As you’ve probably already read by now, the administration, according to the mediots, is supposedly backing off their Iraq war slogan of “stay the course.” Here’s an example of one such news piece:
President Bush and his aides are annoyed that people keep misinterpreting his Iraq policy as “stay the course.” A complete distortion, they say. “That is not a stay-the-course policy,” White House press secretary Tony Snow declared yesterday.
Where would anyone have gotten that idea? Well, maybe from Bush.
“We will stay the course. We will help this young Iraqi democracy succeed,” he said in Salt Lake City in August.
“We will win in Iraq so long as we stay the course,” he said in Milwaukee in July.
“I saw people wondering whether the United States would have the nerve to stay the course and help them succeed,” he said after returning from Baghdad in June.
But the White House is cutting and running from “stay the course.” A phrase meant to connote steely resolve instead has become a symbol for being out of touch and rigid in the face of a war that seems to grow worse by the week, Republican strategists say. Democrats have now turned “stay the course” into an attack line in campaign commercials, and the Bush team is busy explaining that “stay the course” does not actually mean stay the course.
There are two good pieces in the blogosphere that tackle the media’s (and the left’s) dishonest attempt at characterizing “stay the course” as a war strategy. First, James Joyner:
It is fair to fault the administration and the State, DoD and CENTCOM planners over the years for failing to anticipate foreseeable events, for being too slow to adapt to changes, for being overly optimistic, and myriad other failures. It’s ridiculous, however, to pretend that campaign trail rhetoric represents the total depth of their strategic thinking.
“Stay the course” is bumper sticker shorthand for continuing to work toward accomplishing the mission for which we set out three and a half years ago, in contrast with various withdrawal plans floated by opposition leaders. It does not mean, nor has it ever meant, “continue doing exactly what we’re doing right now without any change.”
Rob at Say Anything writes:
The Bush administration responded to the Times report by indicating that they weren’t talking about a timetable for Iraq but rather a list of goals for the mission in Iraq and a change in tactics.
The media/left responded to this new statement from the White House by suggesting that a change in tactics means that the President is reversing on his “stay the course” message.
So the Bush administration responds to that insinuation by pointing out that a change in tactics doesn’t mean that we’re deviating from the overall goal in Iraq, which is to stay there until the mission is complete. Something which, in turn, generates headlines like this:
[Headline reads: Bush Admin. Won’t Shift Iraq Strategy]
Frustrating, isn’t it?
Yep. This is what happens when you have a willfully ignorant media who can’t tell the difference between a slogan and a strategy, have no real understanding of the military in and of itself, and don’t really care to because they despise the military and war (see this quote from veteran reporter and Nightline host Terry Moran for more on that), and who are also actively looking for ways to spin statements made by Republicans (no matter the issue) into something they’re not in order to help their power hungry Democratic pals get elected next month.
That’s their strategy, and they are ‘staying the course’ with it.
Hat tip: Flopping Aces
Update I: Michelle Malkin points to blatantly biased photo captions from Agence France-Presse (AFP).