Monday, August 21, 2006

Bush press conference: disasters, objectives, strained psyches, what good, decent people say, and what we won’t do so long as he’s the president

Bush held a press conference today. He praised himself for giving humanitarian aid to Lebanon, which he called “disaster relief,” as if it was hit by a flood or an earthquake rather than American-made munitions.

Actually, I think he may simply have forgotten just what “disaster” it is that happened to Lebanon, since he also accused Iran and Syria of “working to thwart the efforts of the Lebanese people to break free from foreign domination and build their own democratic future.” He seems to think that the only foreign domination Lebanon has had to contend with recently has been by Iran and Syria.

WILL THIS BE ON THE FINAL? Asked if Iran’s influence in “the region,” meaning Lebanon, is growing, Bush says, “The final history in the region has yet to be written.” Final history? That sounds pretty ominous. “They sponsor Hezbollah. They encourage a radical brand of Islam. Imagine how difficult this issue would be if Iran had a nuclear weapon.” Er, how would the one affect the other? And would it have anything to do with that “final history”?

OBJECTIVELY SPEAKING: Bush has been very big on the word “objectives” for a while now. Just in this presser, he said that the US has a plan to help the Iraqis achieve their objectives, that we should help Middle Eastern reformers achieve their objectives, that a UN force will help the Lebanese government achieve “some objectives,” that in relation to Iran’s nuclear program, “we will work with people in the Security Council to achieve that objective, and the objective is that there’s got to be a consequence for them basically ignoring what the Security Council has suggested through resolution.” Also, the terrorists “want to achieve objectives.”

YA THINK? “Obviously, I wish the violence would go down, but not as much as the Iraqi citizens would wish the violence would go down.”

The key sentence was the announcement that we’ll be occupying Iraq at least until January 2009: “We’re not leaving, so long as I’m the President.”

He says that politicians who disagree with that policy are good, decent people who are undercutting our national security and betraying our troops for political gain: “This is a campaign -- I’m sure they’re watching the campaign carefully. There are a lot of good, decent people saying, get out now; vote for me, I will do everything I can to, I guess, cut off money is what they’ll try to do to get our troops out.”

Our old friend Sum has been expressing unlikely opinions about terrorists again: “Now, I recognize some say that these folks are not ideologically bound. I strongly disagree. I think not only do they have an ideology, they have tactics necessary to spread their ideology.” Chimpy may just be stringing words and phrases together in a random order, but I think he just said that terrorism is an effective means of persuading people to believe in an ideology.

Sum’s cousin Sumbody has also been talking: “And somebody said, well, this is law enforcement. No, this isn’t law enforcement, in my judgment.”

On whether the violence in Iraq is now mostly sectarian, i.e., a civil war: “No, al Qaeda is still very active in Iraq. As a matter of fact some of the more -- I would guess, I would surmise that some of the more spectacular bombings are done by al Qaeda suiciders.” I suppose it’s an improvement that when he has no evidence, he now admits he’s just making stuff up.

On Lebanon: “You can’t have a democracy with an armed political party willing to bomb its neighbor without the consent of its government, or deciding, well, let’s create enough chaos and discord by lobbing rockets.” That’s from the Federalist Papers, right?

On Iraq: “Leaving before the job is done would be a disaster, and that’s what we’re saying.” There’s that word again.

Asked about reports that he expressed frustration about the lack of gratitude of the Iraqi people: “Frustrated? Sometimes I’m frustrated. Rarely surprised. Sometimes I’m happy. This is -- but war is not a time of joy. These aren’t joyous times. These are challenging times, and they’re difficult times, and they’re straining the psyche of our country. I understand that.” But “if we ever give up the desire to help people who live in freedom, we will have lost our soul as a nation, as far as I’m concerned.” So we’re straining our psyche but not losing our soul.

Speaking of strained psyches:

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