The Risk Tonight

No doubt the president has had a good week (although his short-term success may lead to an abyss for the GOP next year). Despite the explicit failure of the surge on the terms that Bush laid out in January - political reconciliation at the center - it will continue until its natural, cyclical death next spring. Somehow, with the help of his propaganda outlets, the president has managed to get enough headlines out there about a "drawdown" of troops that the Republican revolt is stilled. His imperviousness to empirical reality allows him to gamble the country's military, reputation and vast amounts of money yet one more time - at an untold cost in lives. And yet he has won again - the system unable to resist a president in wartime whose goal now is ensuring that he can pin defeat and chaos in Iraq on his successor or the opposition party, or, if failure in Iraq deepens further, widen the war to Iran in order to scramble the debate one more time.

So where's the catch? The catch is tonight. The usual suspects - Kaus, Krauthammer, Goldberg - are nervous that the president's own imprimatur on the now-indefinite occupation of the Middle East may hurt public opinion. I can see how. I'll have to watch tonight; but it will be painful. No sane person can trust the guy's judgment any more, or listen to his excruciating recitation of the terror war creed. His credibility on Iraq is negligible at this point. Could he snatch a temporary pr defeat from temporary pr victory? On the day it became apparent that the latest attempt at an oil law in Iraq has collapsed? On the day when the leader of the sole success story in Iraq is assassinated by an al Qaeda whose ass has apparently been kicked? We'll see; and I'll blog it.