Can Iraq be Saved?

One hour from now, President Bush will explain his new strategy in Iraq: about 20,000 more U.S. troops to stabilize Baghdad and a timetable for the Iraqi government to defend the country itself.

Will it work? The odds are against it, but it's possible. Once again, a stabilized Iraq fighting against terror would benefit the USA and the world, no question. But the media now has a vested interest in seeing the Iraq campaign fail. No question about that either.

Most newspaper editorials hammered Mr. Bush this morning. And the TV verbiage was the same way.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think arguably, it's the worst readiness condition the U.S. Army has faced since the end of Vietnam.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the ultimate toll may be taken on the soldiers and their families, as Sergeant Brian Shaw this week bid his loved ones goodbye.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sad. Kids going to miss a year and a half of their father. Very sad.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yesterday as a result, there was an all day gun battle. Bloodshed everywhere. Is 20,000 really enough to get the job done?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last year, the president went around with a national strategy for victory in Iraq. None of those things seem to have really come to fruition. Why should the American people think that this latest plan will be any different?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bad part is his message tonight is going to fall on ears that don't want to hear escalation. They want to hear "timetable for withdrawal."


And I could have given you an hour of that. Negative after negative after negative.

So "Talking Points" believes no matter what President Bush does, and no matter what actually happens in Iraq, many in the press will spin negative no matter what.

Now there are two reasons for this. Criticism of the Iraq War has been so intense, that the press cannot turn back now. The anti-Bush people would never admit they were wrong if things do improve. And most of the media wants to see a Democrat elected president in 2008. They certainly don't want to see a hawk like John McCain get in.

So expect the negativity to continue. But it would be a mistake, a mistake, to believe that the press has caused the debacle in Iraq.

That is not true. The Bush administration overestimated the Iraqi commitment to democracy and underestimated Iran's ability to cause chaos in that country. Those were the two major mistakes in the Iraq campaign. And the press had nothing to do with them.

However at this point, you should no longer expect to get an objective view of the Iraq situation. It simply will not happen.

The left wing newspapers smell Republican blood. And their counterparts on television are salivating over the Iraq failure. Once again, it is politics over what is best for the country. The whole thing is one big mess from top to bottom. Disturbing on the governmental level and on the press level.

I say give the effort one more chance in Iraq. But if there's no improvement by summer, it is over.

And that's "The Memo."

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