Sunday, November 21, 2010

Obama press conference at NATO: I understand people’s frustrations

Obama held a press conference following the NATO summit in Portugal.

UNLESS YOU COUNT BRANGELINA: “For more than 60 years, NATO has proven itself as the most successful alliance in history.”

THOSE DARNED SKEPTICS: “At no time during these past six decades was our success guaranteed. Indeed, there have been many times when skeptics have predicted the end of this alliance.” For example, those skeptics skeptically pointed out that the whole reason for the thing ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

WHAT IT IS IMPORTANT FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO REMEMBER: “It is important for the American people to remember that Afghanistan is not just an American battle.” There are also a lot of dead Afghan shepherds.

GROWING THREAT: “we agreed to develop a missile defense capability for NATO territory, which is necessary to defend against the growing threat from ballistic missiles.” Growing threat? What growing threat?

DE-STRAINING ACCOMPLISHED! “The second message I want to send is that after a period in which relations between the United States and Europe were severely strained, that strain no longer exists.”

WHERE’S THE TRUST? WHERE IS THE TRUST? On the “New START” treaty: “And Ronald Reagan said, trust but verify -- we can’t verify right now.”

SO WE DID HAVE AN ENGRAVED INVITATION: Asked whether Karzai saying the US military should stop doing certain things (night-time raids, killing civilians, employing mercenaries) meant that we were in some way obligated to stop doing those things: “Now, to go to the point about President Karzai, we are there are their invitation. You are absolutely correct. Afghanistan is a sovereign nation.” Define sovereign. Define nation.

AN ENTIRELY LEGITIMATE ISSUE: And on the killing of Afghan civilians: “That’s an entirely legitimate issue on the part of President Karzai. He’s the President of a country and you’ve got foreign forces who, in the heat of battle, despite everything we do to avoid it, may occasionally...” Occasionally! “...cause civilian casualties, and that is understandably upsetting.” Nice of you to understand. “I don’t fault President Karzai for raising those issues.” Oh good. “On the other hand...” Oh Christ, he’s going to do an “on the other hand” about the killing of thousands of civilians “...he’s got to understand that I’ve got a bunch of young men and women from small towns and big cities all across America who are in a foreign country being shot at and having to traverse terrain filled with IEDs, and they need to protect themselves. And so if we’re setting things up where they’re just sitting ducks for the Taliban, that’s not an acceptable answer either.”

CONFESSION TIME: “With respect to the TSA, let me, first of all, make a confession. I don’t go through security checks to get on planes these days, so I haven’t personally experienced some of the procedures that have been put in place by TSA.” Nevertheless, “I understand people’s frustrations.” No you don’t. And that could soooo easily be rectified with a little presidential-junk-touching sexytime session at the White House.

WHAT HE’S SAID TO THE TSA: “And what I’ve said to the TSA is that you have to constantly refine and measure whether what we’re doing is the only way to assure the American people’s safety.” But they’re too busy measuring the American people’s collective junk.

“But at this point, TSA, in consultation with our counterterrorism experts, have indicated to me that the procedures that they’ve been putting in place are the only ones right now that they consider to be effective against the kind of threat that we saw in the Christmas Day bombing.” (He used the term “Christmas Day bombing” twice, although in fact it was only an attempted bombing. That said, if Obama wants to refer to that event, he has to use the phrase “underwear bomber” just like every one else.)(I just want to hear Barack Obama say “underwear bomber.”)

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