Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I’m the commander guy

Bush’s veto message on the Iraq spending bill complains: “The Congress should not use an emergency war supplemental to add billions in spending to avoid its own rules for budget discipline and the normal budget process.” Yes, heaven forbid an emergency war supplemental bill avoid the normal budget process.

This morning Bush met with Colombian Warlord Uribe, who he described as “a true democrat, a strong leader, and a friend.”

He said it is “very important for this nation to stand with democracies that protect human rights and human dignity” with, you know, amnesties for his friends in death squads, murders of union leaders, that sort of thing. The way he wants us to stand with Colombia is through a free-trade agreement. “This agreement is good for the United States. It’s good for job-creators, farmers, workers. This agreement is good for Colombia. It’s good for job-creators, and workers, and farmers.” Insert obvious cocaine joke here.

Later he met with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah “Wild Eyes” Saleh. “And we spent a lot of time talking about our mutual desire to bring radicals and murderers to justice.”

In between, he met the Associated General Contractors of America, a group of contractors who are both associated and general. Joe “The Contractor” Lieberman was there. Said Bush, “And I appreciate Senator Joe Lieberman. ... Joe Lieberman is one of these -- I would call him a unique soul who followed his conscience, stood for what he believed in, in the face of a political firestorm. And he proved that if you stand on conviction, the people will follow.” Although they will vote for someone else in the primary.

Said Bush, “I like to be in the room of builders and doers and problem solvers and entrepreneurs.” The associated general contractors, presumably, rather than Holy Joe.

And then he talked about his “new strategy” in Iraq at some length. I have a headache and need to go to my bank and yell at them shortly, so I’ll just quote: “The most important fact about our new strategy, it is fundamentally different from the previous strategy.” “The whole purpose is to secure the capital. My theory is, and it’s a good one, is that if the capital is in chaos, the country can’t -- it’s going to be difficult for the country to survive.” “What’s interesting is, is that the plan, General Petraeus’s plan, is to help build trust. And when you build trust, you end up getting people buying into a centralized government, a unity government, a country that is united.” “it’s important to measure the level of sectarian violence. If the objective is to bring security to the capital, one measurement is whether or not sectarian violence is declining. These measures are really not flashy. In other words, they’re not headline-grabbing measures. They certainly can’t compete with a car bomb or a suicide attack.”

“My attitude is, if murderers run free, it’s going to be hard to convince the people of any society that the government is worth supporting.” “The same bunch that is causing havoc in Iraq were the ones who came and murdered our citizens.”

Once again, he denied the existence of a civil war in Iraq: “The recent attacks are not the revenge killings that some have called a civil war. They are a systematic assault on the entire nation. Al Qaeda is public enemy number one in Iraq. ... For America, the decision we face in Iraq is not whether we ought to take sides in a civil war, it’s whether we stay in the fight against the same international terrorist network that attacked us on 9/11.”

Asked one of a series of not-at-all-prescreened questions (“What do I need to do, what does the media need to do to help you, so that my second cousin, and others like him, have not died or been injured in vain?” “What do you pray about, and how we can we pray for you?”), this one about how we can force the media to run positive stories about Iraq, Bush said that freedom of the press is “just something that we’ve all got to live with”.

He took a stab at defining success in Iraq: “Success is not, no violence. There are parts of our own country that have got a certain level of violence to it. But success is a level of violence where the people feel comfortable about living their daily lives.”

He spoke again against democratic civilian control of the military: “That didn’t make any sense to me, to impose the will of politicians over the recommendations of our military commanders in the field. ... The question is, who ought to make that decision? The Congress or the commanders? And as you know, my position is clear -- I’m the commander guy.”

“Intelligence is important,” he said, possibly ironically. “You have to know in advance that somebody’s getting ready to slide into society and kill innocent in order to achieve an objective.”

I’m with stupid.

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