Ghost Writing

I think it ought to be mandatory for everyone who reads this LAT article to also watch Bill Kristol on TDS. It’s bad enough, after all, to learn that the Petraeus report we’ve all been waiting for might as well be called the Dick Cheney report.

Despite Bush’s repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, administration officials said it would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government.

And though Petraeus and Crocker will present their recommendations onCapitol Hill, legislation passed by Congress leaves it to the presidentto decide how to interpret the report’s data.

Though now I understand how the Administration is going to use the NIE on Iraq that is also due next month–they’re going to interpret the news from the intelligence community for us. And here’s a description of the interpretive process:

The senior administration official said the process had created "uncomfortable positions" for the White House because of debates over what constitutes "satisfactory progress."

During internal White House discussion of a July interim report, some officials urged the administration to claim progress in policy areas such as legislation to divvy up Iraq’s oil revenue, even though no final agreement had been reached. Others argued that such assertions would be disingenuous.

"There were some in the drafting of the report that said, ‘Well, we can claim progress,’ " the administration official said. "There were others who said: ‘Wait a second. Sure we can claim progress, but it’s not credible to . . . just neglect the fact that it’s had no effect on the ground.’"

That is, there will be a vigorous debate in the White House about how much they can lie to us and to Congress in their last-ditch attempt to win support for their failed war.

With that in mind, go back and watch Kristol. Note his emphasis on trust. Petraeus will convince you, he tells Stewart, all the while not explaining why we ought to trust Petraeus.

Hard to believe these guys are about to lose even more credibility, with their thinly-disguised propaganda. But I suspect that’s what’s going to happen.

  1. orionATL says:

    oh no.

    please, god.

    not cursed video at the next hurrah.

    i’m leaving for mars on the first shuttle.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well, Bill and Jon can agree on one thing: PUSSIES are for women, not MANLY MEN.
    Let’s be murderers, but not, god forbid, anything associated with women.
    (though we can all get a good laff out of it…kinda like Benny Hill).

  3. Boo Radley says:

    Shorter Kristol: Our strategy has always been sound, we screwed up on tactics. I couldn’t find anyone else to tell me this except the soldiers in our all-volunteer Armed Forces (and I won’t divulge their names, because they don’t exist).

    FWIW imvho, John Stewart is really good and really worth watching as he destroys Kristol.

  4. Neil says:

    In one respect, it’s better that the White House is issuing a report. It was absurd abdication of commander-in-chief authority to delegate the decision to Patreaus. Now its clear that framing was just a gambit to gain credibility for the decision to extend the failed war policy and co-opt the good General’s eternal optimism.

    EW rightly challenges the conclusions of the imminent WH report and the â€facts†on which it is based. If I’m the chair of the intelligence and armed services committees, I’m insisting that a declassified version of the NIE be made public.

  5. Katie Jensen says:

    This war is wrong. Two hundred dead Iraqi’s today. Jeese.. I thought murder was one of the ten commandments. My body is screaming inside.

    Sorry I just needed a tad more drama. Why won’t congress stop this.

  6. Neil says:

    Shorter: The Daily Show

    Jon Stewert: With all due respect, why should we trust you?

    Bill Kristol: Don’t trust me, Don’t trust Bush (after all, we’ve been wrong about everything WRT Iraq.) Instead, trust the trustworthy people who are using exactly the same talking points we are.

  7. chrisc says:

    Why doesn’t Congress ask Petraeus and Crocker to make their assessment in person (or by video link) and answer questions. If they have a backbone, they won’t stand for the – â€Just trust us- this is what Petraeus said†-BS.

  8. Anonymous says:


    As I understand it (I heard this back in June), the analysts working on it assumed the key judgments would be unclassified.


    Good suggestion. I recall that Crocker, at least, was unwilling to BS the last time he came before Congress.

  9. radiofreewill says:

    After flying indirectly towards the target, wounded stragglers are turned back and the remaining formation tightens-up. The fleet of bombers settles into the most critical stretch – the final run.

    Distractions minimized, all eyes following the leader, inexorably bearing down on the objective…

    Once again, we are hell bound in the dark for an extension of Bush’s messianic, but totally unprincipled and immoral Ideological War.

    Our ’unseen’ government is fighting an ’enemy’ that is not readily apparent to the masses – We who are bearing an enormous and growing War Debt, many of whom have no health care coverage, and all of whom are experiencing eroding Civil Rights – all in the name of fighting Terror.


  10. demtom says:

    Okay, I’m happy to see the LA Times printing this, but what makes anyone sure most of the media will reference this reality when dealing with the Petraeus report? I’ve seen dozens if not hundreds of facts-in-plain-sight that were ignored over the past five years in favor of war-uber-alles propaganda. Kristol clearly indicated: the Wurlitzer will be at full volume telling us Petraeus’ word is unimpeachable. Given, just for instance, the way most rolled over for O’Hanlon/Pollack, despite major pushback from the blogs, why would we assume CNN and the rest won’t make â€The General Has Spoken/The War Must Continue/Everyone Else Shut Up†its final verdict?

    Yeah, the LA Times has more clout than McClatchy, but I’ve been too disappointed by the press’s obtuseness even in the face of overwhelming evidence (e.g., the Time cover story right after the election) to expect them to suddenly report reality on a regular basis.

    None of this, by the way, affects my overall assessment: continuing Iraq is devastating for the GOP, and will lead them to catastrophic defeat in ’08. It’s just watching the insanity continue between now and then that’s hard.

  11. cboldt says:

    While I don’t share the prevailing sentiment here, that the war and subsequent nation-building in Iraq was â€wrong,†or that the best interests of the country are served by â€pulling out now†— and no thank you, I won’t debate the subject here there or anywhere, it would just inflame and annoy with no minds persuaded — I do share the attitude toward the report, that it is to be presumed as heavily biased, not unlikely to the extent of being misleading spin.

    It’s good practice to look a layer or two below what the simplified political pronouncements made for the gullible masses.

  12. radiofreewill says:

    Bush is killing or controlling totally innocent foreign people that he won’t talk to, but doesn’t like, and making them OUR enemies for generations to come.

    Ideological not Principled

    Racist (torture, oppression, hatefulness)
    Authoritarian (total control, no civil rights)
    Theocratic (mission to kill others from the Christian God!)

    It’s not about reason, logic, precedent, negotiation, compromise, intellect, understanding, compassion – it’s about a madman and his goons getting his entitled and hate-infested way at everyone else’s expense.

  13. JohnJ says:

    â€I won’t debate the subject hereâ€

    Must be nice. Let me try that one on my wife (any good divorce lawyers here?)

  14. JohnJ says:

    radiofreewill: glad to see you back, and thank you (11:31). I love it when others speak my thoughts so well.

  15. cboldt says:

    – Must be nice. Let me try that one on my wife –

    It won’t work there

    Obviously the war is a controversial subject. I mentioned my general point of view because I didn’t want my distrust in administration pronouncements to be mistaken for also rejecting the actions that the administration takes — not just by readers here, but also by people who â€make book†on my opinions, wherever I may express them.

    I enjoy a good deal of the banter here, and appreciate the luxury of contributing even though my political sentiment doesn’t fit well here. I figure â€keeping the peace†has better chance of success if I don’t push my point of view against the tide here.

  16. FRP says:

    Personally I glad we are finally getting back to a level of discourse that would allow Marilyn Chambers an authoritative voice . It has been a long time in arriving . Although it is probably a little abstract for the undisputed all-time lightweight world champion gut thinker . I am inclined that the distraction of the former Ivory Soap Lady will suffice as shiny just long enough for his gut and associated thoughts to cry out â€Shiny†long and loud enough to overcome the companion organs incessant chatter .

  17. JohnJ says:

    My apologies cboldt. Just a little snark to match my day. I was actually commenting on the humor of your understandable predicament (and complements for your wisdom).

    This is far any away the most gracious blog I have ever seen, especially considering the subject matter. Even the Troll is well behaved compared to most blogs.

  18. cboldt says:

    – My apologies cboldt. Just a little snark to match my day. –

    No apology necessaary … with that â€let me try that one on my wife†addition, I knew the comment was made in good humor.

    I hope the rest of your day is a joy and pleasure.