And that’s the GOOD news?

The President thinks Iraq might go the way of Colombia. Worse, he would be willing to call that “victory.”

Of the many outrageous elements of the Beloved Leader’s interview with Jim Lehrer last evening — both the outrageous things GWB said and the outrageous way Lehrer deferred to him, even murmuring “exactly” again and again as President recited some ridiculous lie — let me pick out one on which I perhaps have some comparative advantage as a commenter.

Mr. Bush cited the war against the FARC in Colombia as an example of a country where an insurgency had been substantially defeated, even though violence has not entirely stopped, and suggested that Iraq might tread a similar path to stability. But of course the defeat of the FARC has been accompanied by the rise to political dominance of the paramilitary militias, which are now running most of the cocaine and heroin exports to the U.S. So what the President was offering as a model of “victory” was equivalent to having the various Shi’a militias take over Iraq.

“Such another victory and we are lost.”

Footnote Was the President fibbing about Colombia, and deceiving Lehrer? Or did Lehrer know that the President was fibbing and decide not to challenge him? Or was the President as ignorant of the facts on the ground as the journalist was? Truly, a post-modern Hall of Mirrors.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com