This video is a keeper. When a reporter challenges George Bush on his credibility when he describes the US as winning in Afghanistan, Bush at first tries to explain that “winning” doesn’t mean the war is over. Bush notes that he has said repeatedly that tough fighting remains ahead. After the reporter tries asking the same question again, Bush vents his frustration:
How frustrated did Bush get? He violated the State Department policy outlawing the use of the word “jihadist”, as the boss notes. Maybe Condoleezza Rice will send him a harshly-worded memo.
Overall, though, this exemplifies the vapidity of American war coverage. We saw this in the Basra coverage, where the initial pushback by Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army got portrayed as a great victory and an embarrassing loss for Nouri al-Maliki — and within 48 hours, Sadr started offering terms for retreat. When Maliki’s forces liberated Basra a few days later, the media outlets responded by reminding everyone that the Mahdis fought back, and therefore the victory didn’t count as much.
This war will not be won in the space of a few weeks or months, in Afghanistan or anywhere else. The US and NATO have to build the Afghan government and security forces to be strong enough to maintain their own security. In Iraq, an industrialized nation with at least the traditions of modern governance, that has taken years to accomplish and appears to be on the verge of success. In Afghanistan, which has no such tradition, it will take much longer.
Does that mean we’re losing? Of course not. Does it mean that the enemy will never attempt to attack, and sometimes succeed? Of course not. However, we can count on our media to fail to look past the current news cycle and shriek failure at the earliest possible moment. Small wonder that Bush vented his frustration; after six-plus years of reporting the war, one would have hoped that the media would have learned to do it right.