GWB's new Iraq strategy: "Keep Jane Stillwater out of the Red Zone -- and the Green Zone too!"
Good grief! I just found out why I'm having so much trouble embedding in Iraq! GEORGE W. BUSH doesn't like me. Wow! I guess he finally noticed that I've been calling him an anti-American corrupt crook all these years. How impressive is that. I'm being noticed right at the top. Me and Jimmy Carter and the Dixie Chicks! Who'd have thought it. Should I be flattered or not?
Bush's military strategy in Iraq has failed miserably, his economic strategy in Iraq has failed miserably and his diplomatic strategy (he has one?) in Iraq has failed miserably too. However, not to worry. Bush's new strategy for winning the "war" on Iraq is apparently fool-proof -- and it only took him four years and 400 billion dollars to think it all up. So. What IS this dynamite new strategy? "Keep that [freaking] blogger Jane Stillwater out of the Red Zone -- and don't let her in the Green Zone either! If we can just keep that [censored] bleeding-heart hippie blogger from embedding again, we will have won the [freaking] war!" Hey, that's some policy. I'm impressed.
Here's the whole story: When I first decided to embed in Iraq, it took me almost a year to get my application approved. I had all the correct press credentials and sponsors. I had demonstrable writing ability. I had support from my senator and my congresswoman. I even brushed my teeth regularly, avoided partially-hydrogenated French fries and changed my socks once a week without fail. But still I got stonewalled. "We cannot allow her to come over here," they wrote to my senator. "She is opinion-based, not fact-based." Yeah, well. So is Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Dick Cheney and Tony Blair . Get over it.
Then about two months ago I finally got permission to embed in Iraq -- but only in the Green Zone. It was so frustrating. I went all up and down the MNFI chain of command, begging to be sent out beyond the wire. "But, Jane," they kept telling me, "we are doing everything we can to get you out into the Red Zone. Honest." But in the meantime other reporters came and went with no problem while I was stuck hanging out underneath a glass ceiling reserved especially for me.
Then word started to spread around the press room that the US embassy itself was the one giving orders to keep me in the Green Zone -- by any means necessary. So finally I gave up and went home, having never set foot in the Red Zone. "What exactly IS the Red Zone?" you might ask. It's any place in Iraq that's not in the Green Zone. "And what is the Green Zone?" It's a US military base set down in the middle of what used to be the federal district of Iraq. So. You gots your monuments, broad avenues, government buildings -- all mixed up with Humvees and pre-fabs and a PX. It's a strange hybrid mongrel "Emerald City" -- with me in the middle of it, longingly lusting after "Hometown Baghdad" just across the Tigris.
So reluctantly I waved goodbye to the wizards behind the curtain, took the midnight Rhino armored vehicle convoy ride to the Baghdad airport and went home. But once safely back in Berkeley, I started to get all righteous and "Freedom of the Press" and all that and decided to give embedding in the Red Zone one more last shot. But guess what? Now I can't even get embedded in the freaking Green Zone! First they told me three weeks ago that I had applied too late to get embedded in May because I had to apply at least a month in advance. Okay. So I changed my request date to the end of June. No problem. But now they are telling me that I can't embed because I've applied too EARLY. What?
Why are they not embedding me again? Has word from the embassy come down from on high not to let me back in? Hummm.... So I got out my little reporter detective kit, followed the chain of command one more time and guess what I found out? You are not going to believe this! George Bush himself is blocking my embed! He's actually been reading my blogs -- or at least having someone else read them to him. Maybe Alberto Gonzales?
I just got word from reliable sources about a recent conversation in the Oval Office that went something like this: "Karl, that freaking Stillwater person is dawging me again. Ever since I stole the 2000 election, she's been on my case. Who does that cow think she is? Molly Ivins?"
"Correct as usual, King George," replied Rove. "We gotta get rid of that [censored]. Let's swift-boat her. Get me Gannon, O'Reilly and Beck."
"Do what you gotta do, Karl, but I want that Stillwater woman stopped." And that is the true story of how Bush's strategy in Iraq switched from pilfering its oil and decimating America's military to keeping me from getting embedded. Apparently I'm an Army of One.
"Do you think if we got AT&T to crash her computer, she'd shut up?"
Sorry, George. Your new strategy isn't gonna work. But maybe we can cut a deal -- you embed me in Iraq in June and I'll come visit you in jail when I get back.
PS: From what I can tell from the Iraq Slogger, General Petraeus' new strategy is to reign in our troops' "boys behaving badly" behavior out in the field. This is a good strategy. I approve. Let's just hope it doesn't come too little and too late. Four years ago, this "friendly cop on the beat" approach in Iraq might have won hearts and minds, but after four grim and bloody years of an occupation more resembling "Animal House" and "The Sopranos" and "Lost" than "Boston Legal" or "Deal or No Deal" or "West Wing," it might be too little and too late. But, General, I wish you all the luck in the world. And here's some further advice from me: Do this now. And then get the hell outta Dodge as soon as you possibly can. Just say, "I won the war, the Iraqis all love me!" and then get the hell out.
When Bush hears that I complimented Petraeus, I can pretty much guess his reaction. "Just listen to that little suck-up bleeding-heart hippie pacifist [person]," he'll say. "I bet she's just saying all those nice things about Petraeus to get herself embedded again so she can diss me!" Yeah.
Let's get George Bush out of Iraq, out of the White House, out of our Treasury and into jail ASAP. THAT'S the strategy for winning in Iraq that I would recommend if I was in charge.