Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (Washington Post Trifecta Edition)

Yes, this morning we have a Washington Post trifecta of journamalism. E.J. Dionne, Anne Applebaum, and now this:

Peter Baker and Robin Wright talk about the thuds and screams inside the Topkapi Palace without ever telling us (a) which people inside the White House who know anything about military affairs are in favor of boosting troops in Iraq by 30,000 for an additional six months, or (b) what the advocates say those soldiers are supposed to do while they are there. Military planners are opposed, they say. "White House officials" are "aggressively promoting the concept." Ummm... Which "White House officials" please? Steven Hadley? Karl Rove? Josh Bolten? And why are they doing so?

If it is indeed true that nobody in the Roosevelt Room meetings who has commanded a company is in favor of this, then Baker and Wright should say so. If it is indeed the case that this has been stovepiped in from the AEI via Cheney's office and that the entire government is appalled (save for Condi Rice who is lying low because she doesn't want to disagree with wherever Bush comes out), then say so.

And if you won't clue us in to what is really going on, get out of the way and turn your column inches over to people who will:

White House, Joint Chiefs At Odds on Adding Troops - washingtonpost.com: The Bush administration is split over the idea of a surge in troops to Iraq, with White House officials aggressively promoting the concept over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to U.S. officials familiar with the intense debate.

Sending 15,000 to 30,000 more troops for a mission of possibly six to eight months is one of the central proposals on the table of the White House policy review to reverse the steady deterioration in Iraq. The option is being discussed as an element in a range of bigger packages, the officials said.

But the Joint Chiefs think the White House, after a month of talks, still does not have a defined mission and is latching on to the surge idea in part because of limited alternatives, despite warnings about the potential disadvantages for the military, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House review is not public.

The chiefs have taken a firm stand, the sources say, because they believe the strategy review will be the most important decision on Iraq to be made since the March 2003 invasion. At regular interagency meetings and in briefing President Bush last week, the Pentagon has warned that any short-term mission may only set up the United States for bigger problems when it ends...

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