Saturday, November 26, 2005

Don't Do Us Any Favors

The message is partly correct, saying that Bush should be tried for war crimes.

However, the problem is that it's coming from the wrong messenger.

I've already stated that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran is basically a coward, to say nothing of being a total neophyte in his job. He has demonstrated this by dismissing concerns that he may very well have been one of the "students" holding our embassy people hostage back in 1979, as well as his most recent rantings calling for the annihilation of Israel.

However, by cheaply stoking nationalist fervor, he is also undermining the legitimate cause of holding Bushco accountable for their conduct prior to and during Iraq War II. He is stupidly playing into the hands of the right-wing media demagogues in this country who enjoy lumping together everyone with varying degrees of concern about the war into a group with the convenient tag of "America haters."

How naively pathetic of him. If he isn't going to first renounce his own demagoguery and then bring any legitimate concerns about the war to the United Nations (and allowing the IAWA to actually look at what's going on with Iran's nuclear capability would help also, as mentioned in the Yahoo News article), then he should just continue to bow and grovel to the mullahs who pull his strings and otherwise shut up.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Net Effect Of A "Routine"

Daily Kos noted yesterday that U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) has decided not to run for another term. There was no reason given at this time, other than that Kolbe wishes to pursue “other avenues of service.” If this is true on its face, then this is commendable, but since Kolbe is a Repug (one of the few who are gay, for as much as that matters), and call me suspicious, I automatically assume that there may be more to it.

As I read about Kolbe, I just don’t know what to think of him, though. He apparently signed off on tougher legislation against illegal immigration with Ted Kennedy and others in May, but like other Repugs in Arizona (including John McCain, unfortunately), he’s been “a day late and a dollar short” on that issue, no doubt desiring not to offend deep-pocketed campaign contributors who need the illegals for cheap labor, most notably Wal-Mart. He also is seen as a non-Dobsonite “social conservative” (which to me can be easily translated to “intolerant fascist”), so he has that going for him also.

The reason Jim Kolbe sticks out in my mind, though, is because of an extremely unfortunate incident with him that took place last January. As I noted on the old site, Dubya was asking for additional appropriations for his Iraq War at that time, and Kolbe was politely telling him that it should have been included in the budget already submitted before Congress which accounted for other war-related expenses. I definitely agreed with Kolbe on that. However, I DID NOT agree with the way he phrased that sentiment:

"There is a feeling among a lot of members that...this war has become enough of a routine that they (Bushco.) should be able to build it into their national budgeting and not have to come back to us for supplemental funding of that size."

(please note the extremely feeble attempt to lightly slap "President 33 Percent Mandate", by the way..."bad Dubya, bad Dubya...sneaking that in as supplemental funding when you should be trumpeting your need to throw more and more money at this mess, making you look like 'a strong leader'"...)

Actually, Rep. Kolbe, I agree with you. This war, unfortunately, has become routine. Stories of our dead service people, killed in ambushes by insurgents, have become routine. Stories of murdered innocents like
CARE worker Margaret Hassan (remember her?), people pleading for their lives while Al Zarqawi's beheading murderers arouse themselves with feverish lust for death, knowing they will have new victims soon, have become routine. Stories of other member nations in the international community denouncing us for our rogue foolishness in this mess have become routine. Stories of our soldiers otherwise being sold down the river by a back door draft and having to scrounge through garbage to up-armor their vehicles, as well as being deprived of radio devices in their humvees that could detonate roadside bombs before our people are killed, have become routine. Likewise, stories of our injured soldiers at Walter Reed Army Hospital having to rely on donations so they can call home because they can't do it for free have become routine. Stories of 50-year-old reservists being called back to duty while the politicians try to sneak draft legislation through congressional channels have become routine. Stories of new towering heights of arrogance by Bushco, which until now we thought we would only ever see in corrupt monarchies or despotic countries we once fought or professed to be better than, have become routine. Non-pictures of the flag-draped caskets arriving at Dover AFB, which, even though the pictures are censored by Bush, we know are arriving in a steady stream to an ever-growing sea of mourners, have become routine. Stories of loudmouthed right-wing idiots shoving their "Support Our Troops" banners in our faces and circulating Emails telling us that we're lazy slugs but our brave service people are over in Iraq "supporting" us anyway for an "honorable" cause - and somehow at the same time telling us to "shut up and tow the line" and watch NASCAR/Winston Cup and listen to Toby Keith or any of the assorted gaggle of right-wing media idiots, and telling us to shut up even more if we actually try to express our point of view to them on this awful mess - have become routine.
This morning’s Philadelphia Inquirer provided additional evidence of the “routine” that we are currently engaged in in Iraq.

Iraqi children 'have lost all sense of humanity'

By Zaineb Obeid

Inquirer Foreign Staff

BAGHDAD - A visitor stumbled upon a small cluster of 4-year-olds just in time to hear Ahmed Yousif casually explain: "Yeah, I saw it on the Internet, but the guy with the long hair wasn't fully decapitated."

Ali Najee, all of 5 years old, was frustrated because even with the authentic three-round-burst sounds he made to accompany shooting his friends with a toy AK-47 rifle, the game lacked realism. Then he hit on an answer. As he shot, he tossed water onto his friends' clothing, darkening it.

"There's your blood. Now you're dead," he said.

Childhood innocence may not be dead in Iraq, but teachers, parents and government officials agree it has taken a bad hit and may not recover without immediate and intensive attention.

Khaldoon Waleed, a Baghdad child psychologist, said a generation of children was growing up with post-traumatic stress disorder. The ailment, a result of witnessing life-threatening events, is commonly associated with soldiers, Waleed said, and it could cause problems ranging from nightmares to an inability to connect with people.

"The children of Iraq have lost all sense of humanity," he said. "Killing and being killed has become daily routine to them."

Young lives, he said, were overloaded with the violent issues of Iraq. Parents find it impossible to hide the harsh realities from their children, so the youngsters are forced into adult life. And it's a harsh adult life.

Haifa Mahmoud, the headmistress of Ibn al Khateep Primary School, has to explain to children every day what is going on in Karrada, their dangerous neighborhood.

The children who come to her sidestep gun battles, watch for low-riding cars - a sign of a car bomb - and endure sleepless nights because of the roar of explosion after explosion and the vibrations of U.S. Black Hawk helicopters above their roofs.

Their friends frequently disappear in kidnappings, and they have grown used to dead bodies and body parts in the streets.

"We're working really hard to bring about changes in their minds," Mahmoud said. "But even if we're successful, we've helped one or two children. The general wave is so much bigger than us."

Teacher Fotoon Eisa said: "We need to rehabilitate families and children. Everyone needs a good brain cleansing."

Toy-sellers say that while traditional favorites such as dolls and race cars do little more than gather dust, realistic toy guns fly off the shelves. Both boys and girls talk about wanting such toys more than anything else, except perhaps real guns and ammunition.

In school, childhood art commonly is violent these days, featuring tanks, gun battles, blood and dead bodies. Often, the violent artwork isn't labeled, but children are aware of the players in the fighting here - from U.S. and Iraqi forces to the sectarian militias to the local and foreign insurgents.

Mustafa Aqueel, 6, doesn't understand why people think life in Iraq is so complicated. He said the rules are pretty simple.

"We shoot at each other," he said. "If he kills me, I shall lose. But if I kill him, I shall win."

Kareem al Wa'eli, who heads general education for the Education Ministry, said politicians and officials understood that "the premature childhood issue, as we call it," was a huge and growing problem. He said three dozen Iraqi and 40 international researchers were planning to meet soon in Paris to address it.

Iraqi officials also are working with U.N. organizations to create a National Center for Childhood. Wa'eli acknowledged, however, that these were long-term answers.

"If we keep working, really hard, we may bring about positive results after 10 years," he said. "Changing a child's mentality - restoring innocence - is a long, hard time."
This link from UNICEF provides more information on how children are currently suffering in Iraq.

This is the “routine” that has developed under your watch, Rep. Kolbe, as well as that of many others. Let’s see how you try to make amends for it as you pursue “other avenues of service.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Pass The Stuffing

I've attached a link here if you want to read about some turkeys (though, to be fair, I guess a chickenhawk could count as a "cross breed").

Also, here are more from the world of sports (and yes, I am aware of the fact that the Eagles won their hearing against Terrell Owens today...I updated my "Bird Droppings" post from 11/13 to acknowledge that fact).

Finally, this is "turkey central" as far as our corporate Repug media is concerned (sorry to offend our delectable animal with the comparison).

Happy Thanksgiving.

The Jihadi Recruitment Agency

So now it looks like Jose Padilla will FINALLY be charged at long last with “aiding suspected terror organizations abroad.” This is a far cry from the original charges brought by former U.S. Attorney General John “Lost To A Dead Guy” Ashcroft.

As mentioned in this USA Today article(from Comcast):

(But) the indictment makes no mention of any ties to high-level al-Qaeda leaders, any plot to detonate a radioactive explosive device or plans to blow up apartment buildings in the USA, as Ashcroft and former deputy attorney general Jim Comey had once alleged.
Gonzales reportedly said something also along the lines of Comey’s quote “not being legally relevant anymore,” or something like that. Assuming it ever was to begin with, I think that’s Gonzales’ polite way of letting us know that Comey and Ashcroft were “out to lunch” on this from the very beginning.

I think this quote from one of Padilla’s lawyers really explains what’s going on here.

Another Padilla attorney, Andy Patel, said he was not surprised at the indictment or the timing, with a petition pending before the U.S. Supreme Court over the constitutionality of the way "enemy combatants" have been handled by the Bush administration.

"The issue before the Supreme Court is still alive and active -- that the president signed an order to hold an American citizen for three years without criminal charges," Patel said. "The fact that they now decided to charge Mr. Padilla with a criminal offense doesn't mean they couldn't do this again to another person in the future.

"The Supreme Court will make the decision about whether or not they want to take this case."

In July, Patel argued before a federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, that the government ought to charge Padilla or release him.

"The fact that the government filed criminal charges is a vindication not just for Mr. Padilla but for the whole constitutional process," he said.

Padilla's attorneys filed their latest appeal to the high court on October 25, and the government had until next Monday to respond. This indictment likely will make that pending Supreme Court appeal moot.
So what exactly is Padilla accused of at this point now, anyway? Well, here are the three counts in the indictment:

Conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals
Conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists
Providing material support to terrorists
And for this, Dubya said he was “a grave threat to national security” (bad stuff though it is)?

Are they kidding me? (and hey, as long as you’re talking about people we REALLY have to worry about, by the way, what about that “Osama bin Forgotten” guy? What’s going on with HIM?)

Oh…actually, there is apparently one more thing that Padilla did wrong that makes him the number one Bushco bad guy out there, apparently. And here it is.

He completed “the Mujahedeen Data Form.”


Horrors! Can this be possible? OMIGOD!!

“The Mujahedeen Data Form” – why, it sounds like a terrorist personality survey. “Draw a picture of a tree, a house, and some enriched uranium on the tip of a nuclear warhead.”

Well, this is how I imagine that the Mujahedeen Data Form would read (all multiple choice), assuming that all questions and answers on the form, as well as even knowledge of the form’s existence, had been obtained from Khalid Mohammed after his head had been stuck into a dirty toilet for the 25th time in a row (for the record, a Google search on this topic yielded absolutely nothing).

What strengths do you bring to the organization?

- A thorough understanding of cave topography in the Tora Bora region
- A background in handling explosives and small arms
- The ability to answer questions from reporters and sound benign while all the while hiding my evil intent
- The fervent desire to destroy all infidel Zionists and their sympathizers

What would you consider to be your weaknesses?

- Occasional moments of introspection, from which I purge myself through self mutilation
- Inability to tolerate the itching when my burka chafes against my skin
- Fear of pain from shaving all of my body hair in anticipation of greeting the virgins who surely await me in paradise after I sacrifice myself in a suicide bombing
- The fervent desire to destroy all infidel Zionists and their sympathizers

What is your preferred weapon of choice when fighting the infidels?

- Shoulder-fired rocket launchers
- Improvised explosive devices (IEDs)
- See first question, third answer
- The fervent desire to destroy all infidel Zionists and their sympathizers

For what do you desire the most on this earth?

- Autographed photograph of
Abdul Qadeer Khan
- A conjugal relationship with either a yak and/or George W. Bush
- Deodorant
- The fervent desire to destroy all infidel Zionists and their sympathizers

How many children do you want to father with CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour?

- None, because she is an infidel
- Ten or more
- Hundreds
- The fervent desire to destroy all infidel Zionists and their sympathizers

What, in your estimation, makes you the best candidate for this position?

- The fervent desire to destroy all infidel Zionists and their sympathizers
- The fervent desire to destroy all infidel Zionists and their sympathizers
- The fervent desire to destroy all infidel Zionists and their sympathizers
- The fervent desire to destroy all infidel Zionists and their sympathizers
Hey, for anyone taking umbrage over my attitude on this, please allow me to point out how ridiculous it is that we are wasting time with this unredeemable character and engage in these escapades more worthy of Mack Sennett and the Keystone Kops while we continue to be neglectful in preventing some kind of a recurrence of 9/11 by underfunding our first responders (also, the investigation into the Anthrax letter scare – remember that also? – has apparently stalled under the guidance of Gonzales and the Justice Department).

Bushco has said that it is above the law by deciding to hold American citizens as “enemy combatants” without due process rights, and that has been further enforced by judicial rulings from John Roberts and Michael Luttig, among others. THAT is what is at issue here, as Andy Patel said. Only Bushco could find a way to generate sympathy for a human accident like Jose Padilla given that any of us are at risk for the same type of treatment, and that is not amusing in any way, shape or form.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Brief, Shining Moment

This is in recognition of the 42nd anniversary.

Also, I've attached this link because I believe it is interesting historical speculation, not because I think George W. Bush, Sr. should be arrested. It just shows you how easily like-minded individuals have traveled within their circles of influence throughout the history of our government.

I believe that, one day, documents will be unsealed (around 2017 for all of them, according to this link near the bottom of the page) and we'll know that Oliver Stone, Jim Garrison, and the other people who have been soundly ridiculed were closer to the truth than many people in this country realized. However, that day isn't here yet, so I think we should just respect the memory and the wishes of President Kennedy's family.

The Jackbooted Judge

It really and truly is just about too easy to do this, but Antonin Scalia brought this upon himself today. To say that Al Gore initiated the Supreme Court challenge to the 2000 presidential election, as Scalia recently claimed in a speech, is so patently untrue and ridiculous that I almost shouldn’t even bother to post about it.

For anyone who chooses to forget what happened (and in a way, I can’t entirely blame you), Gore won a legal victory in Florida to resume the vote recount, but the Bush team, having exhausted all possibilities of winning in Florida, appealed to the Supremes. They then said that they would issue a ruling promptly because of the timeliness of the vote recount and the issue of seating the Florida electors before December 12 (which became an albatross for David Boies and the Gore legal team because of a truly catastrophic legal blunder). The Supremes then ran out the clock and ruled that there was not enough time to resume the recount because it would hurt the chances of Bush, the presumptive winner of Florida, being able to claim the Presidency, and our esteemed jurists perversely used the equal protection statute as the basis for their ruling.

Also, as you can read from this link, Scalia’s brand of corporate conservatism runs in the family.

One more thing; I seem to recall this instance of Justice Scalia showing his true stripes, as well as this one (glad I was wrong about Scalia getting the Chief Justice nod).

Update 11/23: Al Franken egged him on a bit, but Scalia is never one to reign in his pomposity anyway, as we know.

Monday, November 21, 2005

"The Oxygen Of The Modern Age"

I have a highly unusual request.

After reading this post, please close out of viewing this page, turn off your computer, and pick up and read a newspaper (if you don’t have one, go to a store and buy one).

We need to reacquaint ourselves with this admittedly ancient form of communication. However, I would argue that, beside the telephone, the newspaper is the most important tool for acquiring information that we have.

I’m motivated to say this because of the present circumstances of Knight Ridder Newspapers, Inc. I’ve linked to a column by Will Bunch that does a great job of providing the background on this.

For anyone unfamiliar with this story, here it is. Some of Bushco’s friends in the business community bought up the majority of the Knight Ridder shares and now want to sell the company (Bunch provides the details). Why on earth would they do such a dastardly thing, especially when, in the eyes of a lot of bottom-line business people, the stock of the company is apparently underperforming? Well, consider that The Philadelphia Inquirer ran an excellent series last year called, “21 Reasons To Vote for John Kerry for President,” in which they really did explain how Kerry differed from Bush on critical issues and allowed Bush supporters to respond, and also consider the zero tolerance that Bush supporters have for a contrary point of view, and you get the idea.

Here is more background on Private Capital Management LP of Naples, FL and Southeastern Asset Management of Memphis, TN (I think you know the “color” of these states), the two business entities driving the breakup of Knight Ridder.

If this does happen (possibly next spring), I think a scenario where the papers are sold from Knight Ridder to other media corporations, though undesirable, could be an outcome we can live with unless the content is severely restricted (big “unless” there, I know). Also, this column in a similar vein by Jeff Jarvis, as far as I’m concerned, is bogus; what he describes would be the total corporatization (word?) of news content to ensure that the omnipresent voice of Bushco drowns out everyone else.

Besides, Jarvis assumes that the Knight Ridder papers aren't already implementing cost-cutting measures. A neighbor of my in-laws was a senior editor at the Philadelphia Daily News who took a buyout package, and I can assure you that cost-cutting measures are being throroughly implemented.

However, I think the scenario Bunch describes in his column, whereby the Inquirer/Daily News could be sold to a consortium of venture capitalists or other private investors, maybe even an endowment, would be the best result in this area.

Even though the motivation behind this is to silence a contrary point of view as far as I’m concerned, this could turn into an opportunity for traditional print media outlets to embrace blogs and other internet-based forms of communication. At, Dan Rubin has done that already to a degree, though I would argue that something is needed more along the lines of a blog search engine available from that site. Yes, I admit that I have a powerful motivation of self interest for saying that, but if you’re going to embrace electronic media properly, why go half way?

And just as a reminder, Leonard Pitts, Jr. explains why, whatever Knight Ridder may or may not evolve into, it should NEVER stop producing a newspaper regardless of the consequences or whatever future form it may take (registration required).

By the way, the title of this post is one definition of information and what it means. And you’ll never guess who came up with it.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

"Trust Is Like Virginity"

If anyone doesn't want to believe the negative things I have to say about George W. Bush, fine. Don't take my word for it. Instead, read today's excellent column from Philadelphia Inquirer political analyst Dick Polman, to which I have very little to add. He gets paid to do that sort of thing, while I attempt to do it pretty much as a hobby (I can think of better things to do in my life, actually, but I believe this is necessary).

Bush's urgent campaign: Save his presidency

By Dick Polman
Inquirer Political Analyst

Let's put it in Texas terms: President Bush is trying to blast his way out of Credibility Gap.

He is plummeting in the polls, with still no indication that he has hit bottom. A solid majority of Americans now give him the lowest approval ratings since Richard Nixon - a verdict that seemed unimaginable when he was reelected one year ago - and, even more ominously, he is now judged by the majority to be an untrustworthy leader who lured the nation into war on false pretenses.

So it's no surprise that the Bush administration is in campaign mode, employing all facets of the far-flung Republican communications apparatus, in a perhaps futile attempt to rebuild the Bush image, assail his critics as spineless flip-floppers, and defend his war to an increasingly skeptical electorate.

Everybody from the top leaders (including Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld) to the grassroots bloggers (who are trying to persuade radio stations to play a new pro-war song titled "Bush Was Right") has been enlisted in the cause. The goal is not merely to boost wartime morale on the home front. Ultimately, the goal is to save the Bush presidency.
"Bush Was Right," huh? Gee, could this be another dimwitted production of "Move America Forward" or some other collection of sycophants under the watchful eye of Frank Luntz and the RNC?

Actually, if anyone who may be reading this knows how I can track down a copy, please let me know, because I would be grateful if I had the opportunity to eviscerate it.

That's how conservative leaders view this historic moment. As Iraq hawk William Kristol put it the other day: "If the American people really come to a settled belief that Bush lied us into war, his presidency will be over. He won't have the basic level of trust needed to govern." And David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter, contended: "The Iraq war is the Bush administration... . The President has to defend, champion and explain the war - or else be destroyed by it."

But Frum fears that Bush's unpopularity "will be very hard to reverse." Indeed, Bush's predicament is dire, because he first ran for president on a vow that he, unlike Bill Clinton, would not become trapped in Credibility Gap. Character was Bush's calling card. He promised that he would "restore honesty" to the White House; yet today, nearly six in 10 Americans tell pollsters that Bush is untrustworthy.

It may be too late for Bush to win them back. As a number of historians and pollsters contended the other day, most Americans by now have developed a shorthand about Iraq: Bush cited weapons of mass destruction as his prime rationale for war; then we went to war and didn't find any. This shorthand has been embraced by swing-voting independents; according to pollster John Zogby, only 28 percent now side with the President.

Zogby said by phone: "Trust is like virginity. Once you've lost it, you don't get it back. That's what happened to Lyndon Johnson during Vietnam, and Nixon during Watergate. And Bush doesn't have much wiggle room to improve his status anyway, because, at this point, half the nation already hates his guts."
Is that all? What's the "over-under" on that one, I wonder?

George Edwards, a Texas-based presidential historian who is finishing a book on Bush, said: "It's very difficult to recover after most people have already formed a negative conclusion about you. That's why the White House is so desperate to strike back. I doubt there are any magic words he can utter that would change their minds. After five years, people feel they know this guy by now."

But David Winston, a Republican pollster who often works with the White House, believes that the pivotal independents might swing Bush's way again - if the seeds of democracy sprout in Iraq.

"Independents are willing to support the ideal of establishing democracy," he said. "They want to be supportive. But instead they see significant casualties, and they don't see definite success points. So they're being somewhat negative, and that is understandable....

"But next month [during Iraqi parliamentary elections], the President will have an opportunity to say, 'This is a crucial step forward.' So what's coming down the pike looks positive. It's just a matter of getting to that point."

That kind of argument might not be enough to comfort even the Republicans; in a new poll of 326 registered Republicans, sponsored by the nonpartisan Political Hotline, only 37 percent strongly approve of Bush's performance - down from 59 percent eight months ago.

In the red state of Arizona, Republican congressman J.D. Hayworth was asked the other day whether he would welcome Bush's help on the stump; he replied, "In a word, no." And last Tuesday, Senate Republicans rebuked the White House by requesting in an amendment that Bush's war team become more accountable to the chamber.

Robert Dallek, a major Lyndon Johnson biographer, said: "The Senate's action was only symbolic, but it was another nail in Bush's coffin. Republicans know that if they're caught in Iraq next year with no measurable progress, there could be a sea change in the 2006 congressional elections."

Given all this restiveness about Bush, it's debatable whether he can win back the American majority by shifting the focus to his critics - and assailing them as weak-kneed opportunists who are endangering the troops. That's a big component of the current PR campaign; last Tuesday, for instance, talking points were circulated at a Senate Republican luncheon; by 11:56 a.m., the document was posted on, a conservative Web site.

The tactic was vividly employed late Thursday, after conservative Democratic Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania - a powerful backroom operator, stalwart hawk, ex-Marine, Vietnam vet, and recipient of the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts - called for U.S. troop withdrawals. Within hours, the White House was equating Murtha with Hollywood lefty Michael Moore, and, a prominent conservative blog, was dismissing Murtha as "a back-bench nobody... a second-rate congressman."
As I said about a week or so ago, I could fill this site with all kinds of content if I weren't constricted by something that approximates the truth. And I have no doubt that these fine, upstanding Americans at are completely prepared to communicate these disgusting sentiments to Rep. Murtha in person.

It's also debatable whether Cheney is the ideal person to employ this tactic. It is true, as Cheney points out, that some Senate Democrats attacking the war in 2005 were hawks back in 2002. (Case in point: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, now the focus of a GOP TV commercial.) But new polls show that Cheney is viewed favorably by only 27 percent of Americans - largely because, on the war, he too has apparently become trapped in Credibility Gap.

Cheney is the guy who repeatedly insisted that 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta had met in Prague with an agent for Saddam Hussein - even though the Czechs, the CIA and the FBI told the White House, long before the war, that no such meeting had occurred; in 2004, Cheney denied on CBS that he had ever described the Atta story as "pretty well confirmed" - even though he was captured on tape by NBC using those exact words in 2001. And Cheney maintained in 2002 that there was "irrefutable evidence" of an Iraqi nuclear program, even though, long before the war, the Energy and State Departments had concluded otherwise.

For those reasons, Dallek believes that the Bush attacks on wobbly Democrats will be dismissed by most Americans as "white noise." Some Republicans are urging radical steps; Ken Duberstein, a former chief of staff to President Ronald Reagan, has even suggested that Bush apologize for missteps, recalling that a Reagan apology for the Iran-contra scandal "was vital to repairing his relationship with the public."

Edwards, the presidential historian, doesn't see that happening: "Reagan's situation was different. There was no broad support among his followers for the concept of trading arms for hostages. Whereas if Bush came out and said, 'We screwed up,' yes, that might appeal to independents - but it would infuriate his conservative supporters, who don't think he has screwed up and don't want their President to say Iraq is a failure."

Even Winston, the Republican pollster with White House ties, suggests that the road to political recovery won't be smooth: "Remember, at the end of World War II, that we reached Berlin? Well, in this war, we don't have milestones like that. In the 21st century, with the new kinds of wars that we're fighting, it's important for the President to define the new kinds of milestones. It's a learning process. But that's the responsibility of leadership."
And that's coming from a conservative pollster. Winston had better hope that Karl Rove doesn't read that, or else Winston will get sent back to the same factory that another character named Winston was sent to in the book "1984."

Bush is a "one-trick pony." All he and his people know is "attack, attack, attack." They've lived by that, politically speaking, for far too long. And now, they're dying by it.