Poster from Micah Wright's Propaganda Remix Project
In the news, refreshing candor from Republican Senator Chuck Hagel about George W Bush's decision to send more troops to Iraq: "I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam if it's carried out," he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Another Republican senator, George Voinovich, told US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice he had lost faith in the president's Iraq policy. "I've gone along with the president on this and I've bought into his dream and at this stage of the game I just don't think it's going to happen," he said.
Meanwhile Democratic senators expect Republicans to join next week in pushing a non-binding resolution through Congress that is critical of Bush's new Iraq policy. If the vote proves successful, Democrats may use their control of Congress to deny funding for Iraq. During the Vietnam War, congressmen used control over spending as leverage to force withdrawal of troops.
Early in February Bush is expected to ask Congress for more "emergency" money to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While prepared to pay for soldiers already in the field, the Democrats could question allocating funds for additional troops.
Alternatively the Democrats could sponsor legislation to re-authorise the war. In 2002, Congress went on record to invade Iraq due to the Bush administration's claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Since no such weapons were found, Democrats might argue a new authorisation for war is required.
Senators expressed their anger Thursday over Bush's speech, as well as charges that he had once again taken his decision alone, undermining the administration's claims to have consulted widely before crafting a new policy.
A Washington Post report noted similarities between the new Iraq strategy and a policy memo produced last November by Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser - a month before the Iraq Study Group produced its report. "The president's speech last night ignored the recommendations of both parties, military leaders and foreign policy experts and the will of the American people," Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold told the foreign relations committee. He urged Congress to cut off funds for the increased troops. "With the president determined to escalate a failed strategy in Iraq, Congress must use its power of the purse to safely bring our brave troops out of Iraq," he noted.
What's he afraid of?
Meanwhile, after the president's speech Wednesday night, the White House broke with tradition, refusing to let photojournalists shoot still pictures of the president at the podium. As a result, newspapers and wire services ran low-quality "frame grabs" from the video of the speech. An official handout photo from the White House, which most news outlets rejected, was the only other option.
Both the Associated Press and Reuters refused to accept the handout photo. They sent their members notices explaining that frame grabs from the White House video pool would be their only photo coverage of the speech.