Kudos to Tim Russert, host of NBC's Meet the Press. Russert's guest Sunday was General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Like the good partisan soldier that he is, Pace defended the invasion of Iraq and offered up the usual spin that everything's going "very, very well." He also blamed the massive unpopularity of the war on the media for only showing America the negative news. Don't they ever get tired of regurgitating this inane rhetoric?
With great loyalty and courage, the General did his best to defend the administration's colossal miscalculations about WMD, the size of the insurgency, the level of initial troop strength and the likelihood of civil war. According to the Bushies and their Sunday spokesman Pace, no one--not the public, the media, politicians--has an ability to see what's really going on on the ground over there. Everybody's got it wrong, except them, Pace suggested. And we're supposed to believe them, when they've been dead wrong about everything so far? Give Pace points for trying. Like I said, he's a loyal soldier in Bush's army.
But the unintentional honesty came when Russert nailed Pace to the wall with a very simple question about overall safety in Iraq. Russert read Pace a quote from staunch conservative writer William F. Buckley, who recently said: "One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. ... Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans." Buckley said there were two postulates: "One of these postulates, from the beginning, was that the Iraqi people, whatever their tribal differences, would suspend internal divisions in order to get on with life in a political structure that guaranteed them religious freedom. The accompanying postulate was that the invading American army would succeed in training Iraqi soldiers and policymakers to cope with insurgents bent on violence. This last did not happen. And the administration has, now, to cope with failure."
Pace's expected reply: "Mr. Buckley would probably do well to take a trip over to Iraq and walk the streets and talk to Iraqis, and talk to Iraqi government, talk to Iraqi army, talk to Iraqi police....This is not a failure."
The brilliant comeback by Russert: "Do you really believe it'll be safe for William F. Buckley to walk the streets of Baghdad?"
And the tail-between-the-legs-of-the-week award goes to (drumroll please)...General Pace: "I think not all the places in Baghdad, no, but I do believe that if he had a chance to get over there, properly escorted--I would want to be escorted myself..." Sure, all Buckley needs to do is strap on some body armour, hop in a humvee and surround himself with soldiers and he too can see first-hand all this amazing progress.
Beautiful, just beautiful.