When Joshua B. Bolten became the White House chief of staff earlier this year, he told associates that he wanted to make sure the president heard from more voices. "My impression is that there are a lot more data points or gathering points now," said Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota.
For instance, Mr. Bush has turned to another Washington insider, James A. Baker III, who served Mr. Bush’s father as secretary of state, for help as the co-chairman of an outside group developing options for dealing with Iraq. One group member said, "You get the sense that the president now realizes, perhaps a little late, that he needs Baker to find him an exit door."
I personally have no use for Baker, whose cowardice allowed US Iraq Amb. April Glaspie to hang out and dry after she followed his instructions to the letter in a meeting with Saddam just before the Gulf War. But his judgment on the politics of wartime electioneering might be an improvement, if he is asked by GWB for advice. The NYT gives Cheney a well-deserved pummeling about the head and shoulders:
[Cheney's]prediction in 2002 that overthrowing Mr. Hussein would force radical extremists "to rethink their strategy of jihad" proved wrong, as Mr. Bush implicitly acknowledged last week when he described how the array of enemies facing America has multiplied. Mr. Cheney’s friends and former aides said they were mystified about how the same man who as defense secretary in 1991 warned that "for us to get American military personnel involved in a civil war inside Iraq would literally be a quagmire" managed, 15 years later, to find himself facing that prospect.
A quagmire indeed, as the country lurches from low-intensity warfare into civil strife in a near-processional fashion. And civil war, if Anbar becomes a "no go" zone, will be an ugly reality.
Then, like Kipling, we will have to have a literate MSMer [I know, it's oxymoronic] do an American "Recessional."