Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I tend not to use labels for folks

Obama was interviewed yesterday by the BBC about his upcoming world travels.

Obama refused to be drawn on whether Hosni Mubarak is an authoritarian ruler. “No, I tend not to use labels for folks.” Stop a moment and ponder the lameness of that evasion. “I think he has been a force for stability and good in the region...” If by stability, you mean a 30-year dictatorship. “...Obviously there have been criticisms of the manner in which politics operates in Egypt...” Well, not so much criticisms as screams of pain emanating from his dungeons.

Nor would he criticize Israel for refusing to stop settlement-building: “Well, it’s still early in the conversation. ... So, you know, one of the things that in the 24/7 news cycle is very difficult to encourage is patience, and diplomacy is always a matter of a long, hard slog.” Do tell us when it’s time to actually believe that they mean what they’re saying.

In an interview with NPR, he explained that the reason we’re still occupying Afghanistan is that “3,000 Americans were killed and you had a devastating attack on the American homeland; the organization that planned those attacks intends to carry out further attacks and we cannot stand by and allow that to happen.” He added, “We don’t have an interest in exploiting the resources of Afghanistan.” That’s too bad, because those poppy fields might help pay for the GM bailout.

NO HANGING OUT: “What we want is simply that people aren’t hanging out in Afghanistan who are plotting to bomb the United States. And I think that’s a fairly modest goal that other Muslim countries should be able to understand.”

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