Mister Pterodactyl
Sunday, July 04, 2004
To fisk properly, one must first read carefully.
Which makes fisking Maureen Dowd a bit of an exercise in masochism. But, I can take it if you can.
[Note: following Dowd’s reasoning is not unlike finding the fire exits in a restaurant designed by M.C. Escher - click with caution. You have been warned. Also, the quotes I use may appear in different order here than there. Really, what’s the difference?]
She opens up with some snappy comebacks to the President’s ‘snappy aphorisms.’ You know – ‘mission accomplished,’ ‘bring ‘em on,’ etc. About ‘let freedom reign’ scrawled on Condi’s note, she says “Couldn't Karl Rove and his minions at least get that 'ad-lib' right about freedom ringing?” Ad-lib. Ringing. See? It's funny. She finishes with ‘not gonna cut and run:’ “we can't cut, but we certainly ran.”

What do you suppose she meant by that? Perhaps this will explain: “The administration went from Shock and Awe to Sneak and Shirk. Gotta run, guys — keep chins up and heads down. The Bush crowd pretended the country was free and able to stand on its own, even as the odd manner in which Mr. Bremer scooted away showed that it wasn't. The president acted as if Iraq was in control, but our forces can't come home because Iraq's still out of control.”
Mr. Bremer, now out of a job, has left Iraq after formally handing authority to the new Iraqi government. You seem surprised that he would do so. Nobody else is.

“If Americans needed any more confirmation that they're viewed as loathed occupiers, not beloved liberators, it came with the sad little spectacle of a hasty, heavily guarded hand-over that no Iraqi John Trumbell will memorialize in an oil painting of the Declaration of Iraqi Independence.”
Hey, I didn’t get an invitation either, but you don’t hear me crying about it. Where you see ‘hasty,’ I see ‘no reason to wait any longer.’ And you did point out that “American troops are still trapped in Iraq and being killed there” and the above-noted “Iraq’s still out of control,” but you don’t believe the event should have been protected? Now that would have been irresponsible, wouldn’t it?

“Mr. Bremer's escape from the Green Zone was uncomfortably reminiscent of the last days of Saigon. No one was hanging onto the skids of helicopters, but the mood was furtive, not festive.”
Ah, the Vietnam reference. There must be a quota.

“Instead, there was no real transfer of power because there was no power to transfer. It was a virtual transfer,” because all the actual power had already been transferred. The Iraqis were already in charge of all the government ministries. This was a formality. The real action’s been going on all along. You’re missing it. Maybe you went for popcorn.

“The White House pretended that the sovereignty was real.”
Pretended. So what will make the sovereignty real?
Will it be real in January, when Iraq holds its first elections (there's your 'Iraqi John Trumbell' moment)? How about when the troops start leaving? How many have to go before you agree that we’ve succeeded in making Iraq sovereign and free? [I’m guessing the answer is something like ‘all of them. But the embassy is still too big and we stole one of Saddam’s palaces to put it in.’]

Ms. Dowd manages to include references to Ahmad Chalabi, neocons, Halliburton, the 9-11 commission, and the recent Supreme Court ruling on detainees, while simultaneously making not one but two of the antiwar left’s favorite arguments. It’s a very busy column. Let’s recap:
1. We’re abandoning Iraq.
2. We’re stuck in an endless quagmire of violence in Iraq.
3. I’m gonna need a long shower and some post-Dowd stress syndrome counseling.

Fire exits are located at each end of the tesseract. In addition to having contradictory themes, Dowd is using a rhetorical trick by which any progress, no matter how significant, is made to seem false because it doesn’t end our involvement. She chides the administration for being in Iraq in the first place, then chastises it for failing in its mission, all the while denying that the mission might actually be succeeding.

Come to think of it, Dowd’s writing style is perfect for the message: incomprehensible.

Mister Pterodactyl: taking one for the team.

He has goneright off sex for the moment, but the month long middle east tour youshouted us has gone a long way to cheering him up. Sportacus gave her a weak smile and said Er.
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He has goneright off sex for the moment, but the month long middle east tour youshouted us has gone a long way to cheering him up. Sportacus gave her a weak smile and said Er.
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