As Frank Rich sees it
this morning, War of the Worlds
is a not so subtle excoriation of GI George's Iraq war.
Rich can't help but discuss the latter and Dear Leader's recent attempt to rally America.
Now that the rhetorical arsenal of W.M.D.'s and mushroom clouds is bare, he had little choice [Tuesday night] but to bring back that oldie but goodie, 9/11, as the specter of the doom that awaits us if we don't stay the course - his course - in Iraq. By the fifth time he did so, it was hard not to think of that legendary National Lampoon cover: "If you don't buy this magazine, we'll kill this dog."
Planned or not, the sepulchral silence of Mr. Bush's military audience was the perfect dazed response to what was literally a summer rerun. The president gave almost the identical televised address, albeit with four fewer 9/11 references, at the Army War College in Pennsylvania in May 2004. It's so tired that this time around even the normally sympathetic Drudge site gave higher billing to reviews of "War of the Worlds." Fewer TV viewers tuned in than for any prime-time speech in Mr. Bush's presidency. A good thing too, since so much of what he said was, as usual, at odds with reality. The president pledged to "prevent Al Qaeda and other foreign terrorists from turning Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban" a full week after Newsweek and The New York Times reported on a new C.I.A. assessment that the war may be turning Iraq into an even more effective magnet and training ground for Islamic militants than Afghanistan was for Al Qaeda in the 1980's and 90's ...
[Tuesday night] was a blown opportunity, and it's hard to see that there will be another chance. Iraq may not be Vietnam, but The Wall Street Journal reports that the current war's unpopularity now matches the Gallup findings during the Vietnam tipping point, the summer of 1968. As the prospect of midterm elections pumps more and more genuine fear into the hearts of Republicans up for re-election, it's the Bush presidency, not the insurgency, that will be in its last throes. Is the commander in chief so isolated in his bubble that he does not realize this? G.W.B., phone home.
That last paragraph may be especially telling for those of us in Connecticut's second Congressional district. Rob Simmons—with his CIA background and all—may be vulnerable come next year.
And then there's the case of the Senate's most groveling Democrat. Might Senator Sanctimony—who's alone in his party in thinking we should stay the course in Iraq— also be vulnerable? The answers to such questions lie in the potential for the state's parties to come up with some attractive candidates, which is always a dubious prospect.