Stay the (Undefined) Course

The New Republic’s Spencer Ackerman snarks President Bush’s Iraq press conference this morning:

We now have a clear distillation of his Iraq strategy: reducing violence in Iraq to the miraculously calibrated amount that will “enable us to achieve our objectives,” a figure larger than zero violence, since that’s “not going to happen.” It’s a brilliant, sublime concoction of a foreign-policy emulsion, a strategy that requires the sort of precision of measurement befitting the world’s greatest pastry chefs. Add a little too much violence and we “make the world a more dangerous place.” A touch less violence—well, that’s unfair to expect us to accomplish, but “obviously, we would like violence to go down.” Clearly, the only responsible policy in Iraq is to discern, and then achieve, the Magic Number.

Gene Healy and I complained about the empty rhetoric of “stay the course” back in November. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…