Brain-dead Susan, busy Lynnell.
Everything today is borrowed, even the photo, from Billmon.
Below is a preview; click on Billmon to read the whole piece.
Up until now I've resolutely ignored the mindless media chatter about a possible "change of course" in Iraq, both because of the absurdity of the metaphor (sinking ships can have only one course -- straight down) and because so much of it appears designed simply to take the heat off the Republicans in the run up to the election. It sometimes seems as if Lee Hamilton's main purpose in life is to serve as the bipartisan front man for GOP political machinations.
But this article in yesterday's New York Times was simply too ridiculous to let it pass in silence. Written by one of the stooges in the Times Washington bureau (the nerve center of the New Pravda) it touts the possibility that the Cheney administration might, just might, be prepared to set "deadlines" for the Iraqi government to meet various objectives, such as disarming the Shi'a sectarian militias.
This passage in particular had me shaking my head in bemusement:
Although the plan would not threaten Mr. Maliki with a withdrawal of American troops, several officials said the Bush administration would consider changes in military strategy and other penalties if Iraq balked at adopting it or failed to meet critical benchmarks within it. (emphasis added)
What, exactly, is that last sentence supposed to mean? Does the writer even know? I doubt it. If a withdrawal is still off the table -- as by all appearances it is, even for Jimmy Baker -- then what sort of "change in military strategy" could possibly constitute a "penalty" severe enough to induce Maliki and his entire cabinet to commit political (and quite possibly physical) suicide?
Is Gen. Casey going to threaten to hold his breathe until his face turns blue?
The appropriate metaphor here is the scene from Blazing Saddles in which the new black sheriff, confronted by an angry mob of racially insensitive townfolk, grabs himself around the neck, points a pistol at his own head and yells: "Don't make a move or the nigger gets it." But, unlike the extras in Mel Brooks's script, I don't think the Maliki government is stupid enough to fall for it.
Go to Bilmon, read the whole thing.