Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bush press conference: And the reason I’m confident we’ll succeed in Iraq is because the Iraqis want to succeed in Iraq


Caught some of Chimpy’s press conference, which, with the normal press room still under construction, was held in the Hideous Yellow Drapes Room of the White House. No transcript yet available, just my notes, so let’s wing it. (Update: transcript.)

Iraq is “tough for a reason.” There’s a significant difference between benchmarks and a timetable, evidently. The former is so Iraqis know “when are you gonna get this done.” One benchmark will be when the Iraqi troops are able to drive themselves. He did say he wouldn’t put more pressure on the Iraqi government than it could bear. Isn’t that what religious types tell people at funerals that God wouldn’t do to them?


He said something about convincing Iraqis that a civil war would be “not worth the effort.” (Update: “It’s one of the missions, is to work with the Maliki government to make sure that there is a political way forward that says to the people of Iraq, It’s not worth it. Civil war is not worth the effort -- by them.”) A question on what we would do in the event of a civil war was rejected as “hypothetical.” He told the reporters that he could see how people would think Iraq was in bad shape when they “watch your tv screens,” but reminded us that 90% of the – and he actually used this word – “action” takes place in just 5 provinces.

Ah, now I’ve got a partial transcript from CNN. The best bits all seem to have been before I tuned in. “We must not look at every success of the enemy as a mistake on our part, cause for an investigation or a reason to call for our troops to come home.” Notice how he slipped in the bit about no need for an investigation.

Bush’s attempt to formulate a Zen koan: “And the reason I’m confident we’ll succeed in Iraq is because the Iraqis want to succeed in Iraq.”


He explains that the Iraq war is different from World War II, but his grasp on what exactly World War II was seems a bit tenuous: “We were facing a nation state -- two nation states -- three nation states in World War II.” Also, WW II was easy: “We were able to find an enemy by locating its ships or aircraft or soldiers on the ground.”



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