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What about the Media’s backup plan?
Posted by: McQ on Sunday, March 11, 2007

Robert Kagen asks a very interesting question in the Washington Post about the media and Iraq:
A front-page story in The Post last week suggested that the Bush administration has no backup plan in case the surge in Iraq doesn't work. I wonder if The Post and other newspapers have a backup plan in case it does.
OK, I have to admit a surprised laugh escaped as I read that. You know, I wonder about that too. And not only do I wonder about the WaPo, I wonder about some of our politicians as well.

Of course, standard disclaimers apply (it's early, it could fail, the Iraqis may not step up, etc), but what if it does work? What if, in the middle of '08 we're looking at a rapidly improving Iraq which has begun to function as a burgeoning democracy?


What then Democrats? What then Media? What then anti-war types? What would each have to say about that inconvenient truth? And how would it effect presidential politics (I wonder if we'll see a second "flip" by some who have "flopped" since their war vote)?

It may never come to any of that, however if this does somehow manage to stabilize Iraq, it sure will be interesting to hear the explanations of each of those groups.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

A front-page story in The Post last week suggested that the Bush administration has no backup plan in case the surge in Iraq doesn’t work. I wonder if The Post and other newspapers have a backup plan in case it does.
That assumes that we will be allowed to know if the surge works. I seriously doubt that. What with Bill Clinton’s good friend now coming in to take over CBS, as well as the need to provide cover to the Dem presidential candidates, I think I can estimate what story priority judgments will be made regarding this. If the news is good (for the Dems) they will lead with it. If the news is bad for the Dems....well, suddenly you’ll be seeing a LOT of stories about rising oil prices, or the pressing need for nationalized healthcare, or Mitt Romney being a Mormon where the Iraq-is-a-quagmire segments used to be. Astute media consumers will have to read into the omissions.

But in the unlikely event that the media has to, they can always just go to their old faithful, wall to wall coverage of some B or C list celeb’s latest circus
Written By: shark
URL: http://
As I said in my post, if the surge works I’ll be happy to send sweets and roses to Robert’s brother Fred, along with my hearty congratulations for proving me wrong.

My question to the surge supporters is if it doesn’t work, will they then be finally willing to admit they were wrong?
Written By: Libby Spencer
My question to the surge supporters is if it doesn’t work, will they then be finally willing to admit they were wrong?
Wrong, as in going into Iraq was wrong?

No. I still don’t think that was wrong, and eventual failure in Iraq wouldn’t change that point of view.

That perhaps we’ve managed to fail in Iraq?

Yes. I’ve already said that if it doesn’t work we need to begin a phased withdrawal.

Oh ... and I wasn’t an original supporter of the surge.
Written By: McQ
Any improvements in Iraq by 2008 will simply be outright ignored since the standard for success in Iraq is already vaguely pre-defined in such a way that anything other then either the troops having been removed completely or being in the process of being removed can ever be considered a sign of success. Also, there would have to be no insurgent attacks or any more American deaths, accidentally or otherwise, before the Democrats or the MSM would ever bother w/ using the term “success” in regard to Iraq.

Much like the case for WMDs in Iraq, where it would take the finding of multiple & functioning nuclear devices for them to recognize the existence of WMDs, true success can only be measured in terms of no deaths or further attacks – an impossibility w/ 2 different, warring factions like the Sunni & Shia & after 35+ years of Sunni domination. Thus the Democrats have insured themselves a method of utilizing any negative news to their political advantage against their political opponents, while still allowing themselves wiggle room to capitalize on the real successes of the Iraqi people or the coalition troops themselves in the short-term.

But given that any real success lends creditability to the Bush Administration, I doubt very much that any successes will ever be recognized or acknowledged until there is another Democrat running the executive Branch or the successes are on such a level that they, the MSM, can no longer afford to ignore it.

This to me seems to be the full result, if not the goal of Democrats for politicizing the War in Iraq merely to re-capture political power. Given that they are repeatedly willing to reduce the War in political terms, for political gain, how could we ever expect them to do otherwise? The political investments & stances have been made & regardless of the costs, the Democrats must continue on the path they have chosen. Why else would Hillary continue to tack backs towards a more anti-war stance or why else would they allow a proven political commodity like Lieberman to be politically discarded?

Written By: PMain
URL: http://
As a retired journalist, I can answer this one. The media will just find another Anna Nicole scandal, something sensational to take the Boobwazee’s mind off Iraq. Notice, alleged wrong doing is reported on the front page, it’s retraction is buried on page D-32 if at all.
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
My question to the surge supporters is if it doesn’t work, will they then be finally willing to admit they were wrong?
Gee, if Iraq turns into a huge disaster, who is gonna let us know about it? Is there perhaps some great source that will feed us this final judgment on the situation like so much pre-digested soft cereal for infants and democrats? Hm...
Written By: Josh
URL: http://

What then Democrats? What then Media? What then anti-war types? What would each have to say about that inconvenient truth?
Uh… “A house, a round, my shout!” Maybe? Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to discover what I – being of the “anti-war types” – would emote after learning such glorious news.

Where I find it typical to put forward such questions toward Democrats, I must confess an answer eludes me as to why one would care what the Media or anti-war types would have to say.

I mean, …. Who cares?

Even if one were to buy into the meme that the Media is seditious, cowardly, and biased toward the Left, why would one consider it to even be their responsibility to provide a rebuttal, explanation, or apology?

Isn’t it the Media’s job to ask questions? Isn’t it the Media’s job to ask tough, adversarial questions? Is it the Media’s job to have explanations or apologies when the answers to those tough, adversarial questions turn out to be correct?

And as far as your, “anti-war types”… As Mr. Spencer mentioned,

Wouldn’t your questions also act a siren for similar demands from adversaries if the action were to fail?

And if that is the unfortunate course the action directs, wouldn’t you consider the similar demands from adversaries as similarly petty?

Written By: PogueMahone
Flawed paradigm, deserving of scorn. Why should the media, from a business standpoint, give a d*mn if the surge works? They’re paid to report. If the surge works, they’ll report on it, and make money. And if it doesn’t work, they’ll report on it, and make money. How else could it be?

Oh wait... I forgot, if the surge works, it will be a disaster for the MSM. Because, I forgot, the MSM hates victories, especially U.S. victories. And soldiers. And Republicans. Forget the fact that the Washington Post has supported the war in its editorial page, mocked anti-war voices, supported the surge, and run suck-up (I mean, positive.. whoops!) articles wherever there is any scrap of good news to be found. So has the NYT. I could give you, no problem, 25 positive articles in the last month. Where do you think you’re getting the raw info that could possibly lead you to believe that the surge is showning these quote glimmers of optimism unquote? Are proud conservatives from the battlefield setting up a courier system.. or are you reading it in the... MSM?

Of course, the surge isn’t going to work. The positive articles have come from the Madhi army rolling over and exposing their underbellies, which we all predicted they were going to do. The Sunni insurgents - the genuine villians - have continued their steady drumbeat of horrific attacks, with no end in sight. US soldiers continue to die at the similiar rates to pre-surge levels. Without breaking this trend, it will take more than stepping on Iran’s neck to keep the Shiites passive.

Of course, if the surge does work... which will take more than the surge itself, but a political solution worked out with Sunni insurgents, Iran, and Syria.. if that does work, what will the Democrats and the anti-war types do, you ask? We’ll say, "thank god the Admin finally did what we’ve been telling them to do for years - work out a political solution." Take credit for it. Deservedly!

Sort of like what General Petraeus is saying every press conference he can get his hands on.

How’s that for an answer?

Not to be blunt, but I fu*king hate these stupid cheap shots at the MSM. They’re not... based... on.... anything.
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Flawed paradigm, deserving of scorn.
Soon followed by:
Of course, the surge isn’t going to work.
Equals nothing worthy of comment.
Written By: McQ
Glasnost has it right; media will make money regardless of the way Iraq turns out. The fact is the media is attacked by the the rightwing because the media has the unmitigated gall to publish things the rightwing doesn’t want to see.

Getting back to Kagan’s op/ed, there are several problems. First, Kagan has the bad habit of writing these "things are looking up in Iraq" pieces about every 6 months. Since 2003, Kagan has been consistently wrong. Second, shouldn’t it be noted his brother is an architect of the surge plan?
Written By: Jadegold
URL: http://
A good retort to Kagan:
Written By: Scott Erb
First, Kagan has the bad habit of writing these "things are looking up in Iraq" pieces about every 6 months.
Got news for you, Jadegold. Only the historically ignorant could ever think things in Iraq have looked bad.

Now, as opposed to it taking half a generation to quell opposition to the rule of law*, it appears it may only take a year or so with a small remainder of American force to be an incorruptible "big stick".

That’s a win by any reasonable measure.

I doubt your ruler is reasonable.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

PS. *That’s the rule of thumb for opposed occupations.
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://

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