May 02, 2003

Gloomy W. 43rd Street So,

Gloomy W. 43rd Street

So, how does the main NYT story dealing with Bush's speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln announcing that the Iraq campaign is won portray the scene?

First, what is commonly described as a 3 (or 3 and a half) week war is now a six-week war simply, it appears, because of Dubya's timing in terms of this speech and lack of hasty triumphalist rhetoric before then:

"President Bush's made-for-television address tonight on the carrier Abraham Lincoln was a powerful, Reaganesque finale to a six-week war."

Then, of course, the "cold political and military realities" ominously gather:

"But beneath the golden images of a president steaming home with his troops toward the California coast lay the cold political and military realities that drove Mr. Bush's advisers to create the moment."

Then this graf:

"Even so, administration officials acknowledged that Mr. Bush's declaration of an all-but-over war carried huge risks. Not only could Iraq blow up again, they said, but major tasks were also unfinished. Weapons of mass destruction have not been found, Saddam Hussein's fate is a mystery and American troops remain under attack. Some political strategists say the Republican advantage over Democrats on national security has never been greater, and they questioned whether Mr. Bush should so quickly distance himself from his role as commander in chief."

But the NYT itself reported a while back that WMD had been found.

At least a Michael O'Hanlon quote in the piece provides better balance:

"The big event is over," Michael O'Hanlon, a military expert at the Brookings Institution, said. "Why not take a victory lap, and what politico would advise against it? Bush's tone is excellent right now. He's good at the emotions of war. He doesn't appear giddy. He doesn't appear overcongratulatory. He doesn't have Rumsfeld's tendency to go around and boast and taunt his critics."

Even here, of course, the Times ensures a dig at one of Dubya's major cabinet figures.

Posted by Gregory at May 2, 2003 01:57 PM
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