Just by taking a gander at conservative columns and blogs, you can see that many on the right have found much to criticize in the record of President George W. Bush. When they take issue with the supposedly conservative Chief Executive, they reference statements he has made, individuals he has appointed and policies he has enacted (or failed to enact) — and many have taken issue with his failure to change military strategy in Iraq until this year. When many on the left (and in the MSM) take issue with the president, they often dispense with the facts and levy a bevy of charges on him, often without substantiating them — or by pulling statements out of context and/or offering only an incomplete version of the situation, leaving out key facts.
We see the latter in criticism/reporting of the president’s record in Iraq where writers, newscasters, bloggers, etc., present the bad news from Iraq, neglecting the good, for example, headlining pieces with the number of Americans killed while giving short shrift to the number of terrorists killed — and ignoring whether or not our side won the engagement that is the subject of their piece.
This morning (via Real Clear Politics), I discovered one such piece where columnist Sharon Begley echoes the criticism of Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid that the president is “‘in a state of denial’ about the situation in Iraq.” She answers criticism that this could be “dismissed as psychobabble” by quoting a number of psychologists, including Kerry Sulkowicz, clinical professor of psychiatry at New York University Medical Center who claims that the president “seems unmoved by the extent of the evidence that things are far worse than he believes. The tip-off for denial is perpetual optimism, a pathological certainty that things are going well.“
To be sure, the president has been optimistic that we will succeed in Iraq, but, in nearly every statement he has made on the War in Iraq, he has indicated that difficult times lie ahead. Mr. Sulkowicz offers his assessment without once quoting the president to show that he (the president) is not aware of the difficulties in Iraq. To be sure, he may well have addressed those issues, and Ms. Begley just chose to leave them out.
Indeed, in her entire piece on the President’s alleged state of denial (about the war in Iraq), she never once includes a statement of the president indicating a pollyannish view of Iraq (suggesting that there are no difficulties there) nor even once showing that the situation (in Mr. Sulkowicz’s words) is worse than the president believes. Indeed, she offers no facts about the situation in Iraq — or the results of the “surge,” the president’s new policy for victory in Iraq.
In short, in her piece, Ms. Begley fails to provide any of the “truths” she claims the president is denying.
She just joins Harry Reid in assuming that the war is lost. But, as the first reports come back from the “surge,” it seems that it isn’t the president, but his critics who are in denial. While the president has changed his strategy, they haven’t changed their tune, continuing to report on the setbacks (and there are many) and all but ignoring the successes (which even some in MSM have begun to note).
The president perennial critics seem to be in denial about the first signs of success of the surge.