I mean, seriously, wow.
Did you hear Bush say that at the press conference this morning? Did your jaw drop like mine?
That one stood out... a rare burst of candor, an acknowledgment of the real reasons for this tragedy we're in. The unwitting truth was conspicuous in an hour filled with terrifyingly stubborn and stupid lies, with a petulant refusal to address the illegal conduct of three members of his Administration, with a blind ignorance of the realities in Iraq, and with a sickening arrogance more fitting to a child-King than to a President.
Still, there were other moments worth noting:
"People have to see tangible results in their lives. They have to see something better. They not only have to feel secure where they live, but they've got to see positive things taking place."
That was Bush defining success in Iraq, and describing a contentment that no Americans enjoy.
He went on to describe his vision of a free Iraq in specific terms. Read these and think about how much you wish we had these things in America:
"... a government that is bound by a constitution, where the country feels relatively secure as a result of a security force that is even-handed in its application of security; a place where the vast resources of the country -- this is a relatively wealthy country, in that they've got a lot of hydrocarbons -- is shared equally amongst people; that there is a federalism that evolves under the Constitution where the local provinces have got authority as well; and where people who may have made a political decision in the past and yet weren't criminals can participate in the life of the country...In other words, that there is a bulwark for moderation, as opposed to a safe haven for extremism."
Honestly, how does anyone in the room keep from laughing out loud when Bush says things like this? If he loves these principles so much, can we get them here?
"People want to live in peace; they want to grow up in a peaceful environment. And the decision I made is going to help the Iraqi government do that."
The decision he made four years ago? Not so much. Polls show that most Iraqis feel Bush's decisions have turned their country into a giant psycho clusterfuck. I think when given a choice between a democratic government and having electricity while not being bombed, most people would go with the "electricity/no bomb" thing.
And as I've said before: Attacking another country, without the backing of other nations, and causing massive destruction simply because you hate their leaders and want to make their way of life more like your own? That's not just what George Bush did. It's also what Osama Bin Laden did.
(By the way, whenever you hear Bush or Cheney say how unfair it is that everyone focuses on the mayhem in Baghdad, and ignores the relative peace in outlying provinces? What if, after 9/11, Bin Laden said, "Hey, sure there are isolated pockets of destruction. But the people in, say, Georgia and Indiana and Rhode Island live in peace and prosperity. What's the big deal?" Would you have been okay with that? I sure wouldn't.)
Here is another moment that had me gagging on my oatmeal, this one regarding the "surge" and the non-binding resolution...
"...which opposes our new plan in Iraq before it has a chance to work. People are prejudging the outcome of this."
"Prejudging outcomes" has another name: "planning." In a room filled with gasoline, it would not be overly prejudgmental to deny "match-lighting" a chance to work.
But perhaps the president was saying that people were merely having a kneejerk reaction, dismissing something in advance, deciding against all reason that it's not worth trying. That this "it'll fail, so why try?" attitude is sickening.
In other words, exactly what he does when he refuses to engage in face-to-face talks with Iran:
"If I thought we could achieve success, I would sit down. But I don't think we can achieve success right now."
Prejudging outcomes before they have a chance to work, anyone?
But hold onto your hat for this one, regarding the unproven assertion that the Iranian Quds force is providing IED's to Iraq:
"What we don't know is whether or not the head leaders of Iran ordered the Quds force to do what they did. But here's my point: Either they knew or didn't know, and what matters is, is that they're there. What's worse, that the government knew or that the government didn't know?"
Ooh! Ooh! Pick me! I know, as does any multicelled creature: It's worse if the government ordered it. Isn't it?
But no. Bush feels it's six of one.
Holy Schnikes. I don't know whether the Quds did or didn't do this, or who told them to do it. But this is some freaked-out doctrine. This is a very dangerous precedent to set.
Let's say a bunch of rogue American mercenaries or militia nutjobs, without consulting anyone and without authority, go wreak havoc in another country. If the President demonstrably didn't authorize it, would that other country still be justified in bombing the U.S.?
And what about the Saudis, supplying the Iraqis with shoulder-launched rockets, the better to shoot down our helicopters with? Or our own Pentagon, which was selling F-14 parts to Iran until two weeks ago??? WTF??
But the President's message to Iran was boiled down to one inspiring passage. A passage which could have come out of any European newspaper article about the United States:
"The message to the Iranian people is that your leaders are making decisions that are isolating you in the world, thereby denying you a brighter future. And I believe Iran is an unbelievably vital nation. It's got a great history, it's got wonderful traditions, it's got very capable, smart people. There is -- I believe there's also a desire to not be isolated from the world. And our policies are all aimed at convincing the Iranian people there's a better way forward, and I hope their government hears that message."
Yes, I hope the American one hears it, too.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007