Monday, May 19, 2008

They didn’t stay in the hive when they came to kill 3,000 of our citizens

The Bushies put out a thoroughly pissed-off letter to NBC about The Today Show’s “deceitful editing” of an interview with him that aired this morning, saying that it distorted his response to a question about his speech to the Knesset about how talking with Iranian leaders would be “appeasing” Iran. In fact, Bush was distorting his own words.

It all comes down to what the meaning of “appease” is. Many commentators have pointed out that Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler did not consist of merely talking with him but of giving him permission to dismember and swallow Czechoslovakia, and that neither Obama nor anyone else is proposing to give permission for Iran to dismember the Czech Republic (although, honestly, they can have Slovakia for all I care) or any other country. The Bushies’ new definition of appeasement, which I don’t think is to be found in any dictionary, is not listening closely enough. Bush:
People need to read the speech. You didn’t get it exactly right, either. What I said was is that we need to take the words of people seriously. And when, you know, a leader of Iran says that they want to destroy Israel, you’ve got to take those words seriously. And if you don’t take them seriously, then it harkens back to a day when we didn’t take other words seriously. It was fitting that I talked about not taking the words of Adolf Hitler seriously on the floor of the Knesset.
In fact, this was not at all how he deployed the charge of appeasement in his Knesset speech: he did not talk about not taking the words of Hitler seriously and he did in fact condemn the proposal to hold talks with Iran as appeasement.

Elsewhere in the NBC interview, Bush, asked if his speech gave Israel a green light to attack Hezbollah and Hamas, said “You can read into it what you want to read into it,” but added in a mutter that that certainly wasn’t his intention. So it’s not his intention, but we can read that into it?

Of Hamas, he said, “They’ve done a disaster of running Gaza.”

Asked if his actions haven’t created more enemies of the United States than they’ve eliminated, Bush again equated all his military actions with “confronting” the 9/11 hijackers: “That theory says by confronting the people that killed us, therefore there’s going to be more -- therefore we shouldn’t confront them? ... It’s just the beehive theory – we shoulda just let the beehive sit there and hope the bees don’t come out of the hive... And somehow to suggest the bees would stay in the hive is naive – they didn’t stay in the hive when they came to kill 3,000 of our citizens.” Buzz buzz.

The letter to NBC, signed by Ed Gillepsie, is really quite pissy in tone. And I think the central charge that the editing of the interview distorted Bush’s meaning is unfounded, having watched the edited and unedited versions. The letter also asks the network to apologize for ever having described Iraq as being in a civil war, demands that it stop using the word recession, and concludes snottily, “I welcome your response to this letter, and hope it is one that reassures your broadcast network’s viewers that blatantly partisan talk show hosts like Christopher Matthews and Keith Olbermann at MSNBC don’t hold editorial sway over the NBC network news division.”

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