Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 15, 2004
WAR/POLITICS: Showdown in Fallujah

The Big One is on in Iraq, as US forces are finally doing what, at least in retrospect, they should have done back in April, cordoning off Fallujah and opening a major offensive against the heart of the insurgency. I can't offer any insights on the military angle, but here's what's interesting: the Bush Administration was quite happy to leak word earlier this week that it had no intention of any major offensive actions in Iraq until after Election Day. The left, predictably, went nuts over this report (see Kevin Drum, Mark Kleiman, Matt Yglesias, Atrios, Brad DeLong, and, yes, even the Kerry campaign), claiming that Bush was putting politics over national security by not launching an offensive in mid-October. Which raises four possibilities:

1. Something changed between Monday and today. Unlikely, given the amount of preparation that goes into something like this.
2. The media stories were wrong and/or based on reports from people who knew nothing. Always a possibility.
3. This was a head-fake to throw off the enemy in Iraq.
4. This was a head-fake to throw off the Bush Administration's domestic political opponents so they'd demand that Bush go on the offensive, which would make it more difficult for them to immediately switch course and cry "October Surprise".

Without discounting the other possibilities, #4 sure sounds like typical Bush political strategy, with #3, of course, being an added bonus. And the usual suckers fell for it, for the same reasons they always do.

And maybe now we know why Bush wanted to talk to Kerry after the debate.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:36 AM | Politics 2004 • | War 2004 | Comments (9) | TrackBack (3)

Or the obvious interpretation, let's call it #5:

A. The Bush White House was screwing around with military decisions for political reasons.

B. Somene in the Pentagon didn't like it, and leaked to the LA Times to pressure the White House to back off.

C. It worked.

So the military had to use the press to get the President to do the right thing. Wartime President? Feh.

Posted by: Mark Kleiman at October 15, 2004 3:49 PM

Baseball Hack, er, Crank, way to let partisan nonsense get in the way of common sense. Hey, but at least you can say, "Gotcha!" Solid work MK.

Posted by: ABB at October 15, 2004 4:23 PM

Matt Ygleisas has more.

Posted by: Mark Kleiman at October 15, 2004 5:42 PM

Did we not envaded Iraq and take it over? Why are we haveing to to start the war again. I will tell you why, bush did not care about helping the people of iraq or he would never let the enemy take back 95% of Iraq. Yes 95% look it up. Bush did this by removing the soilders of the streets so that the causalities would go down. That is just political scum. Bush is nothing but scum, maybe if he ever was in combat like Kerry he would respect the troops more.

If we have to retake Iraq, then bush has failed time, to wake up and vote Kerry Nov. 2nd.

During the 2nd debate bush called the terrorist "folks" . Are you for real, people get on Kerrys back for wanting to bring back pre-9/11 America and bush tried to put him down? Bush is all hat and no cattle.

Posted by: Ryan at October 15, 2004 5:47 PM

Wow Crank. I think you've been a target of whatever the liberal version of "freeping" is.

But seriously- anyone remember the opening days of the ground offensive? It started before they said it would. They pushed harder and faster than they said they would. "Shock and awe" never came. Just about nothing went “as planned”- or rather as the press had expected (I remember Wes Clark on CNN describing the operation as a “disaster” during day two). And it turned out that every single move was a right one in terms of destroying Saddam's ability to wage war.

This is just another case of disinformation- it's been this administration’s policy from the start. And it's a smart one in this age of 24-hour satellite news, when your enemies hear everything you tell the press.

Posted by: Richard at October 16, 2004 1:49 AM


Who actually reads Matt Ygleisas? All intelligent people eliminated his whiny rants long, long ago!

You STILL read him. Oh!

NO COMMENT. Heh! Heh! Chuckle!

Posted by: leaddog2 at October 16, 2004 3:26 PM

Wes Clark?

Ha! Ha! Ha!! Heh! Heh! Heh! Heavens! Thanks, I needed that laugh!

That gasbag is a "funny pathetic" person you know!

Posted by: leaddog2 at October 16, 2004 3:29 PM

Actually Richard, we have stronger words for "Gasbag Wes" types, but this is a family oriented blog, so Never Mind!

Posted by: leaddog2 at October 16, 2004 3:32 PM

Oh, yeh, Matthew Yglesias...

...thin-skinned little weener who shut down his comments because he couldn't take the constructive criticism.

MK's grasp of combat logistics tied to the 24-hr. news cycle isshall we say tenouus, so leave it to him to glom onto the Rube Goldberg rationale. And, hey, extra credit for being willing to make a fool of himself in a losing cause, and in writing and in front of the whole class, to boot.


Posted by: furious_a at October 21, 2004 4:17 PM
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