Sunday, June 15, 2008

That’s one of those great hypotheticals that we didn’t know

The Bush message to Iowa flood victims: “I know there’s a lot of people hurting right now and I hope they’re able to find some strength in knowing that there is love from a higher being.” As for you atheists, just keep paddling I guess.

I now have the full transcript of Bush’s interview by the Observer, the subject of my previous post.

GEORGE INVENTS A NEW VERB TENSE: “And therefore people that -- at least governments that felt like they didn’t want to participate in the liberation of Iraq have now wanted to participate in the reconstruction of Iraq.”

WHAT MALIKI HAS MOVED: “Maliki has moved things -- Stockholm and comports himself like a leader would, and he speaks hopefully about the future.”

IN OTHER WORDS: “In other words, the agenda is varied and it’s profound.”

Asked who is really in charge of Russia now: “Putin introduced me to Medvedev. And he -- in not only his body language, but in his words to me that Medvedev is going to be in charge of foreign policy.” So that settles that.

Asked about human rights in Russia, he recounted how he once spoke to Putin on behalf of the Catholic church, how Putin owns his own orthodox church, how Bush once met some Russian Jews, and concluded “And so he is sensitive to religious liberty”. For Bush, there is really only one human right that matters.

IN OTHER WORDS: “And so my only point there is that -- and this is the point I make to our partners, is that the Iranians had adopted a different attitude during my presidency -- in other words, in the relatively near past -- and that’s not to say they can’t do it again.”

WHAT HE TELLS HIS PARTNERS: “You know, I tell my partners, we’re asking you to sanction, I know you’re sitting there saying to yourself, well, it’s easy for him to say because they’ve already sanctioned.” Oh, George, we know that nothing is easy for you to say.

WHAT THE QUESTION FACING COUNTRIES IS: “And the question facing countries is, does money trump effective diplomacy for the sake of peace and security?”

THE POST-WHAT NOW? “And the lesson learned in this post-conflict period in both Iraq and Afghanistan is you got to have security.”

Q: Weapons of mass destruction in Iraq obviously is --

SHRUB: Still looking for them.

Q: Still looking for them, exactly. (Laughter.)

SHRUB: That was a huge disappointment.
They did not ask him what was disappointing about it, but did ask if he would have invaded Iraq is he’d known there were no WMDs: “Well, you know, that’s one of those great hypotheticals that we didn’t know.”

KIND OF LIE IN AN EMPTY GRAVE: “Many, many families look at me trying to determine whether or not, one, I believed that it was necessary; and two, whether or not I’m going to let their son or daughter kind of lie in an empty grave when it comes to the sacrifice they made. They want to know whether or not the President -- if he believes it was necessary, whether or not he’s going to see this thing through, regardless of what they’re screaming on the TV sets.”

Asked about his legacy, he said, “There’s no such thing as objective short-term history.” He’s talked before about how forty years from now we’ll know how wonderful he really was, but I don’t think he’s claimed before that it’s literally impossible to form a correct judgment before then and that anything anyone says about him now can and should be completely disregarded.

ACTUALLY THEY’RE MEXICANS WHO DICK CHENEY SENDS INTO THE OVAL OFFICE EVERY MORNING AND TELLS BUSH ARE IRAQIS: “But my view is, is that when you talk to Iraqis, they’re thrilled with the idea of living in a free society. Do they like the fact that violence is still there? No. But every society reaches a level of violence that’s tolerable. And has that reached Iraq? I don’t know yet.” Tolerable? Presumably not to the recipients of that violence. That’s just a bizarre little sociological statement. And is he really saying that the level of violence in Iraq (or New York City or Sao Paulo, for that matter) is only as high as it is because the Iraqis are okay with it?

Oh wait, he goes on: “the thing that people ought to focus on is the courage of the Iraqis. They put up with a lot of violence: Muslims killing Muslims. But first of all, there have been some accidents, but nobody can claim that the United States or Great Britain are intentionally killing innocent people. We’re not. As a matter of fact, warfare has changed a lot.” After all these years, dude still thinks of war as antiseptic, even, dare I say it, humane.

WHAT IT’S HARD FOR PEOPLE SITTING AFAR TO SAY: “Freedom trumps tyranny every time. And it’s hard for people to see that. It’s hard for people sitting afar to say, isn’t that beautiful, somebody lives in a free society?”

One revelation: he has never watched “The West Wing.” “I don’t watch network TV. I read.”

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