Does the president know what the meaning of “is” is? I’m not talking about Slick Willie. I
mean Gee Dubya Shrub, whose evasions — a mixture of half-lies and outright lies — were on
display again yesterday in his Rose Garden press conference. (Here’s the
His attempt to blame the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln
sailors for the “Mission Accomplished” banner, a White House
creation that provided the TV backdrop for his triumphal May 1 speech declaring victory in Iraq
— oops, the end of major combat operations — is only the most laughable and makes him sound
like one of those French weasels his minions used to blame for not supporting him.
Here are some equally ludicrous statements from his press conference.
QUESTION: Will you acknowledge now that you were
premature in making those remarks [about the end of combat]?
ANSWER: I think you ought to look at my speech. I said
Iraq’s a dangerous place, got hard work to do, there’s still more to be done. … But my statement
was a clear statement, basically recognizing that this phase of the war for Iraq was over, and there
was a lot of dangerous work. And it’s proved to be right. It is dangerous in Iraq.
If anybody asks him, he’ll also predict that the sun will set this evening.
Q: If there are foreign terrorists involved, why aren’t Syria and
Iran being held accountable?
A: Yes, well, we’re working
closely with those countries to let them know that we expect them to enforce borders, prevent
people from coming across borders if, in fact, we catch them doing that.
It wasn’t enough to say we’d let them know. He had to let us know, in typical pol’s jargon
“we’re working closely with them.” I’d bet that collaboration is news to Syria and
Iran. As revealed today, in fact, Iran won’t share
Al Qaeda intelligence with the U.S. government and pooh-poohed
charges that terrorists were slipping into Iraq across its borders. “We don’t have any relations with
American security services so there is no reason to do anything on this issue,” an Iranian
Will someone on the White House staff please inform the president, since he doesn’t read the
Q: In recent weeks, you and your White House team have
made a concerted effort to put a positive spin on progress in Iraq. [The reporter then referred
to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s leaked “slog” memo casting doubt on the progress.]
And people out there don’t believe that the administration is leveling with them about the
difficulty and scope of the problem in Iraq.
A: I can’t
put it more plainly; Iraq is a dangerous place. That’s leveling. It is a dangerous place.
If that’s leveling, the Flat Earth Society has a place reserved for him.
Q: Are you considering the possibility of possibly adding more
U.S. troops to the forces already on the ground there to help restore
A: Yeah, that’s a decision by John Abizaid. He
makes that — General Abizaid makes the decision as to whether he needs more troops.
Will someone on the White House staff please remind the president he is the
commander-in-chief? Recently he made sure to tell the press that he was, so it could spread
the word to us, but it seems he’s forgotten.
To another question asking “Can you promise a year from now that you will have reduced the
number of troops in Iraq,” he replied that it was “a trick question, so I won’t answer it.” I say a
trick question deserves at least a trick answer. Or something like the statement he made on
Monday that the increased violence in Iraq was a sign of progress.
As one commentary noted: “That formulation left even some Republicans
wincing.” Considering the new death-toll
milestone reached today in Iraq, they should be doing more than
Half of the Arab world is laughing at the upside-down notion that the attacks are the result of
U.S. success just as we used to laugh at Iraqi propaganda. “< FONT color=#003399>Remember how Saddam Hussein talked about
winning the mother of all battles?” Muhsen Awaji, a Saudi Islamist lawyer, told a New York
Times reporter. “It is the same disease.”
POSTSCRIPT: As if to prove parallel universes do exist, here’s a
Los Angeles Times reporter’s take on the press conference:
Jocular Bush Keeps It Light for Most