Torn and Frayed
Not to mention dazed and confused…
President Bush is at odds with the American public and a restive congressional majority over the Iraq war, and even some Republicans talk about imposing new requirements that could trigger a troop withdrawal.
It's time to play the Qaeda card.
In a speech about Iraq yesterday morning at the Willard Hotel, the president mentioned Osama bin Laden's group — 27 times. "For America, the decision we face in Iraq is not whether we ought to take sides in a civil war, it's whether we stay in the fight against the same international terrorist network that attacked us on 9/11," Bush told a group of construction contractors.
. . . "I don't need to remind you who al-Qaeda is," Bush reminded. "Al-Qaeda is the group that plot and planned and trained killers to come and kill people on our soil. The same bunch that is causing havoc in Iraq were the ones who came and murdered our citizens."
As Milbank notes, even Fox News was having trouble buying the new-old spin:
These awkward truths left White House press secretary Tony Snow with hard work at the podium in his first televised briefing since returning from cancer surgery.
Fox News Channel's Bret Baier noted: "This morning the president said that al-Qaeda seems to be a bigger problem than sectarian violence. That seems to fly in the face of what we've heard in recent weeks and months on the ground in Iraq."
"Well," the game press secretary replied, "you've got a shifting series of circumstances."
In other words, they even lose support from their wingnut base in the polls when they admit Iraq is in the middle of a civil war.
Elsewhere on the denial and reused-slogans front, another WaPo story reports from Egypt, where Condoleezza Rice is attending a multi-nation conference and an anonymous aide briefed reporters:
For their part, the official said, Arab governments need to show more appreciation of the problems Maliki faces and the progress, however slow, he has made. Iraq's Sunni Arab neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, do not understand "what's really happening in Iraq," he said.
Yes, that was an American official accusing others of not knowing what's going on in Iraq. For the sake of irony, the article goes on to quote Condi:
This week's gathering of foreign ministers, following a preparatory "neighbors conference" in Baghdad in March, is the beginning of a lengthy process, Rice said. "The most important message I'll be delivering is that a stable, unified and democratic Iraq is an Iraq that will be a pillar of stability in the Middle East," she said.
Yes, and owning a unicorn will help me get to work without spending money on gas (and give me a handy place to hang my jacket). If, that is, a unicorn existed in the first place.