Monday, May 12, 2008

I’m a peace man


In advance of his trip to the Middle East, Bush was interviewed today by the BBC Arabic service (link to video).

WHAT IT’S HARD FOR GEORGE TO DO: “It’s hard for me to get inside Hezbollah’s head.”

WHAT HEZBOLLAH WOULD BE WITHOUT IRANIAN SUPPORT: “Hezbollah would be nothing without Iranian support.”

WHAT PRIME MINISTER SINIORA IS: “a good guy.”

WHAT JENNA’S HUSBAND IS: “a good guy.”

WHAT THE BBC ARABIC INTERVIEWER IS: “a good man.”

WHAT GAZA IS: “Gaza’s unacceptable.”

WHAT IRAN IS: “a serious threat to peace.”

WHAT HE GOT HAS FOR THE PALESTINIANS: “I got a good message for the people of the Palestinian territories.” And I’m sure they’re looking forward to it.


He was also interviewed by Al Arabiya, whose interviewer asked why he’d done nothing to come to the aid of the Siniora government. Bush responded, “Well, I don’t think it’s an accurate description that the United States hasn’t stayed in contact with him, has listened to him, has listened to his requests,” although the question was about actual help, not, you know, just listening. “I mean, we’re in contact with him a lot.”

WHAT THE LEBANESE ARMED FORCE IS: “The Lebanese armed force is pretty good. They’re not great yet, but they’re pretty good.”

WHAT THE ARAB WORLD NEEDS TO DO: “And I think the Arab world needs to support [Siniora] stronger, and I think the Arab world needs to make it clear to the Iranians and Syrians that allow this good man to govern his country without interference.”

WHAT GEORGE IS: “I’m a peace man.”

WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP ON THE TABLE: “Obviously, look, I believe that using the military as a last option is important to keep on the table.”

WHAT HE WOULD HOPE: “But I would hope that we -- through better policy that we would create the conditions -- that we would not create the conditions that would enable another war inside Lebanon.”

WHAT WE’RE TRYING/NOT TRYING: “And we’re trying to stand with our friend -- not trying -- we are standing with our friend, Siniora.”

WHAT SHOULDN’T NECESSARILY BE READ: “So it’s a very complicated process, and I don’t think necessarily not having a trilateral meeting [between Bush, Abbas and Olmert] should be read as anything other than that it just didn’t work out.”

WHAT THE PARTS OF THE PLAN ARE: “Well, part of the plan is for people to see a better life. And the other part of the plan is for there to be a clearly defined state so it’s no longer just a two-state solution; it’s ‘here’s what the borders will look like, here’s how we’re going to deal with the refugees, here’s how we’re going to deal with the different, complicated issues,’ so people could actually see and analyze, do I want this, or do I want what’s happening in Gaza, for example? And given that choice, I’m confident, having met a lot of Palestinians and know the Palestinians fairly well, about how people just want peace.” He thinks he knows the Palestinians fairly well. Because he’s met a lot of them.

WHAT THE PALESTINIANS WANT: “Look, the Palestinians are very entrepreneurial people. They know how to make a good living, and that’s all they want.” That, and the Israel-not-killing-them thing.

WHAT’S ALWAYS A PLEASURE: “Well, first of all, His Majesty [Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah], it’s always a pleasure to be in his company.”

WHAT HIS ADVICE TO THE NEXT PRESIDENT WOULD BE: “Take the Middle East seriously because that’s the center of -- that’s the place where people get so despondent and despair that they’re willing to come and take lives of U.S. citizens.”

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