Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Bush press conference: I stand by the figure a lot of innocent people have lost their life


Bush held a press conference this morning.


The problem with North Korea is that it also has a Decider: “And my point to you is that it’s the intransigence of the North Korean leader that speaks volumes about the process. It is his unwillingness to choose a way forward for this country -- a better way forward for his country. It is his decisions.”

But Bush is responding with strong, aggressive... phone calls: “And I thank the leaders of -- listen, when I call them on the phone, we’re strategizing.” “And so in my phone calls that I recently made right after the test I lamented the fact that he had tested to Hu Jintao and also lamented the fact that Hu Jintao had publicly asked him not to test.” Er, what?

And more phone calls: “I talked to the South Korean president, and I said, It ought to be clear to us now that we must continue to work together to make it abundantly clear to the leader in North Korea that there’s a better way forward; when he walks away from agreement he’s not just walking away from the table with the United States as the only participant. He’s walking away from a table that others are sitting at.” Maybe he just had to pee.


On Iraq: “There are extreme elements that use religion to achieve objectives.”

For weeks he’s been talking about “achieving objectives” constantly. 10 times in this press conference alone. Another: “And one way to make sure that we’re able to achieve our objective is to have other people join us in making it clear to North Korea that they share that objective.”


“I like to tell people we’re in an ideological struggle.” That’s nice; everyone should have a hobby.

“And I firmly believe that with North Korea -- and with Iran -- that it is best to deal with these regimes with more than one voice.” Yes, if the Edward G. Robinson voice doesn’t work, try the Clint Eastwood voice. Although I understand Kim Jong Il likes Daffy Duck, so that might be worth a try.

Using one of his voices, he explains the diplomatic process: “Because I understand how it works. What ends up happening is that, you know, we say to a country such as North Korea, Here’s a reasonable way forward. They try to extract more at the negotiating table or they’ve got a different objective. And then they go and say, Wait a minute; the United States is being unreasonable. They make a threat. They could -- you know, they say the world is about to fall apart because of the United States’s problem. And, all of a sudden, we become the issue.”


He rejects as not “a credible report” the study which says that 655,000 Iraqis have died since the invasion (he says the report has been out before and its methodology is discredited, which I take to mean that he’s confusing it with the earlier, unrelated Lancet study), adding, “I am, you know, amazed that this is a society which so wants to be free that they’re willing to -- you know, that there’s a level of violence that they tolerate.” Asked whether he still stands by his own guestimate some time back of 30,000 dead civilians, Bush says, “I, you know, I stand by the figure a lot of innocent people have lost their life.”

Says Democratic assertions that they plan to raise taxes only on the rich are “just codeword.” At least, according to his Karl Rove Secret Decoder Ring.

On Mark Foley, he implies, I think for the first time, a Democratic plot (a response Will Durst describes as the best defense being a ludicrous offense): “You know, we want to make sure what we understand what Republicans knew and what Democrats knew in order to find the facts.”

Says the border is difficult to close: “I don’t know if you’ve ever been down there. But it’s a pretty vast part of the country down there.”

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