Progress in Fantasyland
by Jerry Gilio
July 13, 2007

The following is a transcript of a report from Air America's "The Rachel Maddow Show" (Monday-Friday 6pm-8pm EST) on July 12, 2007. I thought Rachel did a great job of illustrating why we shouldn't be drawn into Dubya's delusional interpretation of the assessment of the situation in Iraq.

America needs more of this kind of reporting. Opinion isn't the same as fact, even when it comes from the President of the United States. That distinction needs to be reinforced in today's media.

So consider Dubya's opinion and look at the facts. Then ask yourself who you're going to believe, George "Makin' Progress" Bush or your lying eyes?

Click here to hear the report.

Today the President was bundled onto his presidential hand truck and rolled into the new White House press room to give his assessment of how things are going in Iraq. Perhaps not having seen the USA Today story or the US Army assessment about the people we are training and arming in Iraq using those weapons and that training to kill us, perhaps not having noticed that yet, the President went eye-to-lens with the cameras, with the assembled press corps and he said he felt pretty good about the whole situation.

"Those of us who believe the battle in Iraq can and must be won see the satisfactory performance on several of the security benchmarks as a cause for optimism."

As a cause for what?

"...a cause for optimism."

"A cause for optimism." In other words, the President said today that when he looks at Iraq things look pretty good to him.

"There's some measurable progress."

"There's some measurable progress."

I will say it is kind of amazing to think that the press corps asked Bush relatively good questions after his press conference and everything, but when you look at the stories written about that press conference today, it is kind of amazing to me that the headlines in the American press after Bush's press conference today are reporting on his sense of optimism and his sense of progress being made in Iraq, reporting on that as if that is any indication of what things might really be like in Iraq at all.

Let me explain what I mean here. I'm gonna recap for a second. Remember that we invaded Iraq in March 2003. Okay? March 2003. Later that year, in October 2003, here's how President Bush thought that things were going in Iraq:

"Listen, we're making good progress in Iraq."

That was October 2003. By the following year? Let's check in with him at about September 2004.

"We're making steady progress."

Okay. That was September 2004. By the year after that? Let's move ahead to April 2005.

"I believe we're making really good progress in Iraq."

Okay. How about a little later on in 2005? How about September 2005?

"We're making steady progress."

Okay. about October 2005?

"Iraq has made incredible political progress."

"Incredible". Maybe he's trying to tell us something with that word, "incredible". Maybe he means it in the literal sense. about...why don't we check in, I mean just to make sure we know exactly what he meant, why don't we check in with later that month, later in October 2005.

"Iraqis are making inspiring progress."

They went from "incredible progress" to "inspiring progress". And now, of course, we heard this today.

"I believe we can succeed and I believe we are making security progress."

"There's some measurable progress." I don't mean to...I don't mean to be disrespectful. He is the president, but the way I think about this is...I mean that the way I file this type of information, this type of repetitive assertions of something that doesn't really seem to make any sense given everything else we know about the subject, I kind of feel like we can just file this in this folder:

[Singing from "Monty Python's Life of Brian"]

"Always look on the bright side of life."

You know with all this progress being made every single time the President talks about Iraq you'd think that by now Iraq would be Shangri La.

It's fine to report what the President says. It's good to have a record of what comes out of his mouth. It is not fine to treat it as credible. Not at this point. Not after all these four and a half years of this nonsense.

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