Thursday, January 25, 2007

Save the Cheerleader.... Part Deux

Let's take a look back at the Wizard's crystal ball predictions heading into the State of the Union address. And it looks like the Wizard was wrong not once, but twice!

First, NBC's Heroes did beat Fox's 24 in the overnight ratings! It was a stunning upset!
Mike McDaniel, writing for the Houston Chronicle said:

Confounding odds makers but delighting the networks, NBC's Heroes won Round 1 of a ratings showdown between network heavyweights, edging past Fox's 24 to draw the largest audience, ages 18-49, during the 8 p.m. hour Monday.

According to overnight 18-49 ratings, Heroes finished first with a 6.5 rating, followed by 24's 5.4.

In total viewers, the contest was much closer, with NBC grabbing 14.8 million viewers for the hour and Fox taking 14.4 million.

And the Wizard was also wrong about the President's reception at the State of the Union address. The Congress was polite, attentive and respectful. There were numerous breaks for applause and Nancy Pelosi was certainly gracious during the speech. Naturally the folks over at Fox News were counting:

"While early analysis suggests President Bush delivered a flat State of the Union address Tuesday night that received only muted response, several lines in the 52-minute speech won the president enthusiastic applause."

"Still, FOX News transcribers recorded 54 applause breaks, although not all those pauses were the result of bipartisan cheering for the president. That compares to 76 in 2002 and and 77 in 2003, though both of those speeches were longer."

Beyond those two errors, the Wizard was right. Not that is took any kind of crystal ball to predict the President's proposals would fall on deaf ears. Nor did it require great insight to predict that the President's pleas for support and time to prove out his new Iraq strategy would be nearly universally rejected.

In less than 24 hours, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
strongly rebuked the President by voting overwhelmingly (12 to 9) for a resolution against the President's proposed "surge" in U.S. troops in Iraq.

"The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday passed 12-9 a resolution that dismissed Bush's plans to increase troops in Iraq as "not in the national interest." The vote on the nonbinding measure was largely along party lines, with Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska being the sole Republican on the committee offering his support."

Although Hagel was the only Republican actually voting for this resolution, most Republicans rebuked the President in their comments, but refused to support this particular resolution.

Faced with overwhelming public disapproval of the President and the occupation of Iraq, Senators were all seeking a safe spot, distancing themselves from the President.

Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri quietly began planning their victory celebrations in Iraq. They recognize that there is still a long way to go, but time is firmly on their side.

It is absolutely critical that they foil the President's plan to quell violence in Bagdad. But they only need to keep up the effort for a few months. A suicide bomber here, an IED there and victory is at hand.

Other than tying the hands of the Commander and Chief of the US military, none of the opposition in the United States, neither Democrats or Republicans, have offered ever a glimmer of an idea of how to prevent Iraq from becoming a totalitarian radical Islamic militant state.

And, as the United Nations and the supposed US allies quickly march away from Afghanistan, victory for al-Qaida and the Taliban there is clearly visible in the not to distant future. In a
Bloomberg report, Caroline Alexander explains:

"An estimated 15,000 Taliban fighters are preparing for battle, counting on guerrilla-like techniques adopted last year. Meanwhile, NATO foreign ministers meet in Brussels tomorrow divided over the campaign, with France and Germany refusing to deploy soldiers to Taliban strongholds in the south and east, and forces still short of helicopters and transport planes a year after asking their governments for more."

"This is going to make it more difficult to take objectives and hold them," Bastian Giegerich, an analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, said in an interview. "It's going to be another difficult spring."

"Losing Afghanistan to the Taliban might restore the Central Asian nation as a training ground for terrorists with "devastating" consequences for international security, British Prime Minister Tony Blair says."

While Tony Blair clearly understands the magnitude of the problem, it is unlikely he can gain support in Parliament or from the British public to send a promised 1,000 additional combat troops to Afghanistan. In fact, most NATO countries will not even allow their very few committed troops to be stationed in combat areas.

Although Democrats today support a surge in troops in Afghanistan, al-Qaida understands that continuous guerrilla war should quickly fatigue the American public.

I'll discuss in detail the huge failures of President Bush and the gigantic and virtually continuous victories of Al-Qaida in another article shortly. It is the stuff of legend.

What does all this mean? Well, let's not panic. There are
many progressives who I greatly respect who feel a positive outcome is possible, even likely.

But let's not deny that the United State's strategy as begun by George Bush and now being ended by the U.S. Congress has, in the long term, helped al-Qaida.




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