May 28, 2002

WOBBLY WATCH: John O’Sullivan says that the Blogosphere is overreacting. He’s strongly in favor of rope-a-dope.

I’ve been wobbly on wobbliness, as readers know. The problem is that a properly executed disinformation campaign prior to an invasion would look just like wobbliness. So the question of what’s going on depends in no small part on how good you think the Bush Administration and the Pentagon are at at staying on message and controlling leaks.

In defense of the Blogosphere, there’s no real reason to feel guilty if wobblyists turn out to be wrong. If Bush is going wobbly, then he needs to be pressured. If he’s not, and it’s all rope-a-dope, then the Blogosphere’s complaints will just help the disinformation campaign look credible.

UPDATE: Reader Howard Litwak thinks I’m reading too much into O’Sullivan’s piece. He says it’s not really an endorsement of rope-a-dope so much as an observation that Bush has done badly enough in domestic politics that he has no choice but to win the war.

There may be something to this, but I’m not sure it matters. If Bush is serious about winning the war, then a lot of what we’re hearing must be disinformation (hence rope-a-dope). If he’s not serious, then it’s wobbliness. Can he be both wobbly and serious about winning the war? Not for long, if at all.