Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The trip really is to remind people that we care


Bush gave another pre-Latin-American-tour interview, with CNN En Español (funny, there isn’t a Fox En Español, is there?), in which he made it clear that what he really wants if for the citizens of those countries to thank him for his munificence. He said that American aid to Latin America has doubled under him, “and most of that aid is social justice money.” I’ll leave it to someone else to figure out how much of that increase actually went to Colombia, the largest recipient of US aid in the region, so that it’s right-wing-death-squad-associated government (in yesterday’s interview, Bush said that Uribe is doing a “fabulous” job) to fight rebels under the guise of fighting drug production. The problem is, according to His Chimpyness, “And yet, we don’t get much credit for it. And I want the taxpayers, I want the American people to get credit for their generosity in Central and South America.” He returned to that point several times: “The trip really is to remind people that we care.” “And it’s in our interest that we promote those ties, and we promote -- and I remind people about the generosity of our country.”

He said about one American woman’s time with our neighbors to the south, “her example is what America is all about.” That woman, of course, is Jenna Bush. She’s writing a book, you know. Evidently, Jenna is “deeply concerned about alienationists in our world.” I have no idea what that means. Anyone?

On other matters, Bush was asked about Scooter Libby (at first I wrote “Bush was asked about Scooter,” and then went back and added “Libby” in the interests of clarity, like there are any number of Scooters he might be asked about. On the other hand, it’s possible that every third person in Skull and Bones was called Scooter). He said, “On a personal note, I was sad. I was sad for a man who had worked in my administration, and particularly sad for his family.” He must have been sad (past tense, you’ll notice): he used the word three times.

What doesn’t seem to make him sad is the treatment of wounded American service members. Asked what he would say to veterans screwed over at Walter Reed, he whittered on about the Dole-Shalala commission and how there are “fantastic doctors and nurses and healers” and so on, but he didn’t really seem to have anything he wanted to say to the soldiers – “I’m sorry we let you down” might have been nice. I’ve been reminded of a visit he made at the start of last year to Brooke Army Medical Center. My blog post on the visit showed him having a fine old time and joking about a scratch he had on his forehead from “combat with a cedar.” I didn’t know until later that he’d just been visiting amputees.

Why did he say he was going to Central and South America, again? Oh yes, “I bring a message of hope, a message that says we care about the human condition”.

His is an outsider’s perspective on that condition.

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