Thursday, December 07, 2006

Bush & Blair press conference: I talk to families who die


In a press conference with Tony Blair, held in front of a humongous presidential seal, Bush again sort of praised the Iraq Study Group: “I appreciated the fact that they laid out a series of recommendations, and they’re worthy of serious study.” In fact, he’ll study the Study Group’s study, and will do so in his study. Soon loses all meaning, doesn’t it? Study study study study. A whole lot of studying going on for a test I’m pretty sure we flunked more than three years ago. George isn’t doing so well on his book report either, since the only thing he can come up with to say about the ISG report is that it lays out a series of recommendations.
Fellow students, prepare to be dazzled! Well, as Mrs. Krabappel already mentioned, the name of the book that I read was “Treasure Island.” It’s about these... pirates. Pirates... with patches over their eyes... and... shiny gold teeth... and green birds on their shoulders... Did I mention this book was written by a guy named Robert Lewis Stevenson? And published by the good people at McGraw Hill. So, in conclusion, on the Simpson scale of one to ten, ten being the highest, one being the lowest, and five being average, I give this book... a nine.
Indeed, Bush informs us that “a lot of reports in Washington are never read by anybody, but “To show you how important this one is, I read it, and our guest read it. The Prime Minister read -- read a report prepared by a commission. And this is important.” You’ll notice the premise here is that Bush reads so few things that anything he does read he must consider really important. I’m not saying that, Bush himself is saying that.

Bush & Blair, 12.7.06    3

Britain’s own Mrs. Krabappel, Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, must spend these things with an imaginary blue pencil in his head, correcting all Bush’s grammatical errors, like this one: “The increase in sectarian attacks we’re seeing in and around Baghdad are unsettling.” That’s right, Mr. Blair, around here we don’t go in for that namby-pamby, la-di-da subject-verb agreement. Two countries divided by a single, or in Bush’s case half of a, language.

However, though Bush continued to speak shit while Blair spoke shite, Blair did have some difficulty with his arithmetic: “But there are only two ways that the Middle East can go. Its people can either be presented with a choice between a secular or a religious dictatorship, which is not a choice that any free people would ever choose, or alternatively, they can enjoy the same possibilities of democracy that we hold dear in our countries.” Three ways, that’s one, two, three ways.

Bush & Blair, 12.7.06    2

In the q&a, Bush said, “The thing I liked about the Baker-Hamilton report is it discussed the way forward in Iraq.” Yes, and it lays out a series of recommendations. Wasn’t that the whole idea? He sounds like he’s surprised it wasn’t about trout fishing in British Columbia or something.

“Tough” was one of his favorite words today: “I understand how tough it is. And I’ve been telling the American people how tough it is. And they know how tough it is. ... And I have made it abundantly clear how tough it is. ... As you can tell, I feel strongly about making sure you understand that I understand it’s tough.” And so on. After a while, Blair started using it too.

Bush also snapped at a reporter, “It’s bad in Iraq. That help?” Um, not really.

Bush & Blair, 12.7.06    1

Also, e-fricking-nough already of the talk about achieving objectives: he talked with Blair about “the way forward, so we can achieve the objective,” the Baker-Hamilton strategy to “achieve an objective,” helping the Maliki government “achieve the objective,” “do we have a plan to achieve our objective?”, Iran “would be using that nuclear weapon to blackmail to achieve political objectives,” and half a dozen more, by which time, again, copy-cat Blair was using it too.

Just like Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, who said a couple of days ago, “I talk to those who’ve lost their lives, and they have that sense of duty and mission,” Bush had his own Ghost Whisperer moment: “Make no mistake about it, I understand how tough it is, sir. I talk to families who die.”

Bush & Blair, 12.7.06    4

He talks to families who die, but will he talk to Syria and Iran, as the ISG recommended? “[T]hese countries understand our position. They know what’s expected of them. There is -- if we were to have a conversation, it would be this one, to Syria: Stop destabilizing the Siniora government. ... Stop allowing money and arms to cross your border into Iraq. Don’t provide safe haven for terrorist groups. We’ve made that position very clear.” Not so much a “conversation” as an ultimatum, really.

Asked if he could admit his past failures in Iraq, Bush said, “I do know that we have not succeeded as fast as we wanted to succeed. I do understand that progress is not as rapid as I had hoped.” So that’s a “no.”

Bush & Blair, 12.7.06    5

No one asked Bush (or, indeed, Blair) for his reaction to Mary Cheney’s pregnancy, I’m sorry to say.

(Thanks to this site for the Bart quote.)


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