Look out for those goalposts
Whiz! There they go again!
WASHINGTON - Iraq is a nation gripped by fear and struggling to meet security and political goals by September, U.S. officials said Thursday from Baghdad, dashing hopes in Congress that the country might turn a corner this summer. One general said not to expect a solid judgment on the U.S. troop buildup until November.
Petraeus' deputy in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, later told reporters he would need beyond September to tell if improvements represent long-term trends.
"In order to do a good assessment I need at least until November," he said.
You know, I've been wondering what the hell was going to change SO MUCH in the next month-and-a-half or so that would enable Bush to pull Iraq out of the cellophane. Now I know - just keep shifting the date back a couple months until January '09, when someone else will get to clean up his mess like always. Whee!
Oh, and it gets even BETTER this morning! Turns out Nixon didn't go far enough - EVERYONE from the White House is above the law:
Bush administration officials unveiled a bold new assertion of executive authority yesterday in the dispute over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, saying that the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege.
It's really too bad Clinton didn't know about these SEEKRIT SPECIAL POWERS, but I guess maybe they only work for warmongering illiterate mushmouthed Republicans. Kinda like Blue Kryptonite only affects Bizarros, or something.
UPDATE: The precedent claimed for this invocation of executive privlege is a case from 1984 involving the EPA - and mirable dictu, who made this arguement but "the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, headed at the time by Theodore B. Olson".
That would be this Ted Olson:
Underlying the dispute is the role Mr. Olson played, along with his wife, Barbara, during the Clinton presidency, when both engaged in harsh, even vituperative criticism of both President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mr. Olson has never denied being a leading figure in anti-Clinton circles, but the dispute has involved his connection to a specific venture at The American Spectator known as the Arkansas Project.
No WONDER Clinton didn't know about the seekrit powers. Q.E.D.
UPDATE #2: Ooooh, somebody evidently got a talking-to:
White House press secretary Tony Snow said that despite widespread skepticism in Congress, there have been significant results one month after the U.S. completed a buildup of 21,500 additional combat troops. He said the administration was not trying to move the goal posts for assessing the buildup, from September until November.
But on Friday, Odierno clarified his statements.
"There is no intention to push our reporting requirement beyond September," he said. "Nothing I said yesterday should be interpreted to suggest otherwise. My reference to November was simply suggesting that as we go forward beyond September, we will gain more understanding of trends."
So why state the obvious that way? My guess is the Lt. General got told "THOU SHALT NOT CONTRADICT THE PRESIDENT IN A TIME OF POLITICAL CRISIS". Which means, for this White House, pretty much "never".