The very smart military blog Ace of Spades HQ speculated yesterday that Tony Snow might have been launching a trial balloon for an Iraq exit strategy rhetoric when he quoted President Bush's statement that, taking the long view, we won the war in Vietnam because, 30 years on, it is trending capitalist and has become a pro-American Pacific Tiger.
As a former press secretary, I am inclined not to read deep secret messages into Tony Snow's comments. The president made an arresting statement, and his press secretary commented favorably on it. That is what press secretaries tend to do for a living.
But I (along with Ace of Spades, Mickey Kaus's blog, and I assume many others) could not help but hear Tony Snow's elaborations in the context of President Bush's less than ferocious State of the Union phrases that "it is still within our powers to shape the outcome of this battle," and we should [at least] "turn events toward victory."
All of this mental stretching and twisting comes, of course, while a majority of perhaps even Republican senators express support for a war condemnation resolution, the Pelosi Democrats call to frog march our troops out of Iraq (i.e. re-deploy) starting around May Day, and she who has experience with unnamed evil men (aka, Hillary) stamped her formidable Prada heels and demanded that President Bush should "extricate our country" from Iraq before leaving office, as it would be "the height of irresponsibility" to pass the war along to the next commander in chief. (I suppose she is selflessly looking out for Obama's interest on that point.)
It is certainly bracing to be living and working in the capital of the world's richest and most powerful nation during wartime, and to hear so little wisdom or courage emanating from either the government or opposition benches. Even the capitals of backwater third-rate powers usually have a better grip on reality and their own national interest than we do here at Colossus-opolis.
It seems that our vast current prosperity and the still mentally reassuring great oceans that appear to guard us from the outer world's madness create the illusion in the minds of far too many that we are -- as a nation -- immune from the consequences of our foolishness and slackness.
Even some at the White House seem to be buying into the sense that "the surge" is our last chance in Iraq -- after which failure (should it come), Iraq will have to take care of itself, with a greatly reduced number of re-deployed U.S. troops looking helplessly on from somewhere over the rainbow (Kuwait, Okinawa, Timbuktu or perhaps the Epcot Center at Disney World).
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.