There is something utterly unseemly about this recent trend in hiring Bush mouthpieces right out of the White House and offering them prime real estate on the editorial pages and pundit perches in the most influential news organizations in the country.

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Until now, I haven’t been able to put my finger on exactly why it bothered me so, or whether my growing indignation was even warranted — It’s not like former speechwriters and flaks don’t naturally gravitate towards media to make a living, or that they aren’t in demand professionally. But after the recent outing of the “message force multipliers,” or ex-military officers recruited by the Pentagon to serve as PR men for the war, things began to gel. It’s becoming clear that former administration tools may be wearing civilian clothes these days, but they are still serving as functionaries of an executive who is still in the White House and still in need of message management . Consider this gush of empty (and rather tired) analysis today from former Bush “scribe” Michael Gerson (who spent half the war in a cushy office on Pennsylvania Avenue, plopping such golden nuggets in the President’s mouth, and is now a columnist for The Washington Post):

From “The Necessary Three Front War”:

“Iraq, while consuming greater sacrifice, is now producing the most encouraging results. Al-Qaeda in Iraq is reeling. U.S. Special Forces in Mosul — a largely Sunni city north of Baghdad — are conducting about eight to 12 missions against al-Qaeda each night. In Baghdad, the surge strategy of securing civilians has dramatically reduced sectarian violence.”

There is something that is just so sad and perverse in the juxtaposition of Gerson’s light prose and the photo on the front page of the same edition of the paper today:

ali hussein

Caption: “Two-year-old Ali Hussein is pulled from the rubble of his family’s home in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq on Tuesday, April 29, 2008. The child, who later died in hospital, was in one of four homes allegedly destroyed by U.S. missiles. More than two dozen people were killed when Shiite militants ambushed a U.S. patrol in Baghdad’s embattled Sadr City district, bringing the death toll in area on Tuesday to more than 30, a U.S. military spokesman and Iraqi officials said. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)”

Here’s the full story

Gerson photo credit: USA Today (2001)