The anti-war media has used its reporting to continue its opposition to the war.

The latest meme (I’m beginning to talk like The Other Charlotte): Even the Bush administration doesn’t believe we can win.

The line was first officially trotted out with a Washington Post story by Robin Wright with the headline, “U.S. Lowers Sights on What Can Be Achieved in Iraq.”

Mickey Kaus of Kausfiles‘s reading of the article shows that Wright got it wrong. It deserves to be quoted in toto:

“Am I the only person who found it thin and unconvincing? When I read, in Wright’s lede, that the ‘Bush administration is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved in Iraq,’ I expect to see a depressing Kerry-like acceptance of a post-pullout stable military autocracy or acceptance of an Iran-style religious state–something that would really suggest that the invasion wasn’t close to being worth the costs.

“Instead, Wright tells us: 1) What we already knew–there’s not enough electricity or security and unemployment is very high. Damage from looting has hurt the ability to quickly build a ‘robust’ Iraqi economy; 2) Oil production is ‘estimated at 2.2 million barrels a day, short of the goal of 2.5 million’! 3) the constitution will “require laws to be compliant with Islam,” as if that vague requirement automatically means something horrible; 4) Kurds and Shiites are expecting ‘de facto long term’ some sort of autonomy. (That’s a bad thing?) 5) We don’t expect to ‘fully defeat the insurgency’ before our troops leave. … There are also some downbeat, non-specific quotes from critics like Larry Diamond–who laments that we ‘don’t have the time to go through the process we envisioned … to build a democratic culture and consensus.’

“And there’s one anonymous ‘U.S. official’ who says ‘we will have some form of Islamic republic.’ But there’s no indication that this ‘Islamic republic’ won’t be democratic–e.g. that it will be de facto ruled by mullahs as opposed to elections. [Isn’t the United Kingdom ‘a Christian monarchy with a state church’–reader T.N. That’s Robin Wright’s next piece: ‘Magna Carta Failing to Achieve Initial Expectations.’] … P.S.:  I’m not saying the Bushies haven’t drastically lowered their expectations recently. I’m saying Wright doesn’t show it. … P.P.S.: Wright also notes, without irony, that Iraq is ‘incapable of providing enough refined fuel amid a car-buying boom that has put an estimated 1 million more vehicles on the road.’ [Emph. added] A ‘car-buying boom’–another shocking failure! Don’t they know about global warming? …”

The latest to use the Bush-lowers-expectations meme was the Wall Street Journal yesterday. Tony Blankley comments:

“In Tuesday’s Wall St. Journal, reporters Farnaz Fassihi and Christopher Cooper wrote the phrase: ‘Mr. Bush and others have stopped talking so much of an outright victory in Iraq as they focus on plans to train Iraqi soldiers … so American troops can come home.’

“I guess they didn’t read President Bush’s radio speech from three days earlier where he said, in referring to our troops who had died in Iraq: “Now we must finish the task that our troops have given their lives for and honor their sacrifice by completing their mission. We can be confident in the ultimate triumph of our cause because we know that freedom is the future of every nation and that the side of freedom is the side of victory.’
“They surely must have missed the lead of a June 30th Washington Post article that read: ‘… President Bush confidently predicts victory in Iraq.’

“And they couldn’t have heard the speech President Bush was making yesterday (as they presumably were writing their article) that we must ‘… win and fight — fight and win.’

“The Wall St. Journal version of reality is of a piece with the liberal journalists I debate on radio and television. They are keeping up a constant drumbeat of not only their own defeatism but the regular suggestion that President Bush also has stopped calling for victory in Iraq.”

And why does this media misrepresentation matter?

“These mischaracterizations of the president’s view on victory are important, because public support of the war is largely based on an expectation of victory,” writes Blankley.