It's Officially An Offensive
The entire Bush Administration is back. And it seems that they are taking the fight to the people who have been putting the screws to them.
Donald Rumsfeld, whose daily briefings were more adored that David Letterman's monologues, while defending (and I would dare say by the tone promoting) the Iraq War, lays it out pretty directly that the media have a duty to fairly evaluate this war. Most directly, he makes clear that war progress is not defined by war dead. The death toll in Vietnam for U.S. soldiers is 58,226 and an estimated 1,100,000 for the North Vietnamese and VietCong. We know what happened. But benchmarks for progress (beyond death tolls) need to be established so that when the media makes an issue of the war dead, it falls flat. The message was very helpful, but very late. The Administration has nobody but itself to blame for failing to set up the substantive milestones which would have been useful in determining the value of the investment we have put in Iraq. Had we possessed this information a year ago, along with the same vigorous defense we have seen over the past week, Bush's political fortunes would be much different.
And Condoleeza Rice responded in her usual professional manner to allegations that the United States is transporting terrorists to nations where torture is permitted in order to interrogate them.
It's a great follow up to the President's speech at the Naval Academy last week, and a sign that the Administration may just be on track to controlling the message once again. But it won't be on track until a decisive response from the White House to ridiculous stuff like this is a given.
It's a good start. We have several years until the finish. Press to get ahead. Then don't let yourself fall behind again.