Cold Hard Wonk

No sentiment but politics

Fact is Stranger to Fiction

Posted by JJ in Doubletake/Doubletalk, The Elephant, Crossroads of Culture (Wednesday July 26, 2006 at 8:01 am)

Those who think President Bush doesn’t devote enough time to studying the problems he faces are wrong. He doesn’t devote enough time to watching TV.

A few more hours might give him an even chance of catching reruns of “Yes, (Prime) Minister”, whose politically-minded, policy-light title character might give him pause. Or at least might make him reconsider the likes of the following remark:

“Obviously, the violence in Baghdad is still terrible, and therefore there needs to be more troops,” Mr. Bush said at the news conference, held in the East Room after a morning meeting with Mr. Maliki in the Oval Office. “Our military commanders tell me that this deployment will better reflect the current conditions on the ground in Iraq.”

And as much as facile comparisons to Vietnam should be treated with the scornful physical comedy they so richly deserve, the offering of no solution but “more troops” was one contributing factor to the removal of General Westmoreland from command of that operation. Facile solutions are just as deserving.

But physical comedy is no substitute for a word fitly spoken; and those are Sir Humphrey’s sole legacy. Just imagine how much more sound the President’s decision might have been, had he arrived before his generals bearing in mind the Cabinet Secretary’s eminently diplomatic rejoinder:

Her Majesty’s government is not convinced that having more men with guns in London would make it a safer place.

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