From: Subject: Date: April 21, 2005 3:53:51 PM CDT Hankblog

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Breakdown on Bush's Speech
Before taking some time to post my own thoughts on the press conference yesterday, thought I would point out some other posts around the web that are worth a look-see

Norbizness does a nice job of weeding through the igbberish and telling us what was really rattling around in W's head. Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly and Jesse & Ezra from each blogged in real-time their take on the proceedings. Kevin also has some awards to hand out for some of the various answers given by Fearless Leader.

Lastly, for a full transcript of the whole affair, go here. I'll only reproduce questions of answers that I think were noteworthy.

Opening statements
Very first paragraph:
"Terrorists from other countries have infiltrated Iraq to incite and organize attacks."

Wouldn't this further reinforce the argument against the war that Iraq was not in fact the focal point of the war on terror? After all, if it really was the center of terrorist activity, they wouldn't be getting shuttled in from other countries, no? I think this is a thought that has been raised elsewhere, but my question is why would they go ahead and use that particular wording in the speech, since it would seen to undermine one of the central arguments in favor?
I also find it amusing that he empahsizes that the uprisings fostered by al-Sadr and others are not part of a civil war. That much would seem to be true, since it appears the Sunni and Shi'ite insurgents are joining together in their battle against US forces. Apologies for the snark, but that would seem to make it a very civil arrangement, no? Bush really is a uniter...
The mention of the appearance at Ft Hood over Easter is a bit manipulative, since to my recollection, he still hasn't attended an actual funeral for anyone killed in Iraq yet, has he? I mean, I don't think it's a real important point in hitting the misdeeds of the administration, but I do think it's indicative of a very insular mindset. As long as he doesn't see a body in a coffin, it's a lot easier to spout off noble sounding claptrap about the necessity of sacrifice and sound legitimately like he's behind it.
There's also the quesion raised when he speaks of how if we were to fail to meet the June 30th handover date "...many Iraqis would question our intentions and feel their hopes betrayed." Will the hopes be upheld if the country descends into anarchy on July 1, leading to another dictator sweeping in to fill the vacuum afterwards? Because, you know, we may not have been able to actually provide stability, but we were punctual.
Sovreignity involves more than a date and a ceremony. It requires Iraqis to assume responsibility for their own future.

Translation: quit screwing around and stop shooting at us, you butt munches. We're trying to help your ungrateful asses out. But we've restored an era of personal responsibility in the White House.
I have no issue with any of the reasons why a free Iraq is important, both to the US and the world. But nothing he's said up to this point gives any confidence that he's taking steps to assure this success at all.
And you have to love the round about way he tries to keep the association between al Qaeda and Iraq going. It's like he's playing a perverse form of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. The terrorists who set bombs off in Fallujah worked with the bombers in Madrid, who attended a pep rally with the Beirut suicide bomber who took out the Marine barracks, who shared coffee with Moussaoui. So you see, it all fits.

Mr. President, April is turning into the deadliest month in Iraq since the fall of Baghdad, and some people are comparing Iraq to Vietnam and talking about a quagmire. Polls show that support for your policy is declining and that fewer than half of Americans now support it. What does that say to you? And how do you answer the Vietnam comparison?

As has been noted all over the place, he doesn't answer it at all. He says it's a false analogy, and anyone who says otherwise is harming our troops. He sidesteps into "freedom is hard" territory to emphasize that we're pushing through a tough stretch, before swan diving into the idea of how he doesn't listen to polls. So even if people think that Iraq is turning into another Vietnam, I guess we can infer from what he did say is in essence "I don't give a flying fig."

On the question of whether we need more troops, and how long we'll be staying, he puts it off on Abizaid to ask for it, but then subtlely shirks the responsibility even more by saying "It's coming up through the chain of command." Does anyone actually think that it would get past Rummy or Cheney if they thought it would undermine the reelection chances? So naturally it won't get to W, and he's not of the type to actually show anything like initiative apparently.

Regarding pre-inavsion assumptions:

How do you explain to Americans how you got that so wrong? And how do you answer your opponents who say that you took this nation to war on the basis of what have turned out to be a series of false premises?

Jesse at Pandagon had the best response I've read to Bush's initial reply:
Bush: First, the lesson of September the 11th is that when this nation sees a threat, a gathering threat, we got to deal with it. We can no longer hope that oceans protect us from harm.Jesse: This isn't 1812. We don't have to worry about the Iraqi Steamer Brigade coming in to port. Oceans haven't been an appreciable barrier in warfare for decades.

Seriously, the oceans protecting us line belies the mindboggling naivete of this man. Think about this for a minute. Think of what the target audience is for two different books: say one is about Machiavelli, and the other is W's fave The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Which book's audience would be more likely to think that the ocean would protect them from dangerous people far away? Then ask yourself: Which one do I really want running this country?
Beyond that, there's a telling statement in when he says "A country that hides something is a country that is afraid of getting caught." Can we say
Cheney energy taskforce
Valerie Plame
Classified August 6 PDB
Not releasing Clinton Papers to the commitee
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. And the oil revenues, which were supposed to pay for this little sojourn, are "bigger than we thought", but we're still having to pony up how much for this fiasco? And he really still hasn't answered the seoncd part of the question, other than his old standby of "gathering threat".

When asked why he and Cheney have to appear before the 9-11 commission together, he never even got within the same zip code of answering the question. And when he dodges it completely by saying he has some "must calls" he has to hit, he clearly gives the impression that he's only prepared to deal with things that he knows are coming (which probably underscores just how poorly they handled the info in the August 6 PDB, but I digress).

The way he stammered about when asked what he thought biggest mistake would have been after 9-11 was amazing. You would have thought someone had asked him if he still beat his wife. For someone who supposedly was bringing personal responsibility back to the office, it should have been easy for him to say "These are things I feel I could have done differently. I don't think I am at fault, but I accept the responsibility of this office seriously, and know that it comes back to me." Nothing like that at all was present. And he looked lost. Serious deer in headlights look on his face. That's not something that inspires confidence in four more years of this crap.

That's all I really feel like saying. Some of the other bloggers I read were much more incensed than I was by what they saw. I just have gotten to the point where it's sort of like dealing with a dog that just won't be housebroken. At this point, W has piddled on my carpet so much, getting mad doesn't help. I think he just needs to be sent to the pound, that he can find a good home somewhere and be someone else's problem.