Not the Brightest Bulbs on the Tree

Or, Just Like Hunting for Quayle With Dick Cheney

How do you spell “conflict of interest”?

What they wanted to do was to get that “surge” going. But, as noted in “Meet The New Baghdad Bob,” William Kristol WAS Vice President Dan “Potatoe” Quayle’s Chief of Staff for Bush I, before he sold himself to Rupert Murdoch to co-found The Weekly Standard, become a regular founding Faux Nooz face, and to co-found and chair the Partnership for A New American Century, all within 18 months starting September 17, 1995.

So, naturally, as the coordinated attack on American Public Opinion began on Labor Day with Bush’s “surprise” visit to Iraq (see Dan Froomkin’s superior “Kabuki at Camp Cupcake” which is nearly as good as its title, which is superb), so, too, the print media were prepared.

And, on the morning of Tuesday after Labor Day, September 4, they struck. The Weekly Standard, and the Wall Street Journal, SOON to be run — if notso already — by Rupert Murdoch. One! Two! Jab and hook: WSJ = How GREAT is the Surge, Any-yay!(sic) TWS = Attack critics, specifically GAO report.

Here’s a taste:

The Wall Street Journal:

The Tide Is Turning in Iraq
September 4, 2007; Page A17

The initial concept of the “surge” strategy in Iraq was to secure Baghdad and its immediate environs, which is why its proper name was the “Baghdad Security Plan.” But as President Bush pointed out during his surprise trip to Iraq, operations and events on the ground are already showing successes well beyond Baghdad in Anbar, Diyala and Salahaddin provinces — formerly al Qaeda strongholds and hotbeds of the Sunni insurgency….

Ms. Kagan is an affiliate of Harvard’s John M. Olin Institute of Strategic Studies and the president of the Institute for the Study of War in Washington.

And, The Weekly Standard:

What’s Wrong with the GAO Report
Measuring failure–or the failures of measuring.
by Frederick W. Kagan
09/04/2007 3:37:00 PM

At first glance–as those who leaked it last week saw–the Government Accountability Office’s report on Iraq, released today, paints a dark view of progress and prospects in Iraq. Its subtitle offers the most attractive thesis to opponents of the current strategy: “Iraqi Government Has Not Met Most Legislative, Security, and Economic Benchmarks.” Its opening paragraph dourly states that “the Iraqi government met 3, partially met 4, and did not meet 11 of its 18 benchmarks.” Surely its release marks a grim moment for the Bush administration’s efforts to sustain their approach in the war. Or perhaps not.

The GAO report reflects everything that has been wrong with the discussion about Iraq since the end of 2006. Through no fault of the GAO’s, the organization was sent on a fool’s errand by Congress….

Kagan? KAGAN? Gee. I wonder if …

Bingo. From the History News Network:

Historians in the News
Kimberly Kagan: Wife of Frederick Kagan to monitor plan her husband devised

Source: HNN Staff (3-14-07)

Kimberly Kagan, Yale Ph.D., has been appointed by the Weekly Standard to provide readers with a fortnightly progress report on “the surge.”

… But she is not exactly a disinterested observer, as blogger Andrew Sullivan has complained:

I vouched for Kimberly Kagan’s academic credentials in linking to her assessment of the progress of the “surge” for the Weekly Standard. I should have disclosed that Kagan is the wife of Frederick Kagan, the principal author of the surge; and his brother is Bob Kagan, another pro-surge advocate and editor at the Weekly Standard, and they’re both sons of Donald Kagan, who is also a neoconservative intellectual. More to the point: Kimberly Kagan is listed as one of the participants in her husband’s research team that came up with the surge in the first place. So when the Weekly Standard decided to compile a regular report on the surge’s progress, they picked the wife of the main author and one of the plan’s original architects. And they never disclosed these relevant facts. So allow me.

Well, don’t that beat all!

(Of course, with the WSJ, a LEGITIMATE news outlet would note the conflict of interest involved and make a correction.)

Must be leftover Quayle Political Mojo*.


[* You can buy Quayle’s 2000 Presidential Campaign donors list (among others) here:

Quayle 2000 Donors

These donors to Quayle’s Presidential bid for President support traditional family values, a strong national defense, tax cuts and are pro-life.

Just think what easy pickings THOSE rubes must be, eh?]

UPDATE — 1:40 AM:

On Sept 3. — the day before, Labor Day — praising Bush’s “surprise” visit, Frederick Kagan was writing for the The National Review Online, engaging in the most exceptional hyperbole about “Camp Cupcake“: ‡

The National Review Online
September 3, 2007 5:00 PM

The Gettysburg of This War
This Bush visit could well mark a key turning point in the war in Iraq and the war on terror.

By Frederick W. Kagan

President Bush’s Labor Day visit to Iraq should have surprised no one who was paying attention. At such a critical point in the debate over Iraq policy, it was almost inconceivable that he would fly to and from Australia without stopping in Iraq. What was surprising was the precise location and nature of the visit. Instead of flying into Baghdad and surrounding himself with his generals and the Iraqi government, Bush flew to al Asad airfield, west of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province. … If ever there was a sign that we have turned a corner in the fight against both al Qaeda in Iraq and the Sunni insurgency, this was it …

Gettysburg? Good grief.

Camp Cupcake:

Marines and soldiers at the outlying forward operating bases have another name for al-Asad — “Camp Cupcake.” It is a place where an oasis has served traders since the time of Abraham of the Bible. Al-Asad is thought of as luxurious compared with most other bases in Iraq. New housing, called “can cities,” are springing up all over Al Asad. Metal trailers linked together provide one or two soldiers with 10-foot by 20-foot living areas. Latrines have running water and porcelain commodes in the can cities, not portapotties. Showers are spotless, just the place to refresh after an “abs” session with the on-base trainer. A theater shows movies day and night.

Soldiers, Marines, Air Force personnel and sailors can do laps in the indoor swimming pool. The large PX faces competition from nearly a dozen Iraqi merchants, who are licensed to sell everything from local crafts and rugs to Cuban cigars and pirated DVDs.

The living conditions at Al Asad have been very good, with daily showers and air conditioning reported. The food and gym facilities have been reported as being excellent and, as from February 2006, Al Asad has had a telephone center and Internet café (albeit with a lengthy wait).

And it never bothers Mr. Kagan that he is “reviewing” his own “Surge”?

You don’t review your own books! OK? Got that? It’s CORRUPT! It’s DISHONEST! It’s slimy and foul and breaks every civilized rule.

And you don’t review your own wars. Although, come to think of it, the most astonishingly outré blurbs come out of self-reviews.

Hyperbolic overkill? Walt Whitman’s “… an American bard at last!” comes to mind. As does This War’s Gettysburg. If the GAR were still active, they’d have Mr. Kagan’s hide for that kind of insult. As a member in good standing of its successor organization (The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War) I can state categorically that the Battle of Gettysburg’s 8,000 dead and a total of 57,225 casualties in three days does NOT remotely match up against ANYthing accomplished in this endless, formless, undefined “War on Terror.” How dare you, sir.

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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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8 Responses to Not the Brightest Bulbs on the Tree

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  7. Darrell Prows says:

    “All the news that’s fit to Kagan.”

    “All Kagan, all the time.”

    “America’s 24 hour Kagan station.”

    If these folks were to breed up a mess of little ones we’d really be in a world of hurt.

  8. Darrell Prows says:

    “All the news that’s fit to Kagan.”

    “All Kagan, all the time.”

    “America’s 24 hour Kagan station.”

    If these folks were to breed up a mess of little ones we’d really be in a world of hurt.