Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bush press conference, in which is revealed what you ought to be interested in if you’re interested in avoiding World War III

Bush held a press conference today.

He started out with a long tirade about how “the new leaders in Congress have had more than nine months to get things done for the American people” but haven’t done shit.

And he wants to get shit done. “I’m looking forward to getting some things done for the American people. And if it doesn’t get done, I’m looking forward to reminding people as to why it’s not getting done.”

He’s eager to help Congress get shit done. Here’s his idea of helping: “And my job is to see if I can’t get some of that movement in the right direction, and at the same time, make sure that we’re part of the process. And one way the executive branch stays a part of the process is to issue veto threats and then follow through with them.”

Although he does think that he and the Congress are coming together on one thing: “We’re finding common ground on Iraq.”

One thing not on his to-do list for Congress: historiography. “one thing Congress should not be doing is sorting out the historical record of the Ottoman Empire.” Putting the archives in chronological order, that sort of thing. Could David Irving speak about the Holocaust more dismissively? “Congress has more important work to do than antagonizing a democratic ally in the Muslim world.” Because pissing off Muslims is a function of the executive branch. Says so in the Constitution. Separation of powers, people.

Asked whether Turkey has a legitimate right to invade Kurdish Iraq, which is a rather interesting question, he sidestepped and said it’s not in their interests (although he didn’t say why it isn’t).

Asked why he was going to the Dalai Lama ceremony later in the day when it would piss off the Chinese government (or “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people,” as the government likes to put it): “One, I admire the Dalai Lama a lot. Two, I support religious freedom; he supports religious freedom. Thirdly, I like going to the Gold Medal ceremonies.” Gold shiny. So shiny.

Since Bush wasn’t going to answer any questions about Israel’s airstrike on the supposed Syrian nuclear facility (or give a reason for refusing to talk about it), David Gregory asked if, back in 1981, he supported Israel’s airstrike on the Iraqi reactor. Bush explained that he was so blitzed that whole years have just vanished from his memory: “You know, Dave, I don’t remember what I was doing in 1980 [sic] -- let’s see, I was living in Midland, Texas; I don’t remember my reaction that far back.”

Asked whether he was going to declare victory on Al Qaida in Iraq, he didn’t, although he was tempted: “Yeah, we’ve hurt them bad in Iraq. ... If you’re the number three person in al Qaeda, you’ve had some rough goes -- you’ve either been captured or killed.”

IN OTHER WORDS: “And what’s happened is, in Iraq, is there’s been a lot of political reconciliation at the grassroots level. In other words, people that hadn’t been talking to each other are now talking to each other.”

The most quoted words on the presser, about Iran: “So I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.” We’re going to find all their physics and chemistry students, and get them all stoned.

But, dude, seriously, World War III?

IN OTHER WORDS, THIS ISN’T WORTH IT: “In other words, I think -- the whole strategy is, is that at some point in time, leaders or responsible folks inside of Iran may get tired of isolation and say, this isn’t worth it.”

NOT SO MUCH IN OTHER WORDS, AS CHANGING TO ANOTHER TOPIC: when asked about the housing crisis, he talked instead about job growth and the declining budget deficit. “In other words, there’s positive elements of our economy.”

Asked whether he was disappointed by Putin’s end-run around term limits, he talked about his great relationship with Putin, and why that’s so important: “You know, one of the interesting -- well, my leadership style has been to try to be in a position where I actually can influence people. And one way to do that is to have personal relationships that enable me to sit down and tell people what’s on my mind without fear of rupturing relations. ... That’s why, in Slovakia, I was in a position to tell him that we didn’t understand why he was altering the relationship between the Russian government and a free press -- in other words, why the free press was becoming less free. And I was able to do -- he didn’t like it. Nobody likes to be talked to in a way that may point up different flaws in their strategy. But I was able to do so in a way that didn’t rupture relations. He was able to tell me going into Iraq wasn’t the right thing. And to me that’s good diplomacy.”

So you told him something about the free press which he ignored completely, and he told you something about Iraq which you ignored completely. And to you that’s good diplomacy.

Then he said something about Russians that is precisely what he accuses people of saying about Muslims: “Now, in terms of whether or not it’s possible to reprogram the kind of basic Russian DNA, which is a centralized authority, that’s hard to do.”

IN OTHER WORDS: “See, they [the American people] understand al Qaeda and terrorism is still a threat to the security of this country. In other words, they’re still out there, and they’re still plotting and planning.”

Thinks he’s winning the argument about S-CHIP: “I find it interesting that when Americans begin to hear the facts, they understand the rationale behind the veto.”

Says he’ll wait to see whether Blackwater massacred all those Iraqi civilians in a good way or in a bad way: “There’s a lot of studying going on, both inside Iraq and out, as to whether or not people violated rules of engagement.” But he doesn’t wait that long: “I will tell you, though, that a firm like Blackwater provides a valuable service. They protect people’s lives. And I appreciate the sacrifice and the service that the Blackwater employees have made.”

Noah Webster he ain’t:
Q: The word “torture.” What’s your definition?

THE PRESIDENT: That’s defined in U.S. law, and we don’t torture.

Q: Can you give me your version of it, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: Whatever the law says.

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