Monday, July 16, 2007

You don’t know what it’s like to be commander-in-chief until you’re commander-in-chief

Friday, Bush spoke for an hour with some conservative journalists, to encourage them to cheer-lead for the war. Since there’s no transcript, I’d hoped to read reports by participants before posting, but Michael Barone believes it was against the rules to directly quote Bush, so I’m left with the account by Kate O’Beirne and Rich Lowry, who have a different understanding of the rules.

He began by saying that everything would turn out okay because “I strongly believe that Muslims desire to be free just like Methodists desire to be free.” Of course (some) Muslims also desire to kill people with whom they have ideological differences, just like (some) Methodists do.

He claimed to understand the frustration of the American people with the war, but said he still has “tools” such as “the bully pulpit and the ability to convince the American people.” Awww, he thinks he still has the ability to convince the American people. Isn’t that adorable?

That was a rhetorical question.

O’Beirne & Lowry say Bush “marveled” at a question he was asked in last Thursday’s press conference: “They asked me yesterday ‘Are you sure it’s al Qaeda [in Iraq]?’ ‘Yeah, how do you know?’ ‘Because they swore allegiance to Osama bin Laden is how I know. Yeah, it’s al Qaeda.’” Quod erat demonstrandum. Really, sometimes you just have to marvel all over again at the shallowness of his thought processes.

Bush, they say, “talked of a ‘ground-up’ approach to reconciliation [in Iraq].”

He’d also like reconciliation here, a “bipartisan consensus” to keep troops in Iraq for “a while.” “We need to be in a position that can sustain a long-term troop presence.”

And where are those troops coming from, since we’re going to run out of fresh troops in spring? “People said we couldn’t find the troops for [the “surge”] as well.” So that proves that we can always find more troops if he wishes really hard. Or something. Anyway, that sort of thing is for the little people to deal with: “I’m sure that in the bowels of the Pentagon people are looking at troop rotations and troop movements, but that is not the primary objective of our commander on the ground – next question!” So the bowels of the Pentagon will simply shit out more cannon fodder.

It’s so very lonely at the top: “You don’t know what it’s like to be commander-in-chief until you’re commander-in-chief.”

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