missed. The issue isn't that he failed to implement the ISG plan, it's that he failed to take the opportunity to start getting the hell out.

(via yglesias)