Going Well, Eh?
I’ll believe things are going well in Iraq, when this isn’t the story of the day:
Traveling with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and a small retinue of other top officials, Bush flew to Baghdad in secret Monday night, landing Tuesday afternoon local time. Much of his Cabinet and White House staff was kept in the dark about the trip, and Maliki was told of Bush’s imminent arrival only a few minutes before he landed.
Bush today defended that secrecy, saying he is "a high-value target" for some enemies and that Iraq "is a dangerous place." He said that "half my Cabinet" did not know about the trip and that some secretaries were surprised to see him on a video transmission from Baghdad during a scheduled joint U.S-Iraqi Cabinet meeting yesterday. Giving advance word of the trip "would have given somebody a chance to plan," Bush said, adding that "I was happy to see [Maliki], and he was happy to see me."
Let’s see: the President flies in the dead of night, with no lights on the plane, sneaking in and out of the heavily-fortified green zone area, to meet with the newly elected Prime Minister of Iraq — who is neither trusted enough nor is his staff trusted enough to be informed more than a few minutes prior to meeting with Bush that the President is even on the ground in Iraq…um, hello.
Is the Iraqi government sovereign? Because it sure as hell doesn’t sound like it if we are just flying in and out of their airspace without any formal notification. High target value or not — and I do fully appreciate the need for security given the situation in Iraq — there is no sense pretending that everything is all roses and candy when it is not.
Logic dictates that if the Iraqis are sovereign, we treat them as we treat any other independent nation. That we treat them like we own their airspace and borders, and can do with them as we please, gives lie to everything else the President says about the trip. The public is not all stupid, and more and more they are waking up to the visual con scam that Rover and his ilk have been running.
That he is not called on this point every single time he opens his mouth about it is a testament to how the Commander Codpiece persona can blind the media into complicit silence or fawning awe. (see, e.g., O’Donnell, Noron, MSNBC)
(Great photo by Jason Reed of Reuters (via MSNBC) from today. Look at the faces of the folks on the front row. Classic.)