Monday, May 21, 2007

Embracing reconciliation

General David Petraeus issued an open letter (pdf) last week to the Iraqi people. Kneel before me, he said, or I will crush you like worms. Okay he didn’t, and I’ll bet you all guessed that because of the tip-off: you don’t crush worms so much as smoosh them, and as a military commander Petraeus knows which things you crush and which things you smoosh because they teach you that in your first week at military commander school. No, he politely requested that the Iraqis “take an active role in the rebirth of your nation. Choose to reject violence and the sectarianism that fuels it.” I’d be interested in an elaboration of what he means by “sectarianism” and what rejecting it would entail. This is how he seems to define taking an active role in the rebirth of Iraq: “Deny the enemy shelter, report any information you may have regarding his whereabouts, and be proud of and support your nation’s security forces.” He also suggests, twice, that they “embrace reconciliation.” This all may be perfectly sensible advice, I’m just wondering if the head of an army of occupation is really the person to be lecturing on the virtues of rejecting violence and embracing reconciliation.

Speaking of rejecting violence and embracing reconciliation, George Bush held a press conference this morning with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at his ranch in Crawford.

See, that’s why Bush clears all that brush, so that he can hold press conferences in the middle of a field unencumbered by brush.

Bush said the two of them talked about Afghanistan and missile defense and they “had a lovely dinner.”

Hoopty Hoop said that while NATO kills scads of civilians in Afghanistan, “we are not in the same moral category” as the Taleban. So that’s okay then. Bush added that there are civilian deaths in Afghanistan because the Taliban “don’t mind using human shields because they devalue human life.”

Speaking of human shields, Bush said that Alberto Gonzales “has done nothing wrong” and calls the upcoming vote of no confidence in him “political theater,” and in fact “it is this kind of political theater that has caused the American people to lose confidence in how Washington operates.” Everyone’s a critic.

The scary thing is Bubble Boy may actually believe that Congress censuring Gonzales creates more disaffection than, say, Gonzales.

Asked about Jimmy Carter’s criticism of his administration as the worst ever for America’s relations with the world, Bush said, “We’re at war with an enemy that is relentless and determined” and “we must go on the offense against radicals, extremists, murderers in order to protect not only ourselves, but our allies.” So he’s going to hunt down Jimmy Carter. Given that Osama’s still out there, I like Carter’s odds.

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