Smoke & Mirrors, Take 69

The Petraeus Kabuki performance commences today, and the breathless anticipation is palpable. Yeah, well, colour me preemptively unimpressed, underwhelmed and continuing to exhale.

We already know what the honourable General is going to say: sure, the political situation in Iraq sucks, but give the surge yet another F.U. and things should be all sunshine and lollipops. I mean, we’ve heard it straight from the pen of the court stenographer.

So what’s the point of the exercise? To present the Bush admin’s case to the court of public opinion? Or for Congress to cut deep and inspire the MSM to, y’know, do its job (or vice versa)? Some might say that a ‘bold performance’ from the Congresscritters during questioning could put Petraeus on the defensive, and change the tenor of coverage from a thus far compliant press corps that suddenly smells blood.

Fuck that noise.

The same media that all summer has aided and abetted the Bush admin’s PR surge? Bold performances from the likes of Joe Biden, who has already fully embraced GOP talking points as gospel? Oh, and I especially liked how, earlier this year, after much Spectoring, sputtering and bluster, Congress boldly and courageously caved to Executive demands re: previously unlawful domestic surveillance and warrentless wiretapping.


I’m sure there will a pungent stench after today’s dog and pony show, but it sure as hell won’t be blood (or at least not Bush’s blood).

Bush isn’t up for reelection. He can afford to continue defiantly catering to select partisans and his ego, in lieu of reality and a skeptical populace. The court of public opinion no longer has jurisdiction over his decisions. And despite the public by and large seeing through the smoke and mirrors, Congress will roll over yet again – regardless of the award-worthy Kabuki performances that have already begun and will inevitably be continued later today.

Why? Because, in lieu of solid data, Petraeus has his reputation, bolstered by charts and maps. Pretty, colour-coded maps.

6 more months.

Bet on it.

8 Responses to “Smoke & Mirrors, Take 69”

  1. xranger says:

    Contrary to what your ego tells you, don’t consider yourself the all-knowing sooth sayer.

    The Dem Congress implemented the September hearings, tied into the first money appropriation for the surge.

    Petraeus and his ilk have always said it would go thru 2007, at least. If he can draw down a brigade yet this year, fantastic. If not look to draw down by spring.

  2. matttbastard says:

    Hmm, I’m trying to see where what I’ve written is contradicted by anything xranger has so graciously offered in the preceding comment.

    Kabuki is kabuki, regardless of who originally commissioned the made-for-domestic-consumption performance (and I think I’ve made it well clear that the aggrandizement on the part of Congress is a key component of my disgust with the entire theatrical exercise).

    A return to pre-surge troop levels (dictated by logistics, rather than a reflection of any purported ‘success’) is inconsequential; none of this–the surge, Congressionally-mandated hearings, Petraeus and the Jesus juice that courses through his mighty, Princeton-educated veins–will bring the overall US-led occupation to an end (in fact, Petraeus has said will still be ‘necessary’, if not vital, to maintain a US presence after logistics dictate a return to pre-surge troop levels – in other words, stay the course, you dumb motherfuckers).

    Unless political benchmarks are reached, overall security is measurably improved (not just a reflection of violence spreading and diluting), etc, this entire Kagan-spawned endeavour (much like the overall US-led invasion and occupation) will have been a near-criminal waste of time, money, resources, and most importantly, lives – all pissed away to give Bush and Congress some political wiggle room while they delay the inevitable bloody post-occupation clusterfuck (butbutbut victory is just around the corner – the next six months…are…crucial…yeah.)

    But perhaps that’s just my ‘ego’ working overtime. Us all-knowing soothsayers are well known for bitter hubris (and an aversion to shaving. Oh, and the locusts and honey, the original Atkins diet).

    BTW – did anyone mention the dirty ‘R’ word, ie, refugees? There are 4 million+ displaced people–30,000 per day and counting–who are all too fucking aware of just how hollow a gesture the fucking AEI PR surge–and ‘democracy promotion’ in general–has been.

  3. OMG there are refugees?!?!?!!1!!?!

  4. matttbastard says:

    OMG there are refugees?!?!?!!1!!?!

    Not according to Fred Kagan. FF to about 3:55 – apparently (internal) displacement of Iraqi citizens is merely Sadrist propaganda.

    As a side note, this interview is an example of the media doing its job, ie, calling bullshit when arrogant assertions are contradicted by pesky facts. Watch full screen to properly see the sweat on Freddy’s upper lip grow more prominent as the interview progresses (and becomes more heated). One can almost feel him pining for the comfortable, clubby environs of Meet The Press.

  5. Oh why can’t all interviews be performed by Fox News, I bet he’s wondering. Waiting for the boss types to leave my place of business before I check out the interview.

  6. Well, it’s nice to see that the AEI types are not constrained to spreading their propaganda to a solely American audience.

  7. matttbastard says:

    I bet his agent totally got fired for the HARDTalk booking.

    “Srsly, Fred – I thought ‘hard’ was meant in a Chris Matthews kinda way!”

  8. How many toe taps is it again?


  1. The Heretik : I Swear - [...] swear it is a complete shock Petraeus would suggest troop cuts, a whole brigade, sometime in the future, if…

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