THE LIGHTS ARE GROWING DIM.

More surgenik propaganda from Noemie Emery:

"Eagerly anticipating the defeat in Iraq to which they are so much attached, some on the left have also been preparing for another contingency: the assault that they think they see coming, a drive to pin the whole wretched failure on them. Apparently, this will be "stab in the back" redux, a new iteration of the theme deployed so successfully in interwar Germany by a resourceful, ambitious Austrian corporal, who managed to propel his rise to power with the claim that World War I would have been won by his country, if not for sinister forces at home. Then, it was subversion by Jews and other disloyal elements. This time, in the left's imagining, the blame will fall on the press and the Democrats who, by pulling the plug at just the wrong moment, caused the loss of Iraq."

One has to be impressed at how Emery can mock Democrats for being wary of the "stab in the back" charge in a piece entirely built around the offensive assertion that Democrats long for an American defeat in Iraq. Silly leftists, such imaginations!

Emery describes Democratic resistance to the "surge success!" narrative this way:

"A pattern was emerging in which goalposts were moved steadily backward with each new accomplishment."

If brazen dishonesty were early '80s cult film, that sentence would be Repo Man. As I wrote last week, it is the Bush administration who defined the goal of the surge as national political reconciliation. It is the Bush administration who, recognizing that that Iraqi national political reconciliation would not be forthcoming, changed the rules so that the surge would receive a passing grade. It is the Bush administration and their defenders who moved the goalposts all the way up to the line of scrimmage, and who now condemn anyone who does not recognize a touchdown.

I count three historically awkward and politically poisonous analogies in Emery's piece: 1) the title, "The Stab That Failed," a reference to Communism, because everybody who reads The Weekly Standard, or rather has it read to them by their valet while they dine on the last of a species, knows that Democrats are a bunch of Commies; 2) the "stab in the back" accusation, of course; and 3) in the last paragraph, a reference to Democratic resistance to the "success!" narrative as "the Pickett's Charge of the Great War on Terror." People can make up their own minds about which of the major parties more closely hews to the values of the American Confederacy, but I think think this analogy is actually more telling than Emery would like it to be about how she and other conservatives view the war on terror, and who they view as the enemy in that war.

UPDATE: From yesterday's New York Times:

"With American military successes outpacing political gains in Iraq, the Bush administration has lowered its expectation of quickly achieving major steps toward unifying the country, including passage of a long-stymied plan to share oil revenues and holding regional elections.

Instead, administration officials say they are focusing their immediate efforts on several more limited but achievable goals in the hope of convincing Iraqis, foreign governments and Americans that progress is being made toward the political breakthroughs that the military campaign of the past 10 months was supposed to promote."

Right, but it's Democrats who are moving the goalposts. Yglesias has more.

--Matthew Duss

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