Saturday, August 16

Weapons of Mass Self-Destruction: The Vultures Are Circling

Michael Wolff writes an incredible article in New York Magazine on the vultures circling George Bush - that the behavior of this administration vis-a-vis Iraq is so abhorrent, so wrong-headed, that only two conclusions can be drawn:

•This postwar (or post-postwar) querulousness is just a blip for the president, and, as so often before, the Bush political and communications experts will make the necessary adjustments (or do the requisite bullying) and, with relative media quiescence, charge on.

•The war and its aftermath—which is unfolding pretty much exactly as the antiwar forces said it would—have created a situation of great vulnerability for the president, which the media, goaded by the Democrats, will poke and prod with mounting pleasure. The president and his men will become more and more defensive and, as the bullying becomes more brazen, prone to greater and greater mistakes. Hence the stage is set for political calamity.

But which is it? It can’t be both.

And the media, which has grown so dependent on the White House writers, is now uncertain where to go on its own (it’s part of the problem—the media expects that the Bushies will come up with some great new plot twist).


The extent of the screwup in Iraq is nearly as great as it could possibly be. Nothing works in the country, a war of attrition continues and grows, and the U.S. bears all of the responsibility. It isn’t just a bad situation, but if, having so grandly assumed this gargantuan and imperial task, we don’t make it into a good situation, we’ve failed. The Bushies promised nothing less than Democracy in the postwar raj. What were they thinking? They didn’t, obviously, plan an exit strategy. (In Afghanistan, we were able to simply pack up and go.) Nobody left any wiggle room—there’s no graceful fallback.

Now the president’s men are caught with their mouths open.

The recent pictures of Wolfowitz in Iraq were priceless: Standing in the rubble at the conjunction of fantasy life and real life, there was a dazed-looking man with a quizzical expression.

The self-destruction?

Blame is in play.

It’s on the CIA now. It’s hovering near Condi Rice (who hovered near the president during his press conference). It keeps moving and spreading. The inevitable effect of reassigning the blame is that you start to really piss people off. Indeed, you piss off vast and powerful parts of the bureaucracy itself. And the bureaucracy, loyal only to itself, inevitably turns on you.

There's not a wasted word in the entire article. Go. Read. Now.