Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

Many of you have

Many of you have read this Knight-Ridder article by Strobel and Walcott already. But in <$NoAd$>case you haven't or only did so in passing, let me excerpt the first few grafs ...

In March 2003, days before the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, American war planners and intelligence officials met at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina to review the Bush administration's plans to oust Saddam Hussein and implant democracy in Iraq.

Near the end of his presentation, an Army lieutenant colonel who was giving a briefing showed a slide describing the Pentagon's plans for rebuilding Iraq after the war, known in the planners' parlance as Phase 4-C. He was uncomfortable with his material - and for good reason.

The slide said: "To Be Provided."

A Knight Ridder review of the administration's Iraq policy and decisions has found that it invaded Iraq without a comprehensive plan in place to secure and rebuild the country. The administration also failed to provide some 100,000 additional U.S. troops that American military commanders originally wanted to help restore order and reconstruct a country shattered by war, a brutal dictatorship and economic sanctions.

In fact, some senior Pentagon officials had thought they could bring most American soldiers home from Iraq by September 2003. Instead, more than a year later, 138,000 U.S. troops are still fighting terrorists who slip easily across Iraq's long borders, diehards from the old regime and Iraqis angered by their country's widespread crime and unemployment and America's sometimes heavy boots.

"We didn't go in with a plan. We went in with a theory," said a veteran State Department officer who was directly involved in Iraq policy.

In truth this is not so different from what folks who were reporting on this stuff at the time were hearing as it all unfolded. But it's quite a thing to hear all the unforgivable details set out in such detail.

Soon to join the

Soon to join the jobless?

The DC Bureau chief of Sinclair Broadcasting, Jon Lieberman, is denouncing his employer's plan to air an hourlong, unpaid Swift Boat ad later this week, according to the Baltimore Sun.

"It's biased political propaganda, with clear intentions to sway this election ... For me, it's not about right or left -- it's about what's right or wrong in news coverage this close to an election."

Sinclair News VP Joe DeFeo has told Lieberman he risks being canned for speaking out and refusing to participate in the presentation of the 'documentary.'

While Gallup and ABCWaPo

While Gallup and ABC/WaPo are trending for Bush, Zogby is trending for Kerry. This morning Zogby has the two tied at 45%, from a 2 point Bush lead yesterday and four points the day before that.

To understand the presidents

To understand the president's trip to New Jersey and much of what's happening now in the campaign, I -- with apologies -- refer folks back to TPM's second ever post from November 13th, 2000, on Rove, his 'band-wagon' theory, and the Bush White House confidence game. This is very, very similar.

The best way to

"The best way to avoid the draft is to vote for me."

Those were George W. Bush's words yesterday on the campaign trail.

There's no better example of the tactical flexibility achieved when you completely cut campaign rhetoric off from reality.

As we've noted earlier, President Bush's policies don't necessitate a draft. But to claim that his policies make a draft less likely than John Kerry's policies is simply irrational.

If nothing else, consider the president's own rhetoric. Bush claims that Kerry will precipitously withdraw troops from Iraq. He also says that he, unlike Kerry, will pursue a more forward-leaning military-based war on terror. Those two claims simply aren't consistent with Kerry being more likely to bring back a draft.

In addition to being palpably false, what the president is saying doesn't even make sense -- at least to those of us in the 'reality-based community'. At least from the AP story linked above, the president's rationale seems to be that "The person talking about a draft is my opponent." I doubt very much that the president's folks even have a rationale for what he's saying. Words divorced from reality.

In the summer of

"In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'

Ron Suskind, "Without a Doubt", New York Times Magazine

In meetings Id ask

''In meetings, I'd ask if there were any facts to support our case. And for that, I was accused of disloyalty!''

Christie Whitman, as quoted by Ron Suskind in the New York Times Magazine.