This group, that yesterday decried the media's contempt for America by focusing on a few bad events at the expense of all the good we do in Iraq, today discussed the awful situation in Iraq, our precarious position, the danger to all our forces and the chance of failure.
Some of what Bush said last night actually pulled the rug out from under his staunchest supporters -- those clinging to the belief that everything is going well in Iraq and that any appearance of chaos and quagmire is the result of a deliberate conspiracy of deception by the evil media. This hard-core core has spent the past three years devoutly affirming that they trust nothing except what they hear from the lips of God's chosen president and thus, encouraged by that president, have denied that lethal chaos and death squads run the show in Baghdad, denied that there is a widening gyre of sectarian violence, denied that mistakes have been made, denied that the situation isn't perfectly acceptable. They have denied all of these things because President Bush told them to -- because he and his court prophets at Fox News have said, time and again, that every journalist reporting such things was lying, was not to be trusted, was the enemy of America.But then, last night, trying to make the case for a "change in strategy" that is neither a change nor a matter of strategy, Bush pulled a 180. He affirmed that everything those journalists have been reporting is true and that, therefore, he has been lying -- about Iraq, about "the media" -- for a very long time.
The amazing thing -- not surprising, but still astonishing to see -- is that this will not alter the views of this hard-core group at all. Does Bush contradict himself? Very well, he contradicts himself. He is large, he encompasses multitudes! These folks are masters of cognitive dissonance. . .They accept incompatible ideas. It's what they do, those some of the people, all of the time.