The Washington Post has a bad habit of understatement. Here's another example from today's edition, a story about Bush's "axis of evil" fixation. Here's the opening:
"President Bush's campaign against what he once termed the "axis of evil" has suffered reverses on all three fronts in recent days...."
Well, while I am not certain what the Post writers mean by "recent days," I think anyone who has been following the news with any attention over the last months would probably conclude that the reversals in Iraq have been ongoing for some time now, probably going all the way back to Bush's "mission accomplished" foolishness. Some might also conclude that, no sooner were the words out of Bush's mouth about the axis of evil, that Iran was already having private talks with the Iraqi leadership about all kinds of things that would make Bush squirm, had anyone known or told him.
And as far as North Korea is concerned, no one in their right mind could possibly think that any of our threats against them are anything other than bluster. Is there any strategic thinker in Washington who actually believes the US is prepared to go to war with North Korea? Other than some neocon numbskulls?
More from the story:
"These are difficult issues," national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley said in an interview last week after the Iran and North Korea setbacks. "They're going to take some time. But the main thing is to keep the international community focused."
Sounds like Bush's "this is hard work" stuff. Given the way the US is behaving in the international community, what is Hadley smoking if he thinks we can keep the international community "focused" on our "axis of evil" when it's the international community that seems to be focused on the US as the whole wheel itself.
And then this gem:
"The present course cannot be followed forever," said David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter who helped coin the "axis of evil" phrase in the 2002 State of the Union address to target countries believed to be developing weapons of mass destruction. "The president made his statement -- that he will not permit that -- so now he has to find a course of action. In Iraq, the president said he will see the job through. The job's not through, and we'll see if he'll follow through on that."
Yes, Bush said it in 2002, and now it's 2005 and Frum is suggesting that the President needs to "find a course of action." Frum, however, is not really sure the President can "follow through on that." It's nice to know someone is finally thinking about a course of action. Reassuring, isn't it?
I am not sure how Frum could be "one" of the people "who helped coin the "axis of evil" phrase. Were those three words actually devised by a group? Someone came up with the word "axis", someone else thought of the word "evil", and a third contributed the word "of", and it all kind of fell together? Sounds like people are trying to run from responsibility for coining the phrase, now that it turns out to be a target of scorn.
Frum goes on:
Frum said he sometimes worries that Bush has become a captive of a status quo bureaucracy. "The Bush administration since 9/11 has been again and again fighting to escape gravity, fighting to escape the weight of the way things have always been done," he said. "Things are now coming to a decision point, and we'll know soon."
We'll know soon? Wait a minute. I thought the President has been exercising so much so that he can make those "crisp decisions" he talks about (see my previous piece in this blog "Staying Healthy"). And now, on one of the biggest issues facing the world, "Things are now coming to a decision point, and we'll know soon?" Excuse me while I swig some Maalox.
Iraq is a debacle. Iraq is solidifying its ties with Iran. And North Korea now has support from South Korea for the development of civilian nuclear power.
Praxis is most commonly defined as "habitual or established practice or custom." But it also a synonym of "daily grind," "hang-up," "routine," "ritual," "vogue," and "second nature."
Bush's axis of evil has become a praxis of evil for Iraq, Iran and North Korea. And in the process, they have spit in George Bush's eye. And he can't do a thing about it.