Gettin' Jiggy Wid It

by digby

Please just shoot me. I can't take any more:

Bush Sees Possible Troop Cuts in Iraq

President Bush raised the possibility Monday of U.S. troop cuts in Iraq if security continues to improve, traveling here secretly to assess the war before a showdown with Congress.

The president was joined by his war cabinet [when did the press start calling it his "war cabinet"?] and military commanders at an unprecedented meeting in Iraq over eight hours at this dusty military base in the heart of Anbar province, 120 miles west of Baghdad.

Bush did not say how large a troop withdrawal might be possible or whether it might occur before next spring when the first of the additional 30,000 troops he ordered to Iraq this year are to start coming home anyway. He emphasized that any cut would depend upon progress.

Gosh. I'm all on pins and needles. What ever do you think will happen?

I say to the President, respectfully, pick whatever number you wish. You do not want to lose the momentum. But certainly, in the 160,000 plus — say 5,000 — could begin to redeploy and be home to their families and loved ones no later than Christmas of this year.

Here, once again for your reading pleasure, is me, from last week:

So, here's how I see the narrative: The surge is working so well that we can bring home 5,000 troops to fight the war on Christmas. But we mustn't set forth any timetables beyond that because things are really starting to move politically over there. Haven't you heard? Everybody's saying that the Prime Minister is on the rocks. That signals political change --- just what we've been waiting for! Hallalujah. All we need to do is hang on just a bit longer to see how that all pans out.

I know everyone knows this. I get that I'm just recycling the obvious. But the press knows they are being manipulated and yet they continue to write stories like this because that's how they perceive their jobs. They report facts --- and the fact is that the president did say this ridiculous swill. But there's something terribly wrong when a large portion of the public, the elite media and all politicians see through this completely --- and yet everyone pretends they don't. Sure there are commentators and bloggers and some others who point out that this is complete nonsense, but it doesn't matter. The president and his allies know that the media, with its outmoded journalistic conventions and useless code of "objectivity" will report all these "facts" with enough credulity that a good portion of the public will buy in and that's all it takes.

These slow motion trainwrecks are all too familiar by now. Krugman knows it better than anyone:

In February 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell, addressing the United Nations Security Council, claimed to have proof that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. He did not, in fact, present any actual evidence, just pictures of buildings with big arrows pointing at them saying things like “Chemical Munitions Bunker.” But many people in the political and media establishments swooned: they admired Mr. Powell, and because he said it, they believed it.

Mr. Powell’s masters got the war they wanted, and it soon became apparent that none of his assertions had been true.

Until recently I assumed that the failure to find W.M.D., followed by years of false claims of progress in Iraq, would make a repeat of the snow job that sold the war impossible. But I was wrong. The administration, this time relying on Gen. David Petraeus to play the Colin Powell role, has had remarkable success creating the perception that the “surge” is succeeding, even though there’s not a shred of verifiable evidence to suggest that it is.

It's hard to believe they're trying this again and it's even harder to believe they'll get away with it. But here we are.

Update: Or as Atrios says...

Update II: Oh my God. From Greenwald:

Our country's authoritarians are glorifying the Leader today like it's 2003, all for his very brave (and covert) sneaking into Iraq. Jules Crittenden (cousin of David Frum) uses language typically reserved for Jesus to describe Bush's every movement:
NPR reporting he's landed, enroute to an econmic summit in Australia. Web reports now coming in.

AP: He's in Anbar, landed at Al-Asad. . . . he's expected to meet with al-Maliki and Sunni tribal leaders who've joined the United States and the Iraqi government against al-Qaeda.

He is risen. This is the same Jules Crittenden who, back in January on the day of the President's speech unveiling the Surge, began his post this way: "George Bush will address us tonight, and show us the way forward." He will show us the way forward.

Similarly, Blue Texan notes that Glenn Reynolds -- in addition to linking to the Crittenden post above -- also linked to a post which began this way: "Unlike the last Commander-in-chief, is there any doubt that the men and women who serve our country love President Bush." Finally, Fred Kagan, writing in National Review, declared that Bush's trip "should be recognized as at least the Gettysburg of this war" -- at least -- and that the Leader's Glorious Visit "could well mark a key turning point in the war in Iraq and the war on terror."

He is Jesus. He is Lincoln. He is beloved by Our Troops. He "shows us the way forward." He is Our Leader.

This is an under appreciated aspect of the working the refs tactic. By contrast to this delusional clap-trap, the MSM believes itself to be harsh and skeptical. Neat, huh?

Of course, many wingnuts believe this stuff completely. They yearn for the codpiece with every fiber of their being.