Wednesday, December 20, 2006

President Caught In His New Clothes Again: Just Because You Say Your Heart Breaks Doesn't Make It So

I love it when the President decides to go in front of the press. Unscripted, he exposes himself for who he really is.

Let's have a serious look at some of the more troubling comments he raised today.

We will start with the scripted segment first:
This war on terror is the calling of a new generation; it is the calling of our generation.
Excuse me, but it's not my calling. If it really were a calling, might we not see volunteers running to recruiting stations like they did in WW II to stop Hitler? If it were a calling, might not his daughters head this call?
We have an obligation to ensure our military is capable of sustaining this war over the long haul, and in performing the many tasks that we ask of them.
Really? Then why didn't you do that from the outset? I believe that there are still some troops who need their Humvees plated and are absent appropriate body armor.
I've asked Secretary Gates to determine how such an increase could take place and report back to me as quickly as possible.
So, there's to be a "surge." How do they expect to come up with new troops when they can't outfit the existing troops?

And what of the troops?
We'll never lose sight that on the receiving end of the decisions I make is a private, a sergeant, a young lieutenant or a diplomat who risks his or her life to help the Iraqis realize a dream of a stable country that can defend, govern and sustain itself.
Do you believe him?

Let's see what the press gets out of him. First up, are we winning the war?
Q Mr. President, less than two months ago at the end of one of the bloodiest months in the war, you said, "Absolutely we're winning." Yesterday you said, "We're not winning, we're not losing." Why did you drop your confident assertion about winning?

THE PRESIDENT: My comments -- the first comment was done in this spirit: I believe that we're going to win; I believe that -- and by the way, if I didn't think that, I wouldn't have our troops there. That's what you got to know. We're going to succeed.

My comments yesterday reflected the fact that we're not succeeding nearly as fast as I wanted when I said it at the time, and that conditions are tough in Iraq, particularly in Baghdad. And so we're conducting a review to make sure that our strategy helps us achieve that which I'm pretty confident we can do, and that is have a country which can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself.

You know, I -- when I speak, like right now, for example -- I'm speaking to the American people, of course, and I want them to know that I know how tough it is, but I also want them to know that I'm going to work with the military and the political leaders to develop a plan that will help us achieve the objective. I also want our troops to understand that -- that we support them; that I believe that tough mission I've asked them to do is going to be accomplished, and that they're doing good work and necessary work.

I want the Iraqis to understand that we believe that if they stand up, step up and lead, and with our help we can accomplish the objective. And I want the enemy to understand that this is a tough task, but they can't run us out of the Middle East, that they can't intimidate America. They think they can. They think it's just a matter of time before America grows weary and leaves, abandons the people of Iraq, for example. And that's not going to happen.

What is going to happen is we're going to develop a strategy that helps the Iraqis achieve the objective that the 12 million people want them to achieve, which is a government that can -- a country that can sustain itself, govern itself, defend itself, a free country that will serve as an ally in this war against extremists and radicals.
If W, is not willing to predict what is going to happen in 2007, why is he so confident that we will win this thing? Because he has no other choice. It's such a gigantic sunk cost, he has to believe this. What's the alternative?

But for a man who suggests he doesn't speak in hypotheticals, we have to call him on this bluff, because it's simply not true. He speaks in hypotheticals when it's politically advantageous to do so. Have look:
...we're in the beginning of a conflict between competing ideologies -- a conflict that will determine whether or not your children can live in peace. A failure in the Middle East, for example, or failure in Iraq, or isolationism, will condemn a generation of young Americans to permanent threat from overseas.
How can he be so certain about what might happen? What happened when Brittan pulled out of India? What happened when we pulled out of Vietnam? There are cases where people have pulled their troops out of loosing situations and the countries have flourished. Why wouldn't this happen in the Iraq case?

This is the trouble with ideological struggles: You can't win them in the hypothetical. But W insists on trying:
But I also don't believe most Americans want us just to get out now. A lot of Americans understand the consequences of retreat. Retreat would embolden radicals. It would hurt the credibility of the United States. Retreat from Iraq would dash the hopes of millions who want to be free. Retreat from Iraq would enable the extremists and radicals to more likely be able to have safe haven from which to plot and plan further attacks.
Prove that this would be the case, Mr. Bush. Simply because you say something doesn't make it so. Are you not talking about hypotheticals, for which you purposefully suggest is wrong to do?

And here's the kicker for me, of today's speechifying. I heard it on NPR this AM and these words have been haunting me all day:
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, Lyndon Johnson famously didn't sleep during the Vietnam War, questioning his own decisions. You have always seemed very confident of your decisions, but I can't help but wonder if this has been a time of painful realization for you as you, yourself, have acknowledged that some of the policies you hoped would succeed have not. And I wonder if you can talk to us about that. Has it been a painful time?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, thanks. The most painful aspect of my presidency has been knowing that good men and women have died in combat. I read about it every night. My heart breaks for a mother or father, or husband or wife, or son and daughter; it just does. And so when you ask about pain, that's pain.
I simply don't fucking believe him. If this man had a heart, he would have died of a broken heart about two years ago. Certainly, you cannot convince me that this man grieves for the losses he has created, not to mention the multitude of wounded walking about today.

And here is the bigger kicker - where he uses the families of those who have died in his war to amplify political support for the war that got their loved ones killed:
I reach out to a lot of the families, I spend time with them. I am always inspired by their spirit. Most people have asked me to do one thing, and that is to make sure that their child didn't die in vain -- and I agree with that -- that the sacrifice has been worth it.

We'll accomplish our objective; we've got to constantly adjust our tactics to do so. We've got to insist that the Iraqis take more responsibility more quickly in order to do so.
No remorse there - just leveraging the opportunity to make a political point. That's a fine how-do-you-do. But he adds emphasis to the lie:
But I -- look, my heart breaks for them, it just does, on a regular basis.
Bullshit or prove it! If you ask me if the man's heart aches or breaks, I would say he's got the heart of a Grinch, but two sizes smaller.

And here's how we know there is no remorse:
Q But beyond that, sir, do you question your own decisions?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I haven't questioned whether or not it was right to take Saddam Hussein out, nor have I questioned the necessity for the American people -- I mean, I've questioned it; I've come to the conclusion it's the right decision. But I also know it's the right decision for America to stay engaged, and to take the lead, and to deal with these radicals and extremists, and to help support young democracies. It's the calling of our time, Sheryl. And I firmly believe it is necessary.

And I believe the next President, whoever the person is, will have the same charge, the same obligations to deal with terrorists so they don't hurt us, and to help young democracies survive the threats of radicalism and extremism. It's in our nation's interest to do so. But the most painful aspect of the presidency is the fact that I know my decisions have caused young men and women to lose their lives.
There is an underlying assumption laced in these paragraphs - that we are better off without Saddam in charge, but we now have a before and after comparison, and I think it looking more and more like I was better off with Saddam in charge, but this question is for another post.

In the end, why should we follow a man to the ends of the Earth when he gives up on his own administration? Remember, he pledged a long while back to find out who was causing leaks in his administration and punish them? Well, it looks like he's given up tying to find out:
Q Thank you, sir. Mr. President, did you or your Chief of Staff order an investigation of the leak of the Hadley memo before your meeting with Prime Minister al Maliki? And if the leak wasn't authorized, do you suspect someone in your administration is trying to undermine your Iraq policy or sabotage your meeting with Prime Minister al Maliki a few weeks back?

THE PRESIDENT: I'm trying to think back if I ordered an investigation. I don't recall ordering an investigation. I do recall expressing some angst about -- about ongoing leaks. You all work hard to find information and, of course, put it out for public consumption, and I understand that. But I don't appreciate those who leak classified documents. And it's an ongoing problem here, it really is -- not just for this administration, but it will be for any administration that is trying to put policy in place that affects the future of the country.

And we've had a lot of leaks, Mark, as you know, some of them out of the -- I don't know where they're from, and therefore I'm not going to speculate. It turns out you never can find the leaker. It's an advantage you have in doing your job. We can moan about it, but it's hard to find those inside the government that are willing to give, in this case, Hadley's document to newspapers.

You know, there may be an ongoing investigation of this, I just don't know. If there is -- if I knew about it, it's not fresh in my mind. But I do think that at some point in time it would be helpful if we can find somebody inside our government who is leaking materials, clearly against the law, that they be held to account. Perhaps the best way to make sure people don't leak classified documents is that there be a consequence for doing so.
Yes, and why have you not done so, when promised, is a good question?

1 comment:

sumo said...

You laid that out well...he's such a tool.