Thursday, July 19, 2007

And they are an enemy and they’re real and they’re active

From the Pentagon’s website we learn today that 1) reports of civilian casualties in Afghanistan are often exaggerated, according to Gen. Dan McNeill, 2) they claim to have captured the highest-ranking Iraqi in Al Qaida in Iraq, one Khalid Abdul Fatah Daud Mahmud al-Mashadani, gotten a complete statement out of him in under two weeks using only kindness and Hostess Twinkies, in which he confessed that AQI is a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham, a mere shell behind which lurk foreign puppet-masters. Why, they even invented a wholly fictitious Iraqi head of AQI, Umar al Baghdadi, to fool Iraqis and members of the Democratic Party into believing that AQI is a nationalist organization rather than being precisely the same people who attacked the United States on September 11th. Well, this should be a, how do we put it, moment of clarity.

Rhode Island Governor Don Carcieri vetoed a bill which would have required insurance policies to cover infertility treatment for unmarried people. “As a matter of public policy, the state should be encouraging the birth of children to two-parent families, not the reverse,” he said in his veto message. Wouldn’t the reverse be children giving birth to two-parent families? Lesbians and other unmarried infertile people will still presumably pay the same amount as others for policies that cover less. Health insurance is supposed to be about health, not “morality.”

Bush gave a speech at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville. He was met at the airport by Joe Downs, who had his legs blown off by an IED in Iraq.

Said Bush, “We’re going to get him some new legs, and if he hurries up, he can outrun me on the South Lawn of the White House.”

Life is very simple for George, because every single problem has the same solution: “We were confronted -- this administration has confronted some difficult economic times, particularly earlier in this administration. There was a recession. There were the terrorist attacks that affected the economy in a very direct way. There were corporate scandals which created some thousand -- uncertainty about our system that needed to be corrected. And we responded to those problems by cutting taxes.”

WAIT, I’M PRETTY SURE IT STARTS WITH AN E. ELEPHANT? ESOPHAGUS? “They ought not to be trying to slip special spending measures in there without full transparency and full debate -- those are called entitlements.”

He explained the “interesting relationship between the President and the Congress.” Not surprisingly, he got it wrong: “The President [sic] has got the right to initiate spending bills -- and they do; they’ve got the right to decide how much money is spent. And I’ve got the right to accept whether or not the amount of money they spend is the right amount. [CONDESCENSION ALERT! CONDESCENSION ALERT!] That’s what’s called the veto.”

Over the course of the meeting, Bush found many, many things “interesting,” among them: the “interesting problem” of immigration, his friendship with Koizumi, this “interesting time” at the beginning of the “long ideological struggle,” the “interesting management challenges” in the Department of Homeland Security. Also: “What’s interesting about the world in which we live, there’s no question there’s the electronic media that people watch, but there’s also the blogosphere”. “The interesting thing about this fight in Iraq is that the families and the troops have got a really different view, in many ways, than a lot of other folks do”. “I’ll tell you something interesting in meeting with the families of the fallen. I get all kinds of opinions, of course. But one of the most universal opinions I get is one, I’m proud of my son; two, he was a volunteer; and three, do not let his life be in vain, Mr. President, you complete the mission.” “See, one of the interesting things about this war I forgot to tell you is, unlike, say, the Vietnam War, that if we fail in Iraq, the enemy won’t be content to stay there.” And finally, this very Q&A session was an “interesting exchange.”

Answering a question on immigration (the only half-way critical questions were on that issue), he said, “Some say, well, force Americans to do the jobs they’re unwilling to do.” Okay, who are the people who want to repeal the 13th Amendment? I want names.

ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: “We have been a fabulous country when it comes to assimilating people. ... So the question people say is, well, certain people can’t assimilate. ... We must never lose faith in our capacity for people to assimilate.”

A WHOLE LOT OF SWEARING: “people ask me, are these really al Qaeda? Well, they have sworn allegiance to Osama bin Laden; what else are they?” “But I want to remind our fellow citizens that much of the violence they’re seeing on their TV screens in Iraq is perpetuated by the very same people that came and killed 3,000 of our citizens. People sworn [CONDESCENSION ALERT! CONDESCENSION ALERT!] – not the exact same person; those are dead who got on the airplanes – but they have sworn allegiance to Osama, just like the killers in Iraq have sworn allegiance to Osama bin Laden.”

“The enemy, by the way, defines success as, can they pull off a car bombing. If we ever allow ourselves to get in a position where it’s ‘no car bombings, therefore we’re successful,’ we’ve just handed these killers a great victory.”

“So there’s a province called Anbar province... where al Qaeda had declared its intention to really drive us out and establish a safe haven, with the declared intention of spreading -- using it as a base to spread their ideology throughout the Middle East, as well as a safe haven from which to make sure that they inflict enough pain on us that we actually help them by leaving. I know this is farfetched for some Americans to think that people think this way; this is the nature of the enemy. And they are an enemy and they’re real and they’re active.” What do you mean, farfetched for Americans that people think this way? Occupying a geographic region, spreading an ideology throughout the Middle East, inflicting pain on the enemy, isn’t that your plan? Anyway, he says that “it turns out that many people in Anbar hate violence.” Who knew? But “they may distrust their central government because it’s new.” Yeah, that’s why they distrust the Maliki regime, it’s newness. (In the referendum, by the way, Anbar voted against the constitution 96.9%.)

He said he decided “it just wasn’t the right decision” to send troops into Darfur unilaterally (he gave no reason why it wasn’t the right decision – actually, has he ever?), and so it requires international collaboration, but only the US has called what’s going on there genocide. But it’s not like we’ve done nothing: “we have put serious economic sanctions on three individuals” and “sanctioned” some companies. “In other words, we’re trying to be consequential. We’re trying to say that, you know, change, or there’s consequences.” If someone’s keeping a list of words Bush doesn’t know the meaning of, add “consequential.”

And sharp-eyed readers will have noted an “In Other Words.” There were 10 in this meeting, including this one: “But it also means that the English muffin manufacturing company -- English muffin machine manufacturing company is more likely to have work. In other words, there’s an effect, the tax code can affect commerce.”

And then he went home. Say, George, how did it go?

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