As things now stand, Bush is left with only one argument and justification for having launched a war that has cost 1,000 lives, $150 billion and whatever goodwill America had won in the aftermath of 9/11. His last-resort reason: Saddam Hussein might have developed weapons that he might have given to terrorists that might attack the United States. And even that reasoning is undermined by the new report of the Iraq Survey Group, which says that Saddam's capacities, whatever they might have been, were withering, not "gathering," under the weight of inspections.
We now know to a relative certainty that there were no WMD, no relationship with al-Qaida to speak of, no close ties to other major terrorists, and that, in the view of Paul Bremer — Bush's own man in Baghdad and a fellow Yalie — the Bush administration pretty much botched the occupation.
One new poll out shows that half the American people now think the war in Iraq was a mistake; as that number rises, and it will, Bush's fortunes will decline, as they are now doing. History shows that only one challenger in modern times has been behind in the AP poll on Labor Day and come back to win. That challenger was Ronald Reagan. Now Kerry is no Reagan, not by a long shot. But if people conclude that Bush was profoundly wrong to have gone to Iraq, Kerry doesn't have to be Reagan.
Thank the powers that be.
Cheney won the veep debate on style points — he was suitably grave and grown up — but as the event fades into obscurity it's clear that John Edwards did what he had to do: Remind voters again and again that Iraq is a flat-out mess.
That was my favorite paragraph and I only put it in because it uses the words Cheney and grave in the same sentence! Thanks, Howie.
This Fineman guy ain't exactly no berserk Lefty, but I've noticed that even the mainstream media is starting to notice the obvious. Trained journalists, every one of 'em. Blinder'n bats, a lot of 'em, when it comes to the Cabal, but the scales are falling off their eyes just in time. I hope they can keep it up for a few more weeks. They still have a lot to make up for.
It's worth going to the article just to see the look on Dubya's face.