Unscripted, W reveals himself again in his first "joint press availability" with the new British PM Gordon Brown. Do W's rhetorical arguments reassure you that W's grand democracy experiment is going well?
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Your own military commander suggests that, in Iraq, the Iraqi forces are not nearly ready to take over security for their own country, and that U.S. troops will need to stay in the region for many months, if not years. Are you prepared to pass on the fate of the war to the next President?Right, like some thing magically is going to change on 15 Sept to improve the course of action in Iraq? Sounds to me like W has set a new target for terrorists to act. What better way to get further publicity and "foment" violence for the jihad by doing something on this artificial 15 Sept deadline. Any one taking bets out there?
And Mr. Prime Minister, if I may, what do you see as the biggest mistakes in the management of the war, and what do you propose to do to correct them?
PRESIDENT BUSH: David Petraeus, the general on the ground, will be bringing his recommendations back to the Congress on or about September the 15th. And I think it's going to be very important for all of us to wait for him to report. And the reason it's important is, is that I believe that the decisions on the way forward in Iraq must be made with a military recommendation as an integral part of it. And therefore I don't want to prejudge what David is going to say.
I have said this is going to take a long time in Iraq, just like the ideological struggle is going to take a long time. And so I look forward to David's report, and then we'll respond accordingly. There has been some notable progress -- Anbar province being such a place -- where there's bottom up reconciliation, where people are rejecting this al Qaeda vision of the world, and saying there's a better way forward.
There are still setbacks, obviously. We've got these suiciders that are trying to foment sectarian violence. But, Ben, I would ask you and the Congress to wait -- to do what I'm doing, which is wait until David to come back and make his report. And I think you'll find it will be considered and based upon the evidence there on the ground.
But the irony is even more apparent if you dig deeper. First the President stipulates:
PRESIDENT BUSH: Look, people who kill innocent men, women and children to achieve political objectives are evil, that's what I think. I don't think there's any need to negotiate with them. I don't think there's any need to hope that they'll change. They are cold-blooded killers, and we better be clear-eyed when we're dealing with them.Of course, he ignores the civilians that we have killed in the name of political gain in Iraq and other locations. War is diplomacy by other means anyway, isn't it? Certainly, there has to be a solution to deal with such folks and the W would have you believe it rests with the rhetoric:
In the long run, the way to defeat these people is through a competing ideology, see. And what's interesting about this struggle -Well, frankly, no I don't see, Mr. President. How does the President's articulated strategy sit with the "kill-em-all" GOP set, or the "fight-them-there-so-we-don't-have-to-fight-them-here" flag wavers?
And really, to put this post to bed, we must insist that W not get a comedy gig after he's done with this current stint. I find his brand of humor to be especially revealing of his overall character, don't you? Here's a couple of examples:
Q Thank you. Mr. Brown's new formulation for what we used to call the special relationship is Britain's single-most important bilateral relationship. I wonder if I could ask him what precisely that means, whether it works the other way for the United States, in terms of their bilateral relationship. And also, Mr. President, what you think has actually changed with the arrival of Gordon Brown instead of Tony Blair?Oh, I see. And so...?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Besides toothpaste? (Laughter.)
...And so what was your question? (Laughter.)
Q What's changed?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Oh, what's changed? He's a Scotsman, kind of a -- he's not the dour Scotsman that you described him, or the awkward Scotsman; he's actually the humorous Scotsman, the guy that -- we actually were able to relax and to share some thoughts. I was very interested in his family life.He's a man who has suffered unspeakable tragedy, and instead of that weakening his soul, strengthened his soul.