Monday, January 15, 2007

They wonder whether or not there is a gratitude level that’s significant enough in Iraq


I didn’t see Bush’s 60 Minutes interview because the cable was out and I could only watch one program with the antenna, so I went with “24,” just to see how long it took for the writers to resort to their favorite piece of dialog, “What are you talking about?” Less than five minutes. And again before the end of the hour. I fully expect by the end of the season there will be a scene in which two characters, possibly Jack and Chloe, just repeat “What are you talking about?” over and over while applying electric shocks to each other. It’ll be the highest-rated episode ever.

No, I didn’t say they were naked, that’s just how you pictured it in your filthy, filthy mind.

But there is a transcript of the interview, you’ll be pleased to hear.

Bush said he really did seriously weigh the pros and cons of withdrawing from Iraq, and he takes us step by step through his thought process: “I thought long and hard about would withdrawal cause victory or cause success. And the answer is I don’t believe so, and neither do a lot of experts. And so then I began to think, well, if failure’s not an option and we’ve gotta succeed, how best to do so? And that’s why I came up with the plan I did.” The man uses logic like a scalpel, doesn’t he?

Asked if the instability in Iraq wasn’t caused by, you know, him, Bush said, “Well, our administration took care of a source of instability in Iraq. Envision a world in which Saddam Hussein was rushing for a nuclear weapon to compete against Iran.” Dude, for the 9,000th time: there was no nuclear weapons program.

Asked about the mistakes he admitted in Wednesday’s speech having made, Bush said, “Abu Ghraib was a mistake.” Oops?

Other mistakes? “Using bad language like, you know, ‘bring them on’ was a mistake.” Yeah, but at this stage I don’t think “bad language” even makes it onto the list of your top 100 mistakes, Georgie.

And troops levels, he admits after prompting, “Could have been a mistake.” He says that he referred to mistakes in the speech because he didn’t want anyone blaming the military. “Well, if the people want a scapegoat, they got one right here in me ‘cause it’s my decisions.” Of course just ten seconds before that, when admitting that troops levels could have been a mistake, the Scapegoat-in-Chief subtly slipped in a mention of “John Abizaid, one of the planners. And ten seconds later, asked if there are enough troops there now, he responded, “Let’s let the historians work it out.” My, but that “cause it’s my decisions” thing sure didn’t last long. And it gets worse:

PELLEY: Do you think you owe the Iraqi people an apology for not doing a better job?

BUSH: That we didn’t do a better job or they didn’t do a better job?

PELLEY: Well, that the United States did not do a better job in providing security after the invasion.

BUSH: Not at all. I am proud of the efforts we did. We liberated that country from a tyrant. I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude, and I believe most Iraqis express that. I mean, the people understand that we’ve endured great sacrifice to help them. That’s the problem here in America. They wonder whether or not there is a gratitude level that’s significant enough in Iraq.

PELLEY: Americans wonder whether . . .

BUSH: Yeah, they wonder whether or not the Iraqis are willing to do hard work necessary to get this democratic experience to survive. That’s what they want.



Pelley asked twice “Is Muqtada al-Sadr an enemy of the United States?” Bush sidestepped the question both times: “Anybody who murders innocent people or frustrating the ambitions of the Iraqi people and the United States” ... “If he is ordering his people to kill Americans, he is.”

He also sidestepped on whether Iran’s (alleged) interventions in Iraq amount to an act of war against the United States: “I’m not a lawyer. So act of war is kind of a . . . I’m not exactly sure how you define that. Let me just say it’s unacceptable.” So it’s an act of unacceptability.

Asked what he would tell the Iranian president: “I’d say, first of all, to him, ‘You’ve made terrible choices for your people. ... You’ve threatened countries with nuclear weapons.” He threatened which countries with what nuclear weapons? “‘You’ve said you want a nuclear weapon. You’ve defied international accord.’” Then he’d tell Ahmadinejad, “it’s in your interest to have a unified nation on your border.” Yeah, remember back in the ‘80s when you had a unified nation on your border? Good times, good times.

Bush says he saw “some of” the Saddam snuff film – on the internet! – but didn’t really enjoy it: “I was satisfied when we captured him. I’m just not . . .revenge isn’t necessarily something that causes me to react. In other words, I’m not a revengeful person.”

He says of the Congressional opponents of escalation: “we’ve got people criticizing this plan before it’s had a chance to work.” No, we’ve got people criticizing this plan before it’s had a chance to fail. Which is kind of the right time to be criticizing it.

Asked about the perception that the administration has lied, rather often, to the American people: “The minute we found out they didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, I was the first to say so.”

Asked if he feels let down by his subordinates, he says Cheney’s a “great” veep and Rumsfeld “did a really fine job.” “I feel like this country is blessed to have those kind of people serving.” As they say on “24,” what are you talking about?


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