Back from the Thanksgiving trip, catching up on what happened over the holidays.
The Saddam Hussein trial is turning into a three-ring affair. His lawyers just got another delay in the trial, and they'll no doubt continue to play every procedural card in the deck.
But at the end of the day, expect Hussein's defense to hinge on two arguments: 1) the court was convened under the jurisdiction of a puppet government and 2) everything Hussein did to suppress rebellion as a duly elected head of state was within the law.
Does that second one sound familiar?
When he's called to task for invading Kuwait, he'll likely blame bad intelligence.
I heard WaPo's David Broder and others on the Sunday talk shows chanting the mantra about how it's more important to come up with a solution to Iraq than it is to figure out how we got there.
I’m not sure what Broder's motivation is in echoing this "limited choice" message, but it's a false one. It's incredibly important to figure out how we got into this disaster, and to hold the responsible parties accountable. I'd say the future of our Republic depends on it. We have more to fear from politicians with secret agendas than we do from any other threat to our country's security, including terrorism.
And it's specious to say we can't do both. Heck, if Mister Bush can do two things at once, you'd think the legislative and judicial branches could.
Senator John Warner on Press the Meat yesterday said that Mister Bush needs to give the American public some frank talk.
This is another mantra we hear from time to time lately. But, seriously. Frank talk from Bush? Now? What can he say?
Yes, I was blowing smoke up your skirt before, but I'm being a straight shooter now?
Another possibility: hey, I'm sorry, all my guys lied to me, but don't worry, I fired all of them. Now we'll really get down to business.
What are the odds of that happening?
On a related note, Jonathan Alter of Newsweek says we need to say we have no ambitions to establish permanent bases in Iraq to show we're not there for the oil.
What's Alter thinking about? That would just be telling another lie.
Last but not least: everyone's tossing around the term "timeline" like a hand grenade. "Timeline" has become synonymous with "cut and run" and a half dozen other manipulative buzz phrases.
It's another "limited choice" maneuver. We either "stay the course" with no real plan for victory or withdrawal or we "surrender to the terrorists."
The term we really want to use is "roadmap." Militarily, a "roadmap" is a plan of interrelated objectives and milestones, and in the pre-Rumsfeld days, was a staple of any operational plan or strategy. Target dates are flexible, and change as the "situation on the ground" develops.
Funny how nobody wants to use the term these days. Maybe nobody wants to admit that nothing is black and white.
You can bet a paycheck Mister Bush doesn't. He's made a political career out of convincing people that everything is one way or the other. With us or against us. Victory or surrender. Great taste or less filling.
Don't discount the possibility that despite all the pressure to arrive at an end game in Iraq, the administration has no intention of withdrawing troops from that country.