Buying Bush Spin, Media Recycles Tired Headline on Iraq

This morning, the Washington Post recycles a headline that we have seen frequently over the past three years: “Bush Goes on Offensive To Explain War Strategy; Speeches to Combat Public Pessimism.”

In reality, “pessimism” has mounted due to the growing casualties and cost of a war that has no clear exit strategy (the article did not specifically mention any of these factors). The speeches are a public relations stunt to blunt the growing dissatisfaction of a war that approaches its three-year anniversary.

The article, like previous ones with similar headlines, posits that public dissatisfaction with the war has intensified because Bush has not “explained” it well. The story notes, “The president hopes to give ‘better depth, understanding and context for how the strategy in Iraq is unfolding,’ a senior White House official said of the planned speeches.”

A quick review of old headlines, however, shows that Bush has been given ample opportunity to explain his Iraq strategy, but the public is no longer buying his bill of goods:

“Bush supporters cite Iraq speeches as start of rebound” [AP, 12/13/05]

“Bush vows victory, not retreat; Speech gives strategy for winning Iraq war, rejects exit timetable” [Toledo Blade, 12/1/05]

“Bush Goes on the Offensive Against Critics of War in Iraq” [Los Angeles Times, 11/12/05]

“In Speech, Bush To Get Specific On Iraq Strategy” [Boston Globe, 6/28/05]

“President spotlights Iraq war successes; Bush plans summer offensive to tout progress against insurgency” [Fresno Bee, 6/19/05]

“Bush to define Iraq strategy in major speeches” [Washington Times, 5/22/04]

“Cheney Goes on the Offensive Over Bush’s Policy on Iraq;
Vice President’s Unyielding Speech Is Designed to Regain Support” [Washington Post, 10/12/03]