Q (As translated.) To both of you, what specific, concrete requests do you wish to make or send to the Syrian President, Bashar Assad, so that he normalize his relations with the West, and of course to achieve stability in Lebanon and in the rest of --What? Are the Syrians teenage girls on an abstinence only education diet of health education?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, my message would be, stop fooling around with the Iranians and stop harboring terrorists; serve as a constructive force in the Middle East to help the advance of a Palestinian state; make it clear to Hamas that terror should stop for the sake of peace; and make it clear to their Iranian allies that the West is serious when we talk about stopping them from learning how to enrich, which would be the first -- a major step for developing a bomb; and to make it clear to their Iranian allies that Hezbollah is a destabilizing force for not only Lebanon but elsewhere.
That would be my message. I'd make it clear to him that there is a better way forward for Syria. And Nicolas and I talked about this subject today.
What about the current situation in Iraq? Does he have some advice for the Iraqis?
Q I'd like to ask you a question first, Mr. President. (As translated.) And then a question to the President of France. (Speaking English.) President Bush, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says that talks on a status of forces agreement are at an impasse, or a dead end -- not dead, but in trouble. How do you break this impasse, and are the conditions that the United States have set forward in support so far non-negotiable?Too bad the President has been making serious bets on Iraq wagering American GI lives and hefty sums of debt to the Chinese and other (which are tantamount to taxes deferred to prop up the new welfare state that is Iraq).
(As translated.) And to you, President, is the Franco-American relationship the privilege, the priority number one relationship in the transatlantic context?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Olivier, if I were a betting man, we'll reach an agreement with the Iraqis. You know, of course we're there at their invitation; this is a sovereign nation. And therefore, we're working hard with the elected government of Iraq about, you know, U.S. presence and coalition presence, in a way that the elected government is comfortable.
And it's interesting to be working with a democracy where, you know, people are trying to prepare the ground to get something passed in the parliament, for example, or the free press is vibrant. But we're going to work hard to accommodate their desires. It's their country.
And at the same time, we believe that a strategic relationship with Iraq is important. It's important for Iraq. It's important for the United States. It's important for the region. And I repeat to you that whatever we agreed to, it will not commit future Presidents to troop levels, nor will it establish permanent bases.
Anyway, we'll see how it goes. And thanks for the question -- in English. (Laughter.)
And, I cannot believe George Bush is still suggesting that we are there "at the invitation" of the Iraqis? We are no more there at the invitation of the Iraqis than your 25 year old college grad is staying at your house rent free until he gets his feet on the ground. You don't like it, and you may love him, but you sure wish he would get the hell out. Moreover, you are enabling his lousy behavior by propping him up in a co-dependent way.
Regardless, I would have hoped that after nearly six years of experience running (or more aptly ruining) a war, that George W. Bush would have something more concrete to say than "we'll see how it goes."
The "Foolishness" of George Bush is that he comes at governance with the approach of an elementary school child - as if he's got a lot more to learn, but just doesn't quite get it. Too bad, because with Nine Eleven and the ensuing disasters (Iraq, Git mo, etc...) we really needed some adult style leadership, not the dualistic ("your either with us or against us") approach of a juvenile.
Minimally, the W, Rove and Co, by proof of their actions, required much more adult supervision. Unfortunately, the republican controlled congress back in 2001 was entirely too eager to follow the swagger, accepting leadership by faith over fact, and abdicated their ability to provide such oversight.
And, I've said this before, the proof is in the pudding. We now have the economy and geopolitical situation the GOP had wished for. I'm not finding it all too palatable. Are you?