Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Opinion (Michael Duffy): Washington's nervous breakdown

Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, who joined a Republican filibuster against his and other Iraq resolutions

Washington is in the middle of an almost cinematic nervous breakdown about the war on Iraq. And it's a reliable feature of life here in the city of fear that one crisis will spill into the other before long, as it promises to do this week.

Virtually everywhere you look here, there are worrisome pathologies on display. There's the Scooter Libby trial, which turns on whether White House officials took the nation to war winking along the way — and then punished anyone who had the nerve to call them on it. Then there's the steady scheduling of "briefings" and "backgrounders" by conservative think tanks here about the Iranian threat — a desperate attempt to change the subject from Iraq. This is a dodge that is working almost perfectly, especially in that it never concedes that Iran is a growing regional power now in part because the fiasco in Iraq deprived southwest Asia of its previous balance of power.

Read the rest at Time