Thursday, May 13, 2010

A lot of them were simply overstated

David Cameron made Theresa May home secretary rather than his shadow home secretary Chris Grayling, possibly because of the thing about gays and bed & breakfasts (May’s voting record is actually more anti-gay than Grayling’s), possibly because he suddenly realized that he had an almost all-male cabinet, something I thought went out with John Major.

Comedian Mark Steel on the Lib-Con coalition government.

Yesterday, Obama met “President” Karzai. They had a press conference.

Obama mentioned that he’d already called to congratulate David Cameron, who is already quite the well-trained poodle: “He reaffirmed -- without me bringing it up -- his commitment to our strategy in Afghanistan.”

PERCEIVED AND OVERSTATED? Obama denied reports that he thinks Karzai is an ineffective loser: “With respect to perceived tensions between the U.S. government and the Afghan government, let me begin by saying a lot of them were simply overstated.”

WHAT HE’S USED WHATEVER POLITICAL CAPITAL HE HAS FOR: “And I’ve used whatever political capital I have to make the case to the American people that this is in our national security interest, that it’s absolutely critical that we succeed on this mission.” Of course he wouldn’t have to utilize his “political capital” to make the case if there was actually a case to be made.

WHAT HIS JOB IS: “Our job is to be a good friend and to be frank with President Karzai in saying here’s where we think we’ve got to put more effort.”

WHAT KARZAI’S JOB IS: “President Karzai’s job is to represent his country and insist that its sovereignty is properly respected, even as he goes about the hard task of bringing about these changes in both his government and his economy.”

I BELIEVE ON THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY, THE TRADITIONAL GIFT IS QUAGMIRE: Karzai said, “the relationship between Afghanistan and the United States is now into its 10th year, in the form that it has since September 11, 2001.”

KARZAI IS TOTALLY NOT A STALKER: “It’s not an imaginary relationship; it’s a real relationship. It’s based on some very hard and difficult realities. We are in a campaign against terrorism together. There are days that we are happy; there are days that we are not happy.” Wait, go back to the part about days we are happy.

OBAMA IS TOTALLY NOT A STALKER: Obama said, “this is a long-term partnership that is not simply defined by our military presence.”

WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW: “Now, to the American people, I think what they should know is, is that we are steadily making progress.”

DID A LINE FROM A BUSH PRESS CONFERENCE SOMEHOW GET IN HERE BY MISTAKE? “The fact that we are engaging -- you look at a place like Marja -- the Taliban controlled that area. And when you move in and you say, you’re not controlling this area anymore, they’re going to fight back.”

DEFINE “ULTIMATELY ACCOUNTABLE”: “When there is a civilian casualty, that is not just a political problem for me. I am ultimately accountable, just as General McChrystal is accountable, for somebody who is not on the battlefield who got killed. And that something that I have to carry with me”.

WHY WE HAVE AN INTEREST IN REDUCING CIVILIAN CASUALTIES: “We have an interest in reducing civilian casualties not because it’s a problem for President Karzai; we have an interest in reducing civilian casualties because I don’t want civilians killed.”

WHAT HE TAKES NO PLEASURE IN: “But I want everybody to be clear, especially the Afghan people. I take no pleasure in hearing a report that a civilian has been killed.” La la la, I can’t hear you.

LET’S SAY THIS ONE MORE TIME: THEY DON’T ACTUALLY HAVE TIES TO AL QAIDA: “so long as they are willing to renounce violence and ties to al Qaeda and other extremist networks; that President Karzai should be able to work to reintegrate those individuals into Afghan society.”

Where can I get me one of those hats?

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