Tuesday, December 05, 2006

What Americans are trying to figure out is why Iraqis are killing Iraqis when you have a better future ahead

Fiji has indeed had a coup. As is the custom, Australia was asked to send troops to prevent it and, as is the custom, it refused. An interesting sidebar: Fiji is a COW (Coalition of the Willing) country. What happens to its troops, currently helping bring democracy to Iraq?

By the way, I misread the title of the coup leader: he’s Commodore Bananarama, not Commander Bananarama. I’m not sure any coup has been instigated by a commodore before, although there was a flight lieutenant (Ghana).

According to the Guardian, Iran’s President Ahmadinejad is under attack from, how shall I put this gently, the religious loons who normally back him, because he attended the opening ceremonies of the Asian Games, which featured women singing and dancing, and he did not immediately run from the stadium (he claims he had already left).

Yesterday, Bush met with Abdul-Aziz Al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). I’m not sure if his chair was facing the Christmas tree, and if so whether he was more put off by the tree or by the expression on Sadly Hadley’s face (possibly Hakim had just told him that Santa isn’t real?).

Bush said afterwards, “I told His Eminence that I was proud of the courage of the Iraqi people.” Proud? Like he’s responsible in some way for that courage? Granted, he is responsible for the need for courage.

Later, Bush told Fox News, “what Americans are trying to figure out is why Iraqis are killing Iraqis when you have a better future ahead.” Yes, that’s exactly what Americans are trying to figure out.

In a speech later in the day, Hakim also took a position against Iraqis killing Iraqis, calling instead for Americans to kill Iraqis (Sunni Iraqis, of course): “The strikes they are getting from the multinational forces are not hard enough to put an end to their acts.” He made this speech to the US Institute for Peace.

In that Fox interview, Bush praised Maliki: “I think he is -- I know he is prepared to take on the fact that there are murderers inside that society. What I’m looking for is somebody that says, a society in which murder and assassination takes place is not acceptable, regardless of who’s doing it. And I absolutely believe that the prime minister and Mr. Hakim are committed to ending murder. The hard work is to get it done, particularly when you have outside influences like al Qaeda stirring up sectarian violence, these suiciders are spectacular death.”

Bush praised John Bolton for choosing “to leave gracefully”. Who says “this business about graceful exit just simply has no realism to it at all”? Bush blamed “the shallow politics of the Senate”. He also portrayed Rumsfeld’s resignation as entirely Rummy’s decision after the two of them had “a very heart-to-heart.” Adding, “One thing about Don Rumsfeld is he understood mistakes.”

Asked again whether Iraq is in a civil war: “Listen, I’ve heard a lot of voices say that. And I’ve talked to people there in Iraq who don’t believe that’s the case. For example, some would argue that the fact that 90 percent of the country -- let me just say this -- most of the country outside of the Baghdad area, is relatively peaceful, doesn’t indicate a civil war as far as they’re concerned. And by the way, I get briefings all the time about where the level of violence is and the American people I think would be interested to know, most of it occurs around the Baghdad area. And therefore they don’t get to see, kind of the normalcy of life outside of the Baghdad area.”

Once again denied that his father was bailing him out, says he didn’t even tell him in advance that he’d be appointing Gates. Also, he just knows more stuff than his father: “Listen, I love my dad. But he understands what I know, that the level of information I have relative to the level of information most other people have, including himself, is significant and that he trusts me to make decisions.”

Speaking of that level of information, he described both the Rumsfeld memo and the Baker Commission report and so on as “advice documents.” “It’s very hard for me to, you know, prejudice one report over another. They’re all important.” Although the one he asked the Pentagon to write, to counter the Baker report, may just be that little bit more important.

He said that he “feels” that people are praying for him. Not that he knows it because people say they’re praying for him, but actually feels it. “Because the load is not heavy, I guess is the best way to describe it. Look, somebody said to me, prove it. I said, you can’t prove it. All I can tell you is I feel it. And it’s a remarkable country when millions pray for me and Laura. So therefore I am able to say to people that this is a joyful experience. Not a painful experience.” So glad he’s enjoying himself.

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