Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal

More Bush interviews. Yesterday, with Israeli television.

HE HAS JEWISH FRIENDS? Describing Jenna’s wedding: “It was -- as my Jewish friends tell me, there was ‘Mazel tov.’” What, no knishes?

IN ORDER FOR PEACE TO SECURE: “Now, I’m sure people say, oh, Bush, man, he sounds hopelessly idealistic. But the truth of the matter is, in order for peace to secure, it’s that kind of idealism that has got to prevail.”

SCRAMBLING FOR THEIR SECURITY: “Look, I inherited -- when I came in office, there was an intifada. It’s hard in the middle of the intifada to be talking peace; I mean, you had people scrambling for their security.”

MOVING DOWN THE ROAD PRETTY GOOD: “the peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis, which frankly is moving down the road pretty good.”

Previewing his speech to the Knesset: “And I’m looking forward to telling people that I fully understand the nature of the world”.

He went right from there to an interview with Egyptian tv.

IN OTHER WORDS: Asked about the state of Egyptian democracy: “I would say fits and starts; good news and bad news. In other words, there’s been some moments where it looked like Egypt was going to continue to lead the Middle East on the democracy movement, and there’s been some setbacks.”

But what are a few “setbacks” (massive repression, complete lack of free elections, detention and torture of political prisoners, you know, those “setbacks”) between friends? “I try to balance, on the one hand, my beliefs, and on the other hand, a friendship with the government and friendship with President Mubarak.” It’s nice to see him admit outright that he can only be friends with Mubarak if he compromises on his beliefs.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ISRAEL! “And I will say that there’s been 60 years of struggling on both sides, and it’s time that the struggle has got to end.”

Asked about Jimmy Carter’s recent statement that the victims in Palestine were clearly suffering more than those in Israel (at least that’s what the interviewer says he said; I must have missed that one): “Well, everybody has got their opinions.”

Speaking of everybody having their opinions: “Most people don’t believe in using murder as a political tool. Most people want to live in peace, and so do I.”

IN OTHER WORDS: Asked to respond to the belief of Arabs that he has added to their sufferings: “I would just ask them to wait for history to answer the question. ... In other words, I understand people’s opinions. All I ask is that when history is finally recorded, judge whether or not I’ve been a contributor to peace or not.” Or not.

And today, the already infamous Politico/Yahoo News/Golf News Digest interview.

What’s curious to me is that it was the interviewer who brought up the golf question – “Mr. President, you haven’t been golfing in recent years. Is that related to Iraq?” Was he prepped to ask that question? Anyway, I know you’ve read this in 20 other blogs, but this is The Blog of Record, so here is Bush’s response in full:
Yes, it really is. I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander-in-chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be as — to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal. ... I remember when de Mello, who was at the U.N., got killed in Baghdad as a result of these murderers taking this good man’s life. And I was playing golf — I think I was in central Texas — and they pulled me off the golf course and I said, it’s just not worth it anymore to do.
The golf wasn’t worth it anymore to do, not the war, you understand.

Further intense questioning brought out that George really likes the first Austin Powers movie and does a Dr. Evil impression.

THERE’S THAT WORD AGAIN: “I mean, part of the faith walk is to understand your weaknesses and is to constantly try to embetter yourself and get closer to the Lord. And that’s a daily occurrence.” Richard in comments suggested that the last appearance of that word was actually a transcription error and Bush actually said “embitter.” I’m guessing he really said “embutter.”

KIND OF WERE REAL SMOOTH: “I guess some presidencies are kind of were real smooth, there were no real big issues. Well, that’s not the way mine is.”

IN OTHER WORDS: “Look, I tell people — and this is an interesting thing — it’s harder to be the son of a President than to be the President. In other words, when people get after Dad it would cause all kinds of emotions, none of them very good, in my being.”

IN OTHER WORDS: “In other words, it took us a while to get to where we are — very dependent on oil, and in a world in which demand is greater than oil.”

I DON’T THINK EVERYBODY WOULD HAVE WENT THAT, I REALLY DON’T: “I could have supported a lousy treaty [the Kyoto accords] and everybody would have went, ‘Oh, man, what a wonderful sounding fellow he is.’ But it just wouldn’t have worked. I don’t think you want your president trying to be the cool guy and not end up with policies that actually make a difference.” It’s hard to be the cool guy when the ozone layer is gone.

Was he misled on Iraq?: “I feel like — I felt like there were weapons of mass destruction. You know, ‘mislead’ is a strong word, it almost connotes some kind of intentional — I don’t think so, I think there was a — not only our intelligence community, but intelligence communities all across the world shared the same assessment. And so I was disappointed to see how flawed our intelligence was.” We were all disappointed to see how flawed your intelligence is.

What, do you think I should have skipped that one just because it was too easy?

IN OTHER WORDS: “Americans at home ought to care for the advance of free societies throughout the Middle East, after all, this is the center of anti-Americanism and hatred. In other words, the people that attacked us on 9/11 came from this part of the world.”

IN OTHER WORDS: “By far the vast majority of people aren’t haters, and by far the vast majority of people don’t hate America. But there are enough to be able to recruit if forms of government repress people. In other words, if there’s hopelessness — there’s nothing more hopeless, by the way, than becoming a suicide bomber. And yet, these ideologues require hopeless situations.”

IN OTHER WORDS: “In other words, freedom is transformative.”

His assessment of the Democratic Congress: “I would call them, so far, good at verbiage and not so good at results.” Straight lines, what’s with all the straight lines today?

Asked to respond to Jimmy Carter’s recent comment on Charlie Rose that the next president could change the US’s image by saying in his inaugural speech, “As long as I’m President we will never torture another prisoner, as long as I’m President we will never attack or invade another country unless our own security is directly threatened,” Bush
Yes, well, what he ought to be saying is, is that America doesn’t torture. If the implication there is that we do now, then he’s wrong. And you bet we’re going to protect ourselves by the use of military force. What he really is implying is — or some imply — you can be popular; if you want to be popular in the Middle East just go blame Israel for every problem. That will make you popular. Or if you want to be popular in Europe, say you’re going to join the International Criminal Court. Popularity is fleeting, Michael. Principles are forever.
Or is it diamonds that are forever? I always get those things confused.

The reference to Israel, which Carter hadn’t even mentioned, is interesting.

On the Burmese junta’s response to the cyclone: “It’s taken these people too long to move. It’s almost as if they’re in a state of denial.” Denial: it’s not just a levee in New Orleans river in Egypt.

Also, a revealing must-read Hillary Clinton interview on Fafblog.

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