Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Spinning Good into Bad

The N&O runs a WaPo article today that defines the MSM spinning good news into bad news.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani thinks we can withdraw as many as 50,000 troops by the end of the year. He is confident that the training of Iraqi troops has progressed enough that Iraqis can replace the U.S. troops. If Talabani is correct, that sounds like extremely good news to me, and it fits right into the Bush administration plan to withdraw troops when the Iraqis are ready to take over.

So how does WaPo and the N&O spin the story:

That assessment (Talabani's) differs dramatically from those offered by Bush and by U.S. military commanders in Iraq. Actually, his assessment does not differ at all from ours. Our military has a plan to leave more troops if needed, but we also have a plan to withdraw our troops if they are not needed.

Talabani's statement has the potential to put Bush in a difficult position if the troops are not pulled out by year's end, since critics are certain to ask why U.S. soldiers cannot come home when Iraq's own president says they can. Well, the statement does have the potential to put Bush in a difficult position, but only if we disagree with Talabani. If we agree, then we will start pulling troops out from a position of strength and success. Even if we disagree with his assessment, it is important to remember that Talabani is only one voice in the government, so as we approach the end of the year we will hear from other Iraqi leaders on the subject.

Could we be seeing yet another big Bush political victory forming? Recall how many times this administration has tended to downplay good news (emphasizing the risks with forming a govt. in Afghanistan so when that miracle occurred it looked even better), or overestimating bad news (announcing deficit projections only to have the actual number come in much lower).

Like a good boxer, the administration has been able to get the dopes like Krugman and Dowd and Gore and Kerry leaning forward as they see an opening, only to find a stiff left jab sitting on their noses. Watch out for the Bush jab in Iraq around October, and maybe a right to follow in December. By that time the whiners will have to find something else to harp about.