04/15/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

N.Y. Times On Iraq: Awash In Symbolism

Via Yglesias, we find the New York Times mealy-mouthing their way through Iraq war reportage:

The Green Zone attacks Sunday were, symbolically at least, a sign that forces hostile to the United States are still able to strike at the heart of the American nerve center and seat of government power in the capital of Iraq.

One could also say that, objectively speaking, forces hostile to the United States can, and do, attack the Green Zone, but the assertion of "symbolism" is what powers the next paragraph.

The attacks were sure to feature prominently in the upcoming hearings, giving ammunition to Democratic critics who argue that Iraq is not making progress, as well as Republicans who say it would be foolish to reduce the American troop presence in Iraq quickly.

One can't help but notice that this is the paragraph that features "symbolic" "ammunition!" As always, the pageantry of "left-versus-right" supercedes an objective analysis of whether progress in Iraq is actually being made. The Times asserts here that the same event - the shelling of the Green Zone - adequately makes the case on both sides. This lack of rigor sets the stage for the administration to say preposterous things on Iraq - like Bush's declaration that "Normalcy is returning back to Iraq" - and it does not bode well for the hopes that General David Petraeus' testimony tomorrow will receive scrutiny.