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January 31, 2007

"We Won In Vietnam:" Don't Read Much Into It, Says Tony Blankley

I'm just updating a story I broke. There is, I insist, no mercenary agenda at work here.

The very smart military blog, Ace of Spades HQ, speculated yesterday that Tony Snow might have been launching a trial balloon for an Iraq exit strategy rhetoric when he quoted President Bush's statement that, taking the long view, we won the war in Vietnam because, 30 years on, it is trending capitalist and has become a pro-American Pacific Tiger.

As a former press secretary, I am inclined not to read deep secret messages into Tony Snow's comments. The president made an arresting statement, and his press secretary commented favorably on it. That is what press secretaries tend to do for a living.

But I (along with Ace of Spades, Mickey Kaus's blog and I assume many others) could not help but hear Tony Snow's elaborations in the context of Mr. Bush's less than ferocious State of the Union phrases that "it is still within our powers to shape the outcome of this battle," and we should at least "turn events toward victory."

I don't know about "military blog." Or about "very smart." I concede this blog is named Ace of Spades, though.

Half a year ago the JPost reported I was a "moron." So, this is progress, I guess.

Incidentally, though Andrew Sullivan thinks my blinkers have come off (more progress, but consider the source), my post was, despite his selective editing, about what I perceived as a preview of of emergency spin, should it become necessary. I was criticizing the spin, mainly, though I was also wondering if this is the best Bush now sees as possible -- "victory" after 30 years. I don't really think it's the best outcome he imagines possible; I think it's more his attempt to convince himself he will be vindicated in the long term even if thoroughly repudiated in the short term.

For what it's worth, I have a bit more hope about Iraq than I've had in some time. And part of that due to a light at the end of the tunnel, of one color or another: I, like most of the remaining supporters of the war, see the surge, and the more aggressive RoE and policy towards Iranian agents, as the last, best hope for Iraq, and if it fails, we can say that America did the most that it could be reasonably expected to do.

If it succeeds -- even better.

But one way or another, the hot phase of the Iraq war will be winding down soon, at least as far as America's troops are concerned. It's just not realistic to imagine Bush can fight the war in the face of increasingly negative public opinion if there is not some tangible progress in the country over the next four to six months. And if the Iraqis can't get their act together over that timeframe, even with the American-withdrawal warning lights blinking like crazy on the country's dashboard, then I'm not sure they're capable of being helped much more at this point.

Thanks to Village Idiot.

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posted by Ace at 06:18 AM

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