September 17, 2003

Keller Watch I'm starting to

Keller Watch

I'm starting to look at the Lelyveld interregnum with increasing nostalgia. Appears the denizens of W. 43rd St. are beginning to view themselves as a new samizdat or such--with the Pentagon playing the censorious Politburo meanies.

How else to explain this hyperbolic claptrap from a Douglas Jehl article in today's NYT?

"The defense officials spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were concerned about retribution for straying from the official line." [my emphasis]

Since when are routine leaks accompanied by such melodramatic verbiage?

I mean, if they are caught, does Rummy personally behead such leakers on the Pentagon grounds or something?


All this said, I agree with the thrust of the article that, given the myriad U.S. raids conducted daily, the generally poor security situation, and difficulties with getting services back on tap--the U.S. presence is creating significant resentment among the local populace--particularly in the so-called Sunni Triangle (though the article claims such sentiments are growing in Shi'a areas too).

Resentment that merits better responses from the National Security Advisor than this quote:

"But there is, even in that part of the country, progress," she said in an interview. "People finished their university exams, the Iraqi symphony orchestra performed and took a tour up to the north. Kids went to school."

The Mozart recitals can come later folks--let's get the electricity up and running first.

Listen, this might still prove to have been a long, hot summer of Iraqi transition pangs and discontent--with the situation improving in the coming months. Jim Hoagland, for one, suggests that might be the case.

But only Panglossian naifs would breathessly cheerlead how the post-war scene has gone to date--and much remedial action is obviously still necessitated.

Bush spoke openly of the "great harm" done to the reconstruction efforts by Iraqi resistance and foreign elements operating in the theater in his recent speech to the nation. His advisors should take a page from his book and more often own up that all is not rosy over in Mesopotamia as well.

Their credibility would be enhanced by stressing the bad news along with the good. The American public is sophisticated enough to handle the mixed news coming out from Iraq.

Anyone expecting a Hollywood blockbuster ending has already sobered up. The Iraq denouement will be lengthy (despite absurdly speedy French sovereignty hand-over proposals). So let's get the straight scoop as often as possible from our leaders during this protracted process--we're all adults and can handle it.

MaDo Encroachments?

A final note. Isn't Jehl's Condi "symphony" quote perhaps suspiciously truncated or otherwise not put in full context? I don't know if a full transcript is available--but might we have a Dowd Award nominee in the works?

Posted by Gregory at September 17, 2003 10:41 AM

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