Monday, June 27, 2005

With Media’s Help, Old Iraq Rhetoric is New Again
With Media’s Help, Old Iraq Rhetoric is New Again

The mainstream press continues to repeat the canard that the White House is honing a new message on Iraq — see here
, here,13319,FL_bush_062705,00.html
, here
, and here
. (As Dana Bash pointed out on CNN, “this is a communications strategy — even telling reporters that they are going to [shift their Iraq message] is part of that strategy.”)

Well, Secretary Rumsfeld “road-tested”
the purportedly new message this weekend, and it was the rhetorical equivalent of a 1980 Austin Princess:

old, tired, and unreliable.

Knight-Ridder laid out the three major planks of the “new” message:

1. “Progress is being made politically and economically” in Iraq
2. “Insurgency could go on for any number of years”
3. We have never miscalculated, erred, or misled you

Sound familiar? That’s because the White House has been repeating all of these points for months:

Progress in Iraq

“We’re making progress in Iraq.” — President Bush, 2/4/05

“We’re making progress in Iraq.” — President Bush, 10/16/04

“Today the Prime Minister and I discussed our coalition’s progress in Iraq.” — President Bush, 6/4/04

“President Bush, Secretary Rumsfeld Discuss Progress in Iraq.” — White House website, 8/3/03

U.S. in Iraq for Years to Come

“Vice President Dick Cheney recently predicted on CNN that fighting in Iraq should end before the administration leaves in 2009.” — 6/6/05

“I believe it can be bloody and nasty and I believe it’s going to take a lot of hard work over a number of years.” — Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, 5/20/05

“The U.S. military could remain in Iraq for years, but with the passage of time it should be able to step back into more of a supporting role for Iraqi security forces, the Pentagon’s number two official [Paul Wolfowitz] said yesterday.” — 6/23/04

“U.S. expects troops in Iraq for years” — AP headline, 2/20/04

Never Miscalculated, Erred, or Misled

“On Meet the Press yesterday, Rumsfeld took no responsibility for the inadequate troop levels. Asked if, in hindsight, he wished he’d sent in more troops on the ground in Iraq in the first place, he replied, ‘The answer to your…question is no.‘” — 2/7/05

“President Bush and his Cabinet nominees have been sending a firm message as they kick off a second term: no mistakes, no regret, no comment.” — Washington Post, 1/20/05

“Anxious to crush any criticism of his Iraq strategy, especially since his own weapons inspector had just reported that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction before he rushed to war, Mr Bush admitted no mistakes to Linda or the millions of Americans watching.” — The Age, 10/11/04

“American President George Bush grimaced, sighed, rambled and chuckled under his breath on Tuesday, before saying he could not think of a single mistake he had made since the September 11 attacks.” — Reuters, 4/14/04