Tuesday, January 16, 2007

We still have a chance to move beyond the broken egg

Amsterdam will soon get a bronze statue of a prostitute. According to the Dutch news agency ANP, “The statue represents a self-assured woman, her hands on her hips, looking sideways towards the sky, and standing on a doorstep”. ANP also says that “The precise place where the statue will be laid and its title have not yet been announced”.

Speaking of bronze prostitutes, Bush was interviewed on McNeil-Lehrer today. He says the Iraqi regime “fumbled” the recent hangings – yup, they really dropped the severed head ball on that one – and said this reinforced doubts that the Maliki government “is a serious government. ... this is a government that has still got some maturation to do.” Boy, when George W. Bush accuses you of being immature...

He said that Saddam’s execution “looked like it was kind of a revenge killing,” but on the other hand, he said (because Bush likes to see the bright side of executions) that it “closed a terrible chapter... In other words, there’s people that were around Iraq saying, well, I think he may come back. And that obviously is not going to happen.” Given Bush’s track record in predicting events in Iraq, I’m expecting Zombie Saddam to show up right about now.

He says if we “don’t crack this now,” “the violence will spiral out of control.” Yeah, imagine what that would be like. And if that were to happen, the spiraling thing, “it will embolden Iran; it will provide safe haven for Sunni killers”. Yeah, why should Sunni killers be the only people in Iraq to have safe haven?

There was an odd exchange:

LEHRER: Just today, another 35 people were killed in bombings; 80 over the weekend.

BUSH: Yeah, there is a difference between - look, death is terrible - but remember, some of these bombings are done by al-Qaida and their affiliates, all trying to create doubt and concern and create these death squads or encourage these death squads to roam neighborhoods. And it’s going to be hard to make Baghdad zero - to make it bomb-proof, blather blather blather...

What point was he trying to make here? A difference between what and what? Clearly, he believes there’s some “difference” we should “remember” that somehow mitigates these 115 deaths, but I don’t get it.

Asked if he has any feeling of personal failure, he sidesteps the “personal” part, and just says that failure in Iraq would be bad and that he is “frustrated with the progress.” You’ll notice that in just four sentences, failure turned into progress, although progress whose pace he is frustrated with. Why, “If you were to take it and put me in an opinion poll and said do I approve of Iraq, I’d be one of those that said, no, I don’t approve of what’s taking place in Iraq.” Boy, no wonder he doesn’t pay any attention to opinion polls.

Says “No question, 2006 was a lousy year for Iraq.”

Asked how success will be measured, says “A success means a Baghdad that is, you know, relatively calm compared to last year”. Dare to dream, Mr. President, dare to dream.

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON DRUGS: Jim Lehrer asked if Iraq was like a broken egg that we’re now saying the Iraqis should put back together. Bush responded that Iraq is a cracked egg, not a broken egg, “where we still have a chance to move beyond the broken egg... and you know, if I didn’t believe we could keep the egg from fully cracking, I wouldn’t ask 21,000 kids - additional kids to go into Iraq to reinforce those troops that are there.”

He says he’s “spent a lot of time during my presidency talking to the American people and educating the American people about the stakes and what we’re trying to get done.” Does anyone actually feel more educated, more knowledgeable after listening to Bush speak? I just feel like I’ve been struck on the head with a ball-peen hammer, and I need to lie down.

Caption contest. The first picture is “Bush helping paint a mural at a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday volunteer day at a high school in Washington.”

The second is Bush with the St. Louis Cardinals, who I’m told are a baseball team which won some sort of contest.

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