For the first time, in like, forever, David Broder has penned a column that gives me nothing to quibble about. Nothing.
Maybe we are finally getting some sense stuffed into that bald head of his. Broder makes two points. First, Bush is so panicked about lack of progress in Iraq that he has now resorted to inviting Judith Miller’s partner in crime, Michael Gordon, into diplomatic sessions with the Iraq prime minister.
Last Tuesday’s Times contained a remarkable story at the top of Page 1. The headline was only mildly arresting: “U.S. Warns Iraq That Progress Is Needed Soon.” The first three paragraphs described the message delivered to Maliki by Adm. William J. Fallon, the head of U.S. Central Command: You need to make “tangible political progress by next month to counter the growing tide of opposition to the war in Congress.”
Then, in the fourth paragraph, came this shocker: “The admiral’s appeal . . . was made in the presence of Ryan C. Crocker, the American ambassador to Iraq . . . and this reporter” — Pentagon correspondent Michael R. Gordon.
Later in the article, Gordon explained that he was allowed to sit in on the session, adding that “it was only at the end of the meeting that American officials agreed that it could be on the record.”
Remarkable. Not only does the admiral invite the New York Times to what would normally be a private meeting, thus signaling to Maliki that the pressure will be publicized around the world, but then the American officials — no reference to agreement on Maliki’s part — tell Gordon, “Go ahead and quote everybody directly on the record.”
From an administration known for its secrecy, this deviation means only one thing: So desperate is the need to push Maliki into action that even the Times becomes a lever.
Exactly. Not just anyone from The Times, though, but Judith Miller’s co-author of all those aluminum tube stories that justified the war in the first place, Michael Gordon. Credibility? Zero.
Broder then goes on to note:
While Iraq’s government dithers and American troops die, the courts are sending Bush the message that indefinite military detention of supposed “enemy combatants” is a gross violation of the Constitution.
Broder lays out the relevant history and court decisions and then concludes:
Republican presidential candidates — most of whom have pledged to continue both Bush policies — are on notice. They are betting on losing policies.
No doubt. And I wonder if Broder is finally done carrying water for this disaster of a president, or if he will come out next week with a prediction that Bush is going to be the next man chiseled into Mt. Rushmore. Or both. With this reporter, one never knows.