November 03, 2003
Lying liars and the editors who enable them

Molly Ivins' column appears each Monday in the Seattle Times. In last week's column (ironically headlined Lie after lie after lie), Ivins told us a whopper of a lie -- that the administration sent

500 letters ... to American newspapers in the names of serving soldiers without their knowledge or permission
This lie has been debunked here and elsewhere. I e-mailed the Times asking them to retract Ivin's misrepresentation, but did not receive a response. Today's column repeated last week's lie and gave us a brand new lie:
Not to wish ill on Wolfowitz, but he is the one who promised us this war would be "a cakewalk"
I have never found any evidence that Paul Wolfowitz or any other administration figure ever made such a remark. The only verifiable use of the term "cakewalk" in this sense that I'm aware of was made by Kenneth Adelman, who has never been a member of this Bush administration. See for example, Kenneth Adelman's essay from Feb. 27, 2003
One year ago [2/13/2002], The Washington Post published my article "Cakewalk in Iraq," which predicted that "demolishing Hussein’s military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk."

Though that view has been denounced, even disparaged, by nearly everyone from Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz on down, I remain as confident now as I was then.
I e-mailed this quote to the top editors over at the Seattle Times. I asked them to either press Molly Ivins to produce documentation that Wolfowitz promised that the war would be a "cakewalk" or to print a retraction. I'll keep you posted on their response, if any.

I notice that Ivins' original column contains this other widely discredited lie:

George Nethercutt, a Republican congressman from Washington state, spent four days in Iraq and told an audience at home: "The story of what we've done in Iraq is remarkable. It is a better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day."

Major oops. "Let's ignore the dead soldiers" is not going to improve anything.

The Seattle Times had the good sense to remove the above lie from their version of Ivins' column [print only]. They could still do an even better job of fact-checking and editing Ivins' columns. Or better yet, they could fire Ivins and treat us to a more honest and thoughtful columnist. There are many to choose from.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at November 03, 2003 12:40 PM
Comments

Since when in the last 100 years has the left ever been concerned with facts? Ideology comes first, and truth is bent to achieve their political ends.

Posted by: Jeff Kline on November 3, 2003 01:21 PM

> Or better yet, they could fire Ivins and treat us to a more honest and thoughtful columnist.

Really? Which honest and thoughtful columnist meets the ST's other criteria?

Posted by: Andy Freeman on November 3, 2003 01:21 PM

Let's say the Times could begin a new dawn and install a columnist who had enough sensory perception to recognize more than the party line of the Democratic left wing.

Lileks would do for a start. Likewise Mary Steyn. They actually write about what they observe.

Posted by: Insufficiently Sensitive on November 3, 2003 01:40 PM

Andy,

They'll have a problem. "Old, frequently-drunk, ultra-liberal female Texan writer" is not a category easily filled.

Posted by: Kim du Toit on November 3, 2003 01:41 PM

Ivin's home paper is the Ft. Worth Star Telegram, (http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/ ) - While I'm not suggesting she wasn't remiss in her fact checking, you might get better retraction results contacting her home paper instead of the Seattle Times. If you already did so - apologies, it wasn't clear :)

Posted by: Jeff on November 3, 2003 01:44 PM

No offense, but reporting that Molly Ivins is lieing to support her liberal agenda is like reporting that a dog bit a mail carrier.

What is news is that she is a relic of the last millenium and now we actually have a decent sprinkling of truthful commentators spread about the print media.

Posted by: Joel Mackey on November 3, 2003 01:50 PM

Uh, dude, she never says that the letters were sent by the Administration. The whole quote is as follows:
'While it is certainly not in the same category as the deceptions described above, there was something so sad about the episode last week in which it was discovered that 500 letters had been sent to American newspapers in the names of serving soldiers without their knowledge or permission.'
Granted she makes it seem as if the Admin may have had something to do with it, but if you are upset with her for insinuating something which may or may not be true, why would you turn around and insinuate something which is patently false in response? She was wrong about the Wolfowitz quote, and you are right to call her on it, but why destroy your own credibility by committing the very same sins of integrity which you wish to decry? Where's the honesty in that?

Posted by: Brian on November 3, 2003 02:00 PM

Brian,

Unless there's been a further development in the letters-to-the-editor story that I missed, all the 500 or so "form letter" were sent with the soldiers knowledge and permission. I believe the episode entailed soldiers signing the prepared letters.

Cordially...

Posted by: Rick on November 3, 2003 02:06 PM

Uh dude, like you are so totally getting a dell, for surrrre.

anyway, those soldiers signed it, even addressed it, and basically asserted that this was their story. saying it isnt is like saying that soldiers dont mean that they intend to protect the consitution becuase they all have swear the same oath.

there is no way to have gotten this story without realizing that the soldiers meant what was written.

well, there was no way before molly

Posted by: Dustin on November 3, 2003 02:14 PM

Like so many of her left leaning fantascists, Molly Ivins is not only a liar but a plagiarist. The words honesty and integrity are not part of her culture.

Posted by: Millie Woods on November 3, 2003 02:14 PM

Molly's stock rose briefly after the 2000 election cause she sounded to the rest of the country like someone who had a line on Texas politics, and knew the real dope on Bush. That and, hey, a Texas liberal. Thought we rounded em all up when we sent Jim Hightower out to pasture!

But it didn't take long for people to read her doo-doo and figure out she doesn't have a clue and couldn't find one with both hands and a flashlight.

Me, I like having her around, writing just what she does. Mostly cause I like to gig my liberal friends after they make a point by saying "that's exactly what Molly Ivins said a while back".

Posted by: Dave in Texas on November 3, 2003 02:18 PM

Great work, Shark, as always--keep it up!

Posted by: Roger L. Simon on November 3, 2003 02:47 PM

I'm still trying to figure out why it's okay to inundate Congress or the President or you local newspapers with form letters backing some lefty cause, but a crime when soldiers in Iraq so something similar. Does this Mean "Not In Our Name" will discontinue its operations?

Posted by: JorgXMcKie on November 3, 2003 02:49 PM

Seattle Times could save time by hiring Florence King who has recently moved out there. She is the columnist from whom Molly Ivins plagiarized. She recently retired from the National Review

Posted by: Leon on November 3, 2003 02:51 PM

Yes, she does say it was the administration, one paragraph down:
"The faked letters said in identical language that everything was hunky-dory over there in Iraq – we are doing much good and are greatly appreciated. According to a survey published in Stars and Stripes, not an antiwar rag, about a third of Americans serving in Iraq have already concluded the war had little or no value. If administration officials want to lie, they should at least lie under their own names."

Posted by: Kat on November 3, 2003 03:01 PM

Nethercutt himself admits that he made those statements. He is upset that they were "taken out of context". Specifically...

Nethercutt claims he said the reconstruction of Iraq is "a bigger and better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day which, which heaven forbid is awful."

The newspaper quoted hmi as saying...

The P-I quoted him the next day as saying: "The story of what we've done in the post-war period is remarkable. ... It is a better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day."

The story went on to say that Nethercutt "added that he did not want any more soldiers to be killed."

Nethercutt runs ads against P-I

If that's a "lie" what do your think about our current administration? Oh wait... they don't lie. They misspeak.

Posted by: Young Goodman Brown on November 3, 2003 03:06 PM

I would like to second Brian's comments. I'm no fan of the Krugman/Ivins/Dowd axis for limiting Bush to one term (aw hell, I despise them) but how can one critique the 'fast and loose with the facts' style they exhibit by employing the same tactics, even if to a far lesser degree (to be fair)?

Posted by: Matt Ryan on November 3, 2003 03:12 PM

Aren't I the fool. I accepted Brian's 'take' on Ivin's 'may or may not be' accusing the administration of being behind the letters without actually reading the column. Thanks, Kat, for setting the record straight as the reality is about as black and white as Ivins ever gets.

My comment stands in general but regarding the application to Shark Blog: nevermind. And 1,000 apologies.

Posted by: Matt Ryan on November 3, 2003 03:22 PM

I love these entertaining little dogfights. Most of the time they center on whether one columnist or another used an inappropriate word or dropped the ball on a fact or two.

As obviously well-informed people, all of us knew immediately that it was Adelman who said "cakewalk", and that at least some of the soldiers complained of having their signatures forged on the letter. Additionally, does one have to actually be on the payroll to be a part of the administration?

People on both sides of the several key issues in play now should tighten their grip on truth and focus on what is ultimately good for the American people as a whole. The one and only remedy we have is the vote, which is the ultimate arbiter of performance for the public good.

We can throw away billions of dollars on an idealogical hell hole, let our rich friends make more money than they could spend in a hundred lifetimes, and wave a few hundred dollars in front of a factory worker while sending his job overseas. We can also fail to step up and oppose policies we disagree with because we want to get reelected.

In the end somebody always ends up taking a trip to the woodshed.

Posted by: SemiPundit on November 3, 2003 04:04 PM

They want to show their big brothers in the Big Media Politburo (the New York Times, the LA Times, etc.) that they too can fabricate quotes and otherwise stoop low to further the great leftist mission of dscrediting any non-Democrat. At least they didn't spell the deupty secretary's name "Wolfovitz" the way the BBC did, over and over again.

Posted by: Sergio on November 3, 2003 04:10 PM

does one have to actually be on the payroll to be a part of the administration?

Actually, yes.
--------

The liberal's MO has become clear by now. They observed how devastatingly the Republicans used the charge of "liar" against Clinton (never mind that it was true in his case) so, they have adopted it as their own, even as they step up their own level of mendacity. They know they cannot compete with the Republicans in the marketplace of ideals if they are honest so, their strategy is to tar the Republicans with the "liar" label while they outgun them in the intensity of lies.

Can't fault them on strategy - like Vince said, the best defense is a strong offense.

Posted by: Reid on November 3, 2003 04:23 PM

The rhetorical reason she had to attribute the "cakewalk" meme incorrectly to Paul Wolfowitz is she wanted to sneer at him for being frightened because he actually had come under fire in Iraq. If she quoted Adelman, it made no sense.

She also claimed that Baghdad was so dangerous that members of Congress who visited actually stayed overnight in Kuwait. Given the distance between Kuwait and Baghdad that is highly unlikely, and in fact I later found an interview with a delegation of eight Congresswomen who apparently stayed in the al-Rashid Hotel in Baghdad, as well as in Mosul.

Posted by: linsee on November 3, 2003 04:26 PM

Here's a link to a Molly Ivins column with a statement that caused me to award her "Idiotic Comment of the Week", (a category I created just for the occasion)

The line: "Iraq never had anything to do with al Qaeda...", as if this is a statement of Revealed Truth, requiring no explanation. Whether the comment indicates ignorance or "lies" is really unimportant. What's important is that this nitwit has a regular place on America's op-ed pages as a major syndicated columnist. What a disgrace!

Posted by: Dan Wismar on November 3, 2003 04:27 PM

Right on Dan. The libs have latched on to the administration admitting they had no definitive proof of links between Saddam and the atrocities of September 11, 2001 as proof that there were no links whatsoever between Saddam and Al Qaeda. This despite the fact that numerous members of the administration, including the President himself, are on record saying that there is undeniable proof of links between Saddam and Al Qaeda!

Posted by: Reid on November 3, 2003 04:31 PM

"The only verifiable use of the term 'cakewalk' in this sense that I'm aware of was made by Kenneth Adelman, who has never been a member of this Bush administration."

Yup. IIRC, you still owe me a cupcake over that one.

Posted by: Xrlq on November 3, 2003 04:54 PM

You guys should lighten up on Semipundit. I've checked out his website and find it informative and thought-provoking. I think that being part of the administration includes being in concentric rings in the circle of influence. Surely you understand that paid officials can have tea and scones with folks from the Heritage Foundation, not to mention having some of the energy executives over for a secret meeting or two.

Face it-- many of you will go to sleep tonight with a little bead or two of flopsweat on your brow.

Posted by: Greg on November 3, 2003 05:09 PM

"Greg" writes above that

You guys should lighten up on Semipundit. I've checked out his website and find it informative and thought-provoking
Believe it or not, "Greg" posted from IP address 12.77.162.236, which resolves to 236.knoxville-01-03rs.tn.dial-access.att.net.

"Semipundit", on the other hand, posted from IP address 12.77.162.71, which resolves to 71.knoxville-01-03rs.tn.dial-access.att.net

Here at the Shark Blog, we give you at least one chance-in-a-million coinky-dink every hour.

Posted by: Stefan Sharkansky on November 3, 2003 05:48 PM

Here's the test: did any of you readers and writers read Ann Coulter's books? And if so, what do you think of them?

If you say, "Yes, and they're full of lies, mendacity, and distortions," you have a right to nitpick Ivins' colums.

If you say, "Yes, and she's got it absolutely right," then you are a partisan hack who only has a problem with lies and distortions when they come from people who don't agree with you.

If you say, "No, I've never had the pleasure," you are better off staying that way.

Posted by: beetroot on November 3, 2003 05:52 PM

Congratulations on passing the test! I'm surprised that it came so quickly.

It is important to note that security today is now tenuous for all of us. I regret to say that after all these years, I finally have that little pang of fear lurking somewhere at the bottom of my stomach that says "we know who you are, where you are,.....

Posted by: Greg on November 3, 2003 06:01 PM

Please forgive Greg's impetuosness. We are good friends and business partners who often use the same computers. He was at my house this evening when we came across your comments.

I bet you do this to all the guys.

Posted by: SemiPundit on November 3, 2003 06:13 PM

And Cakewalk mentioned by MarK (not Mary) Steyn.

Which, in reality, it turned out to be. What was the actual time, border to Baghdad? 17 days? less than 100 Allied combat deaths? NO carpet-bombing? Massive Iraqi surrenders? Cakewalk in MY book, Folks...

Posted by: SharpShooter on November 3, 2003 06:18 PM

SemiPundit:

I bet you do this to all the guys.
Not to all the guys, only to the guys who post silly comments and shill for themselves using multiple fake names and the same IP address.

Posted by: Stefan Sharkansky on November 3, 2003 06:20 PM

Suuuure you are.

Posted by: Brad on November 3, 2003 06:27 PM

But wait -- Molly declared she wasn't a liberal. I heard it with my own two ears on CSPAN when she was seated next to Al Franken. I'm not kidding -- true story.

Posted by: Carlee on November 3, 2003 06:40 PM

You don't understand. There may have been a fudge or two, but Molly Ivins is righteous and supports the righteous, so she doesn't have to fuss with all that claptrap like objectivity and truthfulness.

That's why Bill and Hillary could excoriate the "make-a-mint" mindset of the eighties, while taking part in it.

That's also why I'm a former liberal.

Posted by: Alex Bensky on November 3, 2003 06:40 PM

Molly calls herself a Texan, but in fact is a native Californian. Real Texans just don't grow that crooked.

Posted by: Doug Welty on November 3, 2003 07:13 PM

1. Richard Perle characterized the then upcoming invasion of Iraq as a "cakewalk" on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer in the late winter of 2003.

2. If indeed there were links between Al Qaeda and Saddam (which there may have been) the Administration has yet to give definitive evidence of them.

Posted by: Joseph Miller on November 3, 2003 08:27 PM

Who knows what evil lurks in the IP addresses of blog posters? The Shark knows . . .

Posted by: ipsofacto on November 3, 2003 08:43 PM

Well, Joseph, they have stated it categorically and often and, there are Democrats with a need-to-know clearance who could have called them on it if it wasn't true. Here, Bush is quoted as saying "There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al Qaeda ties".

There are also a myriad of popular sources that list various links. Try this extensive listing from Winds of Change.

Posted by: Reid on November 3, 2003 09:48 PM

Joseph Miller,

Your comment was:

"If indeed there were links between Al Qaeda and Saddam (which there may have been) the Administration has yet to give definitive evidence of them."

I have links to some of the reporting of Stephen Hayes, among other evidence of the Saddam-Al Qaeda connections at this blog post

It links to a recent article by Hayes, and down below has links to four other articles by him going back to 5/03. In fact, one of the Hayes pieces takes the administration to task for NOT going public with what they know precisely because it fosters the kind of public perception typified by your comment that, based on what you've seen in the media you are exposed to, those connections don't exist, when they clearly do. I would urge you to read the entire Hayes set. It's fascinating.

Have a good one.

Posted by: Dan Wismar on November 3, 2003 09:52 PM

Reid,

Thanks. Between your links and mine, we should keep Joseph busy for a while, and do for at least one more person the job our media should be doing for every citizen.

Posted by: Dan Wismar on November 3, 2003 09:54 PM

Right-o, Dan. Joseph says "the Administration has yet to give definitive evidence of them." Please reference Colin Powell's speech at the UN prior to the war:

"But what I want to bring to your attention today is the potentially much more sinister nexus between Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist network, a nexus that combines classic terrorist organizations and modern methods of murder. Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi an associate and collaborator of Usama bin Laden and his al-Qaida lieutenants."

Posted by: Reid on November 3, 2003 10:01 PM

In fact, Powell's linking Saddam to Al Qaeda was extensive (gotta' admit, I never read this thing through before to know what all was in there either - it's pretty heavy).

"We are not surprised that Iraq is harboring Zarqawi and his subordinates. This understanding builds on decades-long experience with respect to ties between Iraq and al-Qaida. Going back to the early and mid-1990s when bin Laden was based in Sudan, an al-Qaida source tells us that Saddam and bin Laden reached an understanding that al-Qaida would no longer support activities against Baghdad. Early al-Qaida ties were forged by secret high-level intelligence service contacts with al-Qaida, secret Iraqi intelligence high-level contacts with al-Qaida.

We know members of both organizations met repeatedly and have met at least eight times at very senior levels since the early 1990s. In 1996, a foreign security service tells us that bin Laden met with a senior Iraqi intelligence official in Khartoum and later met the director of the Iraqi intelligence service."

Posted by: Reid on November 3, 2003 10:06 PM

The amazing thing to me is that not just regular citizens like Mr. Miller, but the mainstream press itself waits around to be spoonfed by "the administration" information that in many cases they will later portray as dubious, because it comes from "the administration". What is missing is the apparently lost art of "reporting", like that done by notable exceptions to the rule like Stephen Hayes, Jayna Davis, and a few others.

Posted by: Dan Wismar on November 3, 2003 10:22 PM

The vice-president DID say cakewalk.

He didn't, however, say the war would be a cakewalk. He said, in a television interview before we went into Iraq, that (I'm paraphrasing from memory)it could be a "cakewalk" or it could be a beat down drag out hard fight , we simply didn't know.

So someone in the administration did mention a "cakewalk" but he never claimed the war would be one, and in no way implied it would be.

Kal

Posted by: Kalroy on November 3, 2003 10:45 PM

I have read both of Ann Coulter's books.

The first, "Slander", was well written and footnoted/endnoted. It offers proof of the left wing slant America is exposed to every day. Ann's meticulous footnoting offers proof to her charges, something the media will not do. Taken with "Bias" from Goldberg, and you have a comprehensive look at what is wrong with the reporting today.

In her second book,"Treason", she debunks the myths surrounding Senator McCarthy with the same meticulous footnoting as her first book. If she had stuck to that I would have as glowing a recommendation. She also injects comparisons of current events to events in the McCarthy era. I found the Bill Clinton this and Hillary that to be distracting, and ammo to her critics that the book was a right wing screed, eventhough the comparisons were valid.

So, what is your point? If I agree with the facts that SENATOR Joe McCarthy had nothing to do with the HOUSE un-American Committee, That the few folks who were "persecuted" by said committee actually enjoyed fame fortune and prosperity, I'm a right wing hack? I say that any one who makes such charges, could not have read either book and proves themselves to be a left wing hack. Pulease.

And I sleep very well at night knowing we have a president who knows what it takes to defeat terror and keep us safe.

Even though no official said it, the march to Bagdad was, historically speaking, a "cakewalk" and will go down in history as a great military accomplishment.

Grow up.

Posted by: Dark Jethro on November 4, 2003 03:29 AM

Dark Jethro, Coulter's "extensive footnotes" have been fisked to death all over the Web. You don't have to be a "left wing" hack to do some research. Her apologetic interpretation of McCarthyism is only the most egregious of her historical distortions. She is to politics what pro wrestlers are to sports: a professional illusionist, feeding the blood lust of a willfully decieved audience.

(And sure, she's got some valid ideas, just as the wrestlers are, in fact, athletes. But the bottom line is that both are bulls**t artists.)

And as for the "cakewalk" comment: regardless of whether anyone ever used the word, it is undeniable that the Bush administration did everything it possibly could to make the Iraq invasion sound like it would be fast, cheap, and decisive. Remember Rumsfeld slapping down the general who suggested we might need hundreds of thousands of troops to do it? Remember Wolfowitz telling us that Iraqi oil would pay for the country's reconstruction? Remember Cheney's famous "we will be welcomed as liberators" quote? Remember the admin's absolute refusal to even include war costs in its proposed budgets?

All those things spell "cakewalk" promises. That's the reality that makes the criticism of Ivins nitpicking - yes, nobody ever said it quite like that, but no, nobody, NOBODY associated with the Bush administration told the American people that this might be the "long hard slog" it has most predictably become.

And as for you, SharpShooter ("17 days to Baghdad? Cakewalk in my book"), I guess you're not over there getting your a** shot at right now. How can it be a "cakewalk" when it isn't even remotely close to over?

Posted by: beetroot on November 4, 2003 08:55 AM

Cakewalk it remains. In the context of all military history, the operation was a brilliant, lightening success.

Indeed, the U.S. and allied forces could hardly lose, but many a Vietnam-afflicted lefty purported to see just such an outcome. So the (mistaken) Cassandras just enhance the cakewalk aspect of the operation.

Cordially...

Posted by: Rick on November 4, 2003 09:09 AM

The worst part about all of this is that the Seattle Times isn't the farthest left paper in town. That title belongs to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, which I like to call the "Commie Apologiser".

You won't find any crap too far Left for the PI to latch on to and crow about. That paper is nothing but another part of the Democratic Party.

Posted by: Raging Dave on November 4, 2003 09:20 AM

And than you, Beetroot, for proving that you haven't bothered to listen to any ONE of the president's speeches. I can't count the number of times that he said this would be a long, hard fight. Contrary to your opinion, the overwhelming message of this administration is that this would NOT be a quick in-and-out operation, this would be a long, drawn out battle in the War on Terror.

Maybe you should read more Styen and less Ivans in the future.

And as for the whole "cakewalk" donnybrook, maybe you could enlighten us all with an example of another military victory where the battle for a country was over in three weeks with fewer than 200 casualties in Major Combat Operations?

Oh, that's right, you can't. The scale of victory in the Iraq War was unpresedented. And you can take your snarky little "I guess you're not over there getting your a** shot at right now" comment and shove it where the sun doesn't shine. I have my honorable discharge framed and hanging on my wall. What have you got, a pot-leaf silkscreen and a "Free Mumia" poster?

Posted by: Raging Dave on November 4, 2003 09:26 AM

So I was right - you were discharged - you aren't over there getting shot at!

Look, you're right about one thing: the Prez always inserts some line about a "long hard fight" when he talks about the war on terrorism. But you've got to balance that against the fact (and it is a fact) that his staff, to the highest level, consistently downplayed the potential difficulty of the Iraq war. Refused to talk dollars ... refused to talk about occupation ... refused to talk about long-term exit strategy ... the list goes on.

As for the cakewalk, being a military man, you must know the difference between winnig a battle and winning a war (we won lots in Vietnam; lost lots in WWII; the South won most in the Civil War ...). SO I'll say it again: let's assess our success when the WAR is over (not the Battle of Bagdhad), and we've achieved our stated goals (stable, democratic, peaceful and independent Iraqi self-rule). The war for the country is not over, and the stated goals, while admirable, are enormous.

Finally, on Steyn: I read so much about him from bloggers that I decided to check him out. The first thing I read was a column in which he went to Iraq, looked around, and declared the whole brouhaha over a potential "quagmire" ridiculous. All he saw were happy, safe Iraqis and what he described as overfed UN bureaucrats. After delivering this scathing assessment, he added that he had only visited northern Iraq, and hadn't gone anywhere near the Sunni Triangle, where all the deadly action is. But then he just repeated his initial claim: that everything was going swimmingly, and that only liberal losers talked bad about the war.

Repeat: he admitted that he didn't go where the problems are. Then he restated that he didn't see any problems, so there can't be any problems.

So he's entertaining. But should he be taken seriously? Not any more seriously than a "free Mumia" whackadoo.

Posted by: beetroot on November 4, 2003 12:47 PM

So, the Administration never calls it a cakewalk, and they talk about it being long and hard and difficult, and somehow that's promising it's a cakewalk?

Certainly they didn't talk about how much it would cost; that's because it's going to be long and hard and difficult, and nobody can know what it will cost ahead of time. Certainly they don't talk about exit strategy; since we don't know what the terrorists and Baathists are going to do, only a total moron would.

Let me explain something to you. Much like you cannot centrally plan an economy, you cannot centrally plan a war and occupation with exact cost determinations and iron-clad exit dates. Circumstances change. The best you could ahve been given were estimates.

And if Bush has given estimates of costs and exit dates, with the caveat that wre couldn't know for sure, carpers would have responded later by saying "You promised it would only be $X billion" and "You promised it would be over by X date", ignoring that you had been told they were estimates and uncertain.

And the estimates would certainly have been wrong. No plan survives contact with the enemy, and the only thing detailling the plan in public would have gotten were complaints that we failed to stick to it.

Posted by: Warmongering Lunatic on November 4, 2003 03:12 PM


On the other hand, when a general tells congress, "No way can we do this without spending $200 Billion and being there over a year" he get's the official heave-ho, despite that now, after the fact, his prediction is proving optimistic.

Posted by: Simon on November 4, 2003 10:56 PM

What silly pounding of the table... no logic I'm aware of says that if one "side" lies, that means the other "side" is automatically guilty of lying too, regardless of the circumstances. The P-I got it wrong, period. So did Ivins. Deal with it.

Posted by: HH on November 4, 2003 11:01 PM

Oh, pardon me, this "silly pounding of the table" started with a bunch of people freaking out about a newspaper columnist's quote marks and an incomplete but substantially accurate quote from some legislator.

Ivins, in my opinion, got it right: the Administration DID promise a cakewalk (and couldn't wait to get out and prove it with that "Mission Accomplished" carrier photo-op. How premature does that look these days? The White House won't even admit it was their idea anymore!). The empty rhetoric about the "long hard fight" was the ONLY gesture towards complexity. The rest of the admin's public output was carefully and plainly calibrated to make the war look as manageable as possible. Hey, I'd have done the same thing, if I was trying to sell this adventure to the taxpayers.

As for your point, Warmongering Lunatic, did I say anything about "iron-clad exit dates"? No. How about a sensible discussion of what this could cost? Maybe putting some figures into the budget so that Congress could've had a clue about how to manage OUR money? That's a little different, yes?

But nay, not a peep. Wouldn't be responsible, they said. So instead of getting sensible discussion, we got blue-sky estimates (Iraqi oil will pay for reconstruction, Chalabi will take over the government, the civil infrastrusture will remain in place, we'll be greeted as liberators) that got debunked within months. Deceitful? Misinformed? Over-optimistic? Or required to blue-sky in order to counteract the pernicious forces of the evil liberals who hate America?

Central planning, indeed. It's the Bush administration that has used Soviet tactics to centrally plan a war, and so far the war isn't exactly cooperating. If it was, would we be begging for troops from Turkey and India? And here's you all pounding the table about Molly Ivins, of all people.

Posted by: beetroot on November 5, 2003 08:25 AM

Molly will never, ever, ever forgive Bush for his victory over her pal Ann Richards in the 1994 Texas gubenatorial election. It's a hate she'll take with her to her grave, and -- thanks to her connections to several key media people in New York and Washington due to her past tenure with the New York Times and her stories for The Nation, In These Times and other far left publications, she's had the forum to lash out at Bush over the years in many places besides her own column.

But because her hatred has made her unable to look at Bush the politician from a dispassionate viewpoint, her opinion of GWB as a marble-mouthed moron, as espoused in her pre-2000 election book "Shrub" became the template that many on the left used to portray Bush in that election and in the years since then.

The only problem is Molly should have known, both from the 1994 election and his landslide 1998 re-election over Garry Mauro, that Bush was a formidable opponent, who really shouldn't have beaten Richards in 1994 -- based on the Texas economy at that time -- but did anyway. If she had put out the message that Bush is to be underestimate by national Democrats at their own peril, perhaps Al Gore would have prepared better for those 2000 debates, instead of assuming the marble-mouthed moron would start drooling on stage or barking like a dog when confronted by questioners or by Al walking up in his face at Debate No. 3.

And if he had done that, no dobut Gore would have gotten a few hundred more votes in Florida and would have won the election. So Molly's all-consuming bile against Bush, combined with her influence among liberal elites as the Texas reporter to go to for the inside dope on state politics, in all odds was one of the deciding factors in GWB becoming president. She should at least get a FTD baloon boquet from Karl Rove for that bit of service to her country...

Posted by: John on November 5, 2003 09:21 AM

Please define elites, as opposed to simple folk like Laura Ingraham-- and please don't slap my hand again.

Posted by: SemiPundit on November 5, 2003 03:05 PM

The definition of "elite" is anyone who doesn't toe the conservative line. Ergo, Barbra Streisand is an "elite." Arnold Schwarzenegger is not. Howard Dean is an "elite." George W. Bush is not. Noam Chomsky is an "elite." Bill Bennett is not. Walter Cronkite is an "elite." Laura Ingraham is not.

The term "elite" has about the same value as the term "counter-revolutionary" - it marks the user as conspiracy-minded.

Posted by: beetroot on November 6, 2003 01:30 PM

Wow this is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!YOU claim someone lied then report the SAME EXACT INFO,. which usually means that the person(Molly Ivins in this case) WASN'T lying. Sweet Jesus, you're an even bigger mucklewit than Dadddy's Li'l Coke Monkey.
Speaking of which:
Daddy's Li'l Coke Monkey voter rejection
So Daddy's Coke Monkey stole the election
Daddy's Li'l Coke Monkey goin' to DC
Smokin' more crack than Marion Berry
People all are stressin'
from the civil rights oppression
throwin' the country into a recession
Singin'
Daddy's Li'l Coke Monkey
Lyin' little twit
Daddy's Li'l Coke Monkey
Dumber than -
Sure can't get voter satisfaction
Gotta be electoral reaction
Oughtta be impeachment action
You know he had to try the Gulf War distraction
Daddy's Li'l Coke Monkey
Givin' us grief
Daddy's Li'l Coke Monkey
Hail to the thief!

Posted by: Kirin Jensen on October 12, 2004 07:19 PM

Wow this is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!YOU claim someone lied then report the SAME EXACT INFO,. which usually means that the person(Molly Ivins in this case) WASN'T lying. Sweet Jesus, you're an even bigger mucklewit than Dadddy's Li'l Coke Monkey.
Speaking of which:
Daddy's Li'l Coke Monkey voter rejection
So Daddy's Coke Monkey stole the election
Daddy's Li'l Coke Monkey goin' to DC
Smokin' more crack than Marion Berry
People all are stressin'
from the civil rights oppression
throwin' the country into a recession
Singin'
Daddy's Li'l Coke Monkey
Lyin' little twit
Daddy's Li'l Coke Monkey
Dumber than -
Sure can't get voter satisfaction
Gotta be electoral reaction
Oughtta be impeachment action
You know he had to try the Gulf War distraction
Daddy's Li'l Coke Monkey
Givin' us grief
Daddy's Li'l Coke Monkey
Hail to the thief!

Posted by: Kirin Jensen on October 12, 2004 07:19 PM

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