Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Me and Paul
Well, this will help us win hearts and minds--the bombing of a Fallujah mosque during daily prayers. The story has it that insurgents were firing on Americans from inside, but we also seem to have killed a fair number of civilians while trying to get the insurgents. We are offended down to our souls at terrorists who make no distinction between civilians and soldiers, between the innocent and the culpable--but as long as we make so little distinction between the innocent and the guilty when it comes to blowing Iraqis to kingdom come, we can expect to reap what we sow.

That the shit is starting to unravel in Iraq is a pretty common sentiment today--at least among that part of the polity not congenitally predisposed to believe that everything George W. Bush touches is wonderful by definition. (And even some precincts there are starting to stir.) Just one example is a piece in Salon by Jen Banbury, which describes the change in Iraqi attitudes toward Westerners in the last few days. It's obvious that we've moved into a new phase of Bush's war, but what it is, nobody can tell yet.

But it's all the same to our Maximum Leader. We can most likely expect him to go out in front of a camera in the next few hours and repeat that we will stay the course and we will not be deterred. Nobody really wants to know how bad it would have to get before the administration would admit that they might need to modify their policy. But you can bet that if and when they see the light, they'll couch their modification in such a way as to make it sound like they meant to do it all along.

Recommended reading: From the "You Had to Know It Was Coming" department, the news that the final report of the 9/11 commission may be delayed until after the November election thanks to the vetting it will undergo at the White House. What a perfect opportunity for a stonewall. If it starts to look like the administration is dragging its feet to save its ass this fall, somebody will need to leak the damn thing. Daniel Ellsberg, call your office.

And finally, if you were a New York Times columnist, which New York Times columnist would you be? Take this quiz and find out. (I'd be Paul Krugman. I'm so proud.)

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