Thursday, February 23, 2006

We’re allies and we coordinate: Bush talks to Indian and Pakistani reporters

In advance of his trip to India and Pakistan, Bush said Wednesday that he wants a solution to the Kashmir situation “acceptable to both sides.” Later he had to pretend that he meant to say “all sides,” including the, you know, actual Kashmiris. He did this in separate interviews (naturally) with Indian and Pakistani journalists; only the former is on the White House website for some reason. The transcript of the latter is here.

With the Pakistanis, he addressed the Cartoon Wars: “nor do I appreciate the fact that some are... cynically manipulating the anger that some have felt over these cartoons.” I know, cynically manipulating anger, just imagine. Oh, and also: “The nation needs to be closer to the Waltons than the Simpsons.” (George H.W. Bush, 1/27/92)

Finally, someone asked him about Damadola, giving him the opportunity to refuse to say whether he’d ordered a bombing raid inside Pakistan or not, but that if he had....: “We coordinate. We’re allies and we coordinate. Nor do we talk about sensitive anti-terror operations. Of course the United States mourns the loss of innocent life.” There’s no “of course” about it. And what exactly is “sensitive” about it? He’s trying to sound as if he’s protecting legitimate security secrets, but I’m pretty sure the people of Damadola know they’ve been bombed.

Bush has been talking about helping India develop nuclear power plants. The Pakistanis wanted to know why he wasn’t doing the same for them. He said, well maybe later. He did not say, because for 20 years you’ve been selling nuclear technology to everyone and his uncle. An Indian reporter had asked about A.Q. Khan in their interview with Bush, and Bush referred to that “conspiracy,” suddenly realized that he was using a word that implicated his good buddy Musharaf, and altered it to “activities.”

An Indian asked whether he was more comfortable dealing with dictators and monarchs. He pretending they were talking about Queen Elizabeth.

And he was asked (I guess this is the Indian equivalent of boxers or briefs) which he’d rather watch, a cricket match or a Bollywood movie.

Cricket.

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