Monday, July 23, 2007

The Rest Is Marketing

Sidney Blumenthal in the Guardian UK

President Bush tries to sell the latest US intelligence estimate as part of his grand victory narrative. The only things standing in the way are the facts.

Well, he's never let little details like truth, facts, or reality ever get in the way of his message.

One of the more memorable and revealing statements explaining the nature of the Bush administration build-up to the invasion of Iraq was offered in September 2002 by then White House chief of staff Andrew Card. "From a marketing point of view," he said, "you don't introduce new products in August." Five years later, a period longer than the Civil War and World War II, the administration is preparing to present its case for continuing the surge in Iraq. But rather than waiting for September, when General David Petraeus is scheduled to deliver his report, the administration has moved up the marketing to July.

According to intelligence sources, CIA director Michael Hayden has been under attack within the administration from Dick Cheney and the neoconservatives since testifying frankly to the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group that urged a strategic redeployment of US forces and new diplomatic efforts in the region, which were rejected by President Bush. A virtual paralysis is setting in within the intelligence community. Analysts are even anxious about putting their names on their reports. While they are homogenising information, the administration is still unhappy with the result, as it was with the new NIE.

For the embattled president, filled with "self-confidence", the "motives" he doesn't wish critics to examine turn out to be far more utopian than the military success of the surge, as he explained to his conservative interlocutors. "There is such a thing as the universality of freedom. I strongly believe that Muslims desire to be free just like Methodists desire to be free." Beneath the seething chaotic violence, beyond the tribal and religious strife, past the civil war, the Iraqis, according to the president, under their robes are no different from American Methodists. There's nothing more to understand. If only we can prevail, they can be just like us. The rest is marketing.

Marketing. If Bush was a used-car salesman he'd be dead by now, stuffed in the trunk of one of his lemons by irate customers, crushed and sent to China to be reincarnated as something useful, like a can opener.


I ain't the only one who thinks Bush is a lousy salesman. The last line of a good article:

Come September, he'll learn whether he made or lost that sale.

All he has to do is browbeat and scare his own Repug Congress into anteing up. I hope they're more scared by the thought of not being re-elected if they go along with his bullshit.

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