Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Lip should Zip it

Mike "the Lip" Lupica, the outspoken sports columnist for the New York Daily News, decides to stray into opining on the War in Iraq today. The Lip should ZIP it as he clearly should stick to a topic he knows.

He comes out of upstate New York and put himself through college with ROTC, and found himself with the 1st Armored Division in Baghdad in the summer of 2003 fighting George W. Bush's war. He spent 15 months in Iraq and now they want to send him back in the spring, make him part of this great surge that we will hear about from the White House tonight, one that is less about saving what is left of Iraq than it is saving what is left of this President's reputation.

This President has moved all these top managers around, made John Negroponte a deputy secretary of state and replaced Gen. George Casey in Iraq with Lt. Gen. David Petraeus and made Adm. William Fallon his new head of the Central Command. This is the way sports owners do it with bad teams, as a way of showing some kind of movement to the fans when there is none in the standings.

This is all about the men and women running one of the worst and weakest administrations in American history trying to save face now.

Lip managed to shovel a pile of offal and try to make himself relevant by adding a (weak) sports metaphor. Is Zip so thick-headed that he doesn't realize that this President's enduring reputation is inextricably linked to how Iraq turns out? He has every incentive to get Iraq right for all the right reasons the least of which is his reputation.

If one must use a sports metaphor what Bush has done isn't Steinbrenner firing Billy Martin but more like Notre Dame firing Gerry Faust and bringing in Lou Holtz. I'd be shocked if Lip knew anything about General David Petraeus - one of the reasons why I am a little optimistic about Iraq. (The other is that retired Army General Jack Keane - whom we referenced here - apparently has had significant input into the new plan.)

It's not about saving face, it's about saving a country - Iraq - and affecting the future of the Middle East and West. But I guess it's too much to ask a sports columnist to understand that.

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