July 29, 2008

Arguments About The Surge

Arguments about the effect of one tactical decision in a sea of factors are well beyond the media. I'm not saying they're my area of expertise, but I am saying that they're not particularly digestible in today's media environment.

John McCain can't even get the time line straight, never mind causality, and this is what he wants you to think is his issue? Being charitable to McCain, that could be more of an indication of the complexity of the situation than proof of McCain's addled mind.

But McCain and the press want to digest it for you. Everyone is sick of discussion about the mistake that is the Iraq war (how often has McCain been taken to task for supporting this expensive adventure that we now know has tenuous connection to the global war on terror?) so the press focuses on "the surge."

Obama wanted us to have a phased withdrawal long ago, before it was so politically acceptable that even McCain can use the word "timetable." Talking about the surge then was not an argument about whether there would be a temporary drop in violence; it was keeping an eye on how to end our military involvement.

But this doesn't matter at the moment, in the media. Afraid of charges of liberal bias, political reporting cannot simply focus on issues anymore. If the situation seems to be against conservatives, the press has to either exaggerate or fabricate "nooz" to quell criticism that is constantly waiting in the wings. They're thankful and relieved to have a talking point they can repeat so they don't have to come up with one of their own.

Here's my talking point, then, to describe how we knew we were in a bad situation, and how McCain's arguments about the surge and, in fact, the whole political use of the surge is just ridiculous.

When a man loses $4000 at the dog tracks, and his wife tells him they should leave, she's right. When he tells her he wants to bet another $1000, he's wrong. When he makes another bet and wins back $200 or so, what's the conversation like on the ride home?

Is it about how good his judgment was to stay and make back $200? Does that make even the least bit of sense?

This is what you're being asked to accept when McCain, and the press, focus on the surge rather than Obama's increasingly accepted plans for withdrawal.

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Posted by James at July 29, 2008 9:14 AM
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