President Bush's exclusive focus on suicide bombers -- "suiciders," in his parlance -- when asked about violence in Iraq yesterday once again suggests that he lacks a realistic sense of the current state of chaos in that country.
"That's the -- but that's one of the main -- that's the main weapon of the enemy, the capacity to destroy innocent life with a suicider," Bush said yesterday in a brief public appearance with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Suicide bombings in Iraq do sometimes result in dramatic death tolls. And their aftereffects tend to show up more often in television footage than, say, the carnage wrought by secretive death squads.
But they're hardly the main weapon afflicting either U.S. soldiers or civilians in Iraq today.
As anyone who monitors the situation in Iraq knows, a vastly greater threat to the 133,000 U.S. troops currently stationed there is posed by improvised explosive devices left along roadsides and elsewhere -- and, to a lesser degree, by gunfire and mortar fire from armed insurgents trying very much to stay alive.
And as far as Iraqi civilians are concerned, the primary security threat these days comes from paramilitary forces committing widespread sectarian murder, unimpeded by anyone in authority.
Recommended reading from Dan Froomkin. He also discusses why this flagrant show of ignorance from the cheerleader in chief has garnered no attention from the media. And worse, the evidence that reporters are so inured to his stupidity that they retool statements for him so that they aren't as... retarded. Then there's the increasingly grim reports from the ground in Iraq, the recent focus on the sheer number of times Fearless Leader has spoken of 'new chapters' and 'turned corners' there, and so on. Solid but disturbing material from the always interesting Froomkin.