Not surprisingly, the Bush administration is already backing away from most of the proposals put forth by the Iraq Study Group. The New York Times, with unintended comic irony, noted it this way: "Administration officials say their preliminary review of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group's recommendations has concluded that many of its key proposals are impractical or unrealistic." Thank God we have George Bush to protect us from doing anything impractical or unrealistic in the Middle East.
But there is one thing in the proposal we can be sure Bush will take from the report -- the slogan. Bush may not be into things like facts, truth, or reality, but he loves a good slogan.
So while Bush may not like any of the Group's 79 proposals (so impractical and unrealistic), he's ready to adopt its slogan, "New Way Forward." Newsweek says that next week "Bush is expected to announce what he calls 'The New Way Forward,' his latest plan to salvage the mission in Iraq."
Of course, that's been the problem during this entire fiasco -- the substitution of rhetoric for policy -- the belief, even at this late date, that reality can be changed simply by changing the language used to describe it. Bush makes a big show of his religious faith, but what's truly impressive is his incredible faith in the power of PR, and, accordingly, his lack of faith in the American people.
Nowhere was this rationale laid out more succinctly than in the internal memo Donald Rumsfeld wrote in his last month in office, which included this slippery strategy: "Announce that whatever new approach the U.S. decides on, the U.S. is doing so on a trial basis. This will give us the ability to readjust and move to another course, if necessary, and therefore not 'lose.'"
It's not about losing and winning, but, rather, about "losing" and "winning," which are very, very different things.
So now we're going from "Stay the Course" to "New Way Forward." Will that change anything? Not likely. But, in Bush's mind, it'll buy him some time, at least until the next slogan.
And what will that be? Following is the HuffPo Iraq War Slogan Timeline -- past, present, and, yes, future:
AXIS OF EVIL
SHOCK AND AWE
FIGHT 'EM THERE, NOT HERE
ADAPT TO WIN
STAY THE COURSE
NEW WAY FORWARD
THE NEW NEW WAY FORWARD
STAY THE NEW NEW WAY FORWARD
A NEW WAY BACKWARD
A FASTER NEW WAY BACKWARD
HOLY SHIT, LET'S GET OUT OF HERE
A NEW WAY OF FORGETTING THAT EVER HAPPENED
THE NEW GATHERING THREAT