Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Spin Cycle Going Full Bore On Petraeus

Tomorrow we'll know what Gen. Petreaus and Ambassador Crocker have to say about the situation in Iraq, but no one is content to wait for the real thing.

Rep. Rahm Emmanuel, the Dem's pit bull, is sure he knows what it says:
"Petraeus is a military man first, but he is clearly conscious of his political surroundings and of the administration's position, and I think you'll see that reflected in his testimony." (WashTimes)
WaPo and ABC News, not exactly known for their support of the president's war effort, have helpfully contributed a last minute poll on the matter:
Most Americans think this week's report from ArmyGen. David H. Petraeus will exaggerate progress in Iraq ....
The LA Times brushes aside any comparison of Petraeus to Ulysses S. Grant, who turned around a failing war effort, and replaces it with this:
" '67 was the year you really saw erosion of public support starting, and that is why Johnson brings Westmoreland back, because he senses the public is getting tired," said Mark Moyar, a military historian and author of a book about the Vietnam War, "Triumph Forsaken."

"Westmoreland comes back and says progress is being made and there is light at the end of the tunnel," Moyar said. Westmoreland's comments in Washington led some to accuse him of being a political pawn of the White House, a charge that has begun to be leveled at Petraeus.
AP isn't speculating; it says with confidence it knows what will be said on Monday:
President Bush's top two military and political advisers on Iraq will warn Congress on Monday that making any significant changes to the current war strategy will jeopardize the limited security and political progress made so far, The Associated Press has learned.
All this spinning isn't exactly happening in a vacuum -- Petraeus has spoken with the president and others, and there was his letter last Friday to the troops -- but the fact of the matter is, no one outside the general's and ambassador's staffs has seen the Petraeus and Crocker testimony.
The White House said it has not yet seen the testimony of Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker on the situation in Iraq, defending President Bush from criticism that he has not shared a preview of the report with top Republicans. ...

Republican leadership aides said their requests for briefings went unanswered by the White House. They said they could not even obtain colorful anecdotes or other previews of Gen. Petraeus' and Mr. Crocker's testimony.

"It would sure make things easier if we could get a heads-up on what the testimony will be," said one Senate aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Gen. Petraeus has not submitted his testimony to any of the congressional committees, a military source close to the general said.

"This may be frustrating, but everyone should understand that they are delivering the testimony, and we'll all have to wait to hear them," Mr. Fratto said. (WashTimes)
Spin is a good measure of significance; matters of slight significance go unspun, and matters that matter are pre-spun, spun and post-spun.

Bush's spin is that he's not spinning, that he (a tad disingenuously) doesn't know what Petraeus will say and (more genuinely) isn't forcing his hand. The Dem's more than a tad disingenuous spin is that both Petraeus and Crocker are firmly in Bush's pocket and the entire game is a charade.

Unspun, this is what we're likely to see: Petraeus authored the surge policy and is likely to speak more of progress than backsliding, but he will not slap a happy face on the situation. Crocker will use the opportunity to deflate the very unfair GAO report on benchmark attainment on the Iraq political front, but will make sure the Maliki government hears loud and clear that if political progress doesn't follow soon, America will be forced to shift policies.

The pundit machine seems to have only one setting: spin cycle. Tomorrow, we'll see how things turn out in the wash.

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