Monday, January 12, 2009

Bush Wacky

Is this guy for real?

In his last press conference the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush, gave a performance that ranged from defensive to clueless, underscoring just how out of touch both he and his adminstration have been with reality. From the debacle that is the ongoing Iraq saga to the spectacle that was Katrina, Bush 43 defended a legacy that only he and his most stridently right-wing supporters would dare call anything less than disastrous. Stunned reporters listened, laughed awkwardly and recorded this gem for the history books. Sadly, none of them had the courage or outright temerity to remove a shoe and hurl it at him.

Highlights from the press conference, and my own witty commentary, below.

On the ongoing Israeli Assault on Gaza that has thus far killed some 900 Palestinians and wounded thousands more, most of them civilians:

The challenge, of course, has been to lay out the conditions so that a peaceful state can emerge. In other words, helping the Palestinians in the West Bank develop security forces, which we have worked hard to do over the past years....The challenge is to develop -- help the Palestinians develop a democracy -- I mean -- and a vibrant economy in their -- that will help lead to democracy. And the challenge, of course, is always complicated by the fact that people are willing to murder to stop the advance of freedom. And so, the -- Hamas or, for that matter, Al Qaida or other extremist groups, are willing to use violence to prevent free states from emerging. And that's the big challenge.

Well actually the Palestinians did manage a democracy, in which they elected Hamas. Since that wasn't the democracy you, or the EU or Israel wanted, you decided to scrap democracy and back the group that lost--Fatah. You then went on to supply Fatah with weapons and money and worked to *destabilize* the democratically elected Hamas government instead of talking to moderates within the organization and bringing them to the table. As for the Israelis, they don't seem to ever have to make any concessions, and violates UN resolutions with impunity. As for al-Qaida, they have nothing to do with the Palestinians or Hamas, as intelligence officials are well aware. However, images of hundreds of Gazans--including children--buried under the rubble caused by Israeli bombs (paid for by US tax dollars) is the best recruiting tool Osama bin Laden could have wished for.

On Iraq

...when the history of Iraq is written, historians will analyze, for example, the decision on the surge. The situation was -- looked like it was going fine, and then violence for a period of time began to throw -- throw the progress of Iraq into doubt. And rather than accepting the status quo and saying, "Oh, it's not worth it," or "The politics makes it difficult," or, you know, "The party may end up being -- you know, not doing well in the elections because of the violence in Iraq," I decided to do something about it and sent 30,000 troops in as opposed to withdrawing. And so that part of history is certain, and the situation did change. Now the question is, in the long-run, will this democracy survive? And that's going to be the challenge for future presidents.

As then presidential nominee Barack Obama reminded John McCain, the Iraq war didn't start with "the surge." And there wouldn't have been a need for "the surge" if there had been no war--which most analysts now agree need not have taken place. Contrary to this hindsight idea of "will this democracy survive," the Iraq war wasn't sold as having to do with democracy, but finding WMDs. Remember? Besides, contrary to popular myth, the success of "the surge" is at most illusionary. Violence has dropped in Iraq because former insurgents were paid off by US military officials, and many neighborhoods in the midst of civil war have been ethnically cleansed. In the long-run, for the millions of Iraqis left in this war's tragic wake, it will not simply be a matter of "will this democracy survive" but whether their broken country can mend itself.

On how he made policy.

And -- and in times of war, people get emotional. I understand that. I've never really, you know, spent that much time, frankly, worrying about the loud voices. I, of course, hear them. But they didn't affect my policy, nor did they affect -- they affect how I made decisions.

Well that one just speaks for itself. No comment...

On possible mistakes.

Look, I have often said that history will look back and determine that which could have been done better or, you know, mistakes I made. Clearly, putting a "mission accomplished" on a (sic) aircraft carrier was a mistake. It sent the wrong message. We were trying to say something differently, but, nevertheless, it conveyed a different message. Obviously, some of my rhetoric has been a mistake.

So... the banner was your sole mistake? Not the war built on a false threat of WMDs that took some 4,000+ American lives, wounded tens of thousands of others, has led (directly or indirectly) to perhaps 1 million dead Iraqis, displaced some 4 million more, has cost some $588 billion (and counting), sanctioning torture, carrying out "rendition," circumventing the Constitution, refusing to admit a failed economy or any of the 100 other matters---just a sign.

On Katrina.

I've thought long and hard about Katrina; you know, could I have done something differently, like land Air Force One either in New Orleans or Baton Rouge. The problem with that and -- is that law enforcement would have been pulled away from the mission.... You know, people said, "Well, the federal response was slow....Don't tell me the federal response was slow when there was 30,000 people pulled off roofs right after the storm passed...That's a pretty quick response. Could things have been done better? Absolutely. Absolutely. But when I hear people say the federal response was slow, then what are they going to say to those chopper drivers or the 30,000 that got pulled off the roofs?

Stunning. What can be said about this that hasn't already been said? Just stunning.

That's about all I can presently stomach. Anyone with a stronger constitution, see the full transcript and video.


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