Friday, July 18, 2008

Bushian Rhetoric in Action: Iraq Pullout

Remember kids: A 'timetable' for withdrawal of American troops, bad. A 'time horizon' for the same, good. It may seem a semantic argument to most of us, but in the bi-polar reality of American politics the difference becomes amplified by virtue of from whence it emanates. That is, whether the speaker is branded with an 'R' or a 'D.'

President Bush agreed to “a general time horizon” for withdrawing American troops in Iraq, the White House announced Friday, in a concession that reflected both progress in stabilizing Iraq and the depth of political opposition to an open-ended military presence in Iraq and at home.

Combined with the admission of the true state of Afghanistan, the administration is slowly vindicating the opinions of those it has shouted down and stonewalled for the last five years, even if it is hesitant to admit it.

The suggestion of troop withdrawal presents itself as the administration's admission of the flailing status of negotiations over the long-term presence it was attempting to foist onto Iraq, which was more prepared for the onslaught than Bush had hoped. I have documented the details of that agreement in some depth. As per usual, the administration would never frame it as such, but the truth can easily be inferred, a practice which everyone should be well acquainted with by now.

The article cited presents its own frustrations, namely the nasty habit of our stenographer press to instantly parrot whatever meaningless term the administration bestows upon something to blur its true meaning. In a country with an ostensibly free press, one would assume that journalists would be capable of replacing the term 'time horizon' with 'timetable' so as not to play the administration's hand for them. It's obvious why the administration would avoid the latter term, as they have consistently called anyone in support of it cowards or worse. The press, however, is under no obligation to adhere to the administration's semantic gamesmanship.

This tactic has been seen in the past, both in the run-up to the Iraq invasion and after, most recently when every journalist began using the term 'special groups,' on precisely the same day the administration gave them their cue so as to blur the lines between the Iranian-backed Shiite militias we oppose and the Iranian-backed Shiite militias we support. Americans have been granted a free press by the Constitution. The next step is to find journalists who care to exercise that right. The government can do its own dissembling, it doesn't need a complicit press for aid.


Iraq SOFA: Out on the Curb?
, July 14
When a Guest Becomes a Squatter, June 15
Testimonial Vindication, April 8

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