Saturday, November 18, 2006

The president has been doing a lot of waving

Alberto Gonzales attacks not only the August federal district court ruling against warrantless eavesdropping (update: I have now seen the transcript, and he was actually attacking “some people” who see it as “on the verge of stifling freedom”), but “Its definition of freedom -- one utterly divorced from civic responsibility -- is superficial and is itself a grave threat to the liberty and security of the American people.” So, to review, being secretly spied on is a civic responsibility, freedom is a threat to liberty, and superficial critics of government surveillance fail to grasp the profundity of Freedom 2.0.

The military coup leader in Thailand is claiming support from Bush, because in Hanoi Bush told him he “understands” the situation, called it an “intervention” rather than a coup, and prattled something about understanding the difficult situation Gen. Surayud is in, because Bush is also in a difficult situation thanks to losing the mid-term elections. Which is odd, because his people spent the conference telling everyone who would listen that American foreign policy won’t be affected in the slightest by the elections.

David Sanger of the NYT notes that Bush chose not to see any part of Vietnam that wasn’t adorned with conference tables, floral arrangements and giant busts of Uncle Ho.
Mr. Bush’s national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, conceded that the president had not come into direct contact with ordinary Vietnamese, but said that they connected anyway.

“If you’d been part of the president’s motorcade as we’ve shuttled back and forth,” he said, reporters would have seen that “the president has been doing a lot of waving and getting a lot of waving and smiles.”

He continued: “I think he’s gotten a real sense of the warmth of the Vietnamese people and their willingness to put a very difficult period for both the United States and Vietnam behind them.”
Those Vietnamese must have been doing some very expressive waving, to convey all that.

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