On Tuesday in Roxie's World, we said, and I quote,
What matters is that the ground and the discourse have shifted. Troop reductions will happen. If the administration can fudge the data enough to make its claims of progress appear credible (to the credulous), then the reductions may be larger and sooner than Petraeus was willing to suggest in his testimony before Congress.This morning, Wa Po reports that the administration is already opening the door to larger troop cuts, as it continues to fudge the gains made under the "surge":
One day after President Bush announced a limited drawdown of U.S. troops from Iraq by next summer, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said yesterday that it might be possible to reduce U.S. forces there further over the course of next year, down to approximately 100,000 troops by the end of 2008.In the fairy-tale world of the Bush administration, saying a thing still makes it so, which perhaps explains why the president's "new" policy has been named "Return on Success." Apparently, "Declare Victory and Get Out" is still under copyright protection, so the Bush brain trust decided to make the "return" of American soldiers sound like the profit on some particularly shrewd investment. I wonder how the families whose sons and daughters "returned" home from Iraq in pine boxes feel about the latest effort to brand war policy.
Gates's comments followed a White House report yesterday concluding that the Iraqi government has not made satisfactory progress on several political and security benchmarks. In a congressionally mandated assessment, the administration found only modest improvements since an interim report in July.
Also on Tuesday, Roxie's World predicted that if conditions in Iraq don't improve enough for even the adept liars of Bush world to declare a success, the administration would simply "buy time until the disaster can be passed along to someone else." No less a genius than New York Times columnist Paul Krugman agrees with us on that one. Yesterday, Krugman declared that the administration already realizes "that the surge has failed, that the war is lost, and that Iraq is going the way of Yugoslavia." Noting, among other things, the administration's lackadaisical efforts to get the Maliki government to get closer to meeting some of benchmarks it was supposed to be aiming for, Krugman writes:
All in all, Mr. Bush’s actions have not been those of a leader seriously trying to win a war. They have, however, been what you’d expect from a man whose plan is to keep up appearances for the next 16 months, never mind the cost in lives and money, then shift the blame for failure onto his successor.Finally, on the cultural front, glancing at the early reviews, we think we were probably also right about Jodie Foster's new movie, The Brave One. Last Friday, we expressed ambivalence "about the whole gun-toting vigilante aspect of the story" and suggested that Ms. Foster needed to get a little braver about the kind of parts she was taking. A. O. Scott in the Times calls The Brave One a "cowardly" film and "a pro-lynching movie that even liberals can love." Stephen Hunter in Wa Po is more favorably inclined toward the film, calling it "great Jodie Porn" and apparently impressed by director Neil Jordan's attention to "the kinesthetics of violence." Still, his review makes us think this film is going to make us more secure in our conviction that Foster needs to venture out of Hollywood to find scripts and roles more worthy of her talents and intelligence.
We'll offer up our own review of The Brave One as soon as I can persuade the moms to step away from the computers and get themselves to the multiplex. Eventually, they will. Poor Moose is still a sucker for Jodie Porn.
Careful out there, kids. It's a dangerous world.