Sunday, October 29


Wow. George Will has been sharply critical of the Bush administration's war of choice in Iraq for quite a while now. Like so many others, you can date their outspokenness to the post-2004 presidential election period, which maddens me even while I applaud their long-awaited road-to-Damascus conversion: think what suffering we could have prevented had they spoken of what they must have been considering prior to the election! We might even now be in the midst of a Kerry administration instead of dreading desperately the final two years under Bush's governance.

Nevertheless, George has been growing more and more caustic of late, and in this new column in Newsweek you can literally hear the frustration and disbelief his words are expressing.

A surreal and ultimately disgusting facet of the Iraq fiasco is the lag between when a fact becomes obvious and when the fiasco's architects acknowledge that fact. Iraq's civil war has been raging for more than a year; so has the Washington debate about whether it is what it is.

In a recent interview with Vice President Cheney, Time magazine asked, "If you had to take back any one thing you'd said about Iraq, what would it be?" Selecting from what one hopes is a very long list, Cheney replied: "I thought that the elections that we went through in '05 would have had a bigger impact on the level of violence than they have ... I thought we were over the hump in terms of violence. I think that was premature."

He thinks so? Clearly, and weirdly, he implies that the elections had some positive impact on the level of violence. Worse, in the full transcript of the interview posted online he said the big impact he expected from the elections "hasn't happened yet." "Yet"? Doggedness can be admirable, but this is clinical.

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