The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, May 24, 2007

"Let's get stupid!"

This isn't going to be a big day for posting because I'm entering vacation mode in anticipation of the long weekend. But I wouldn't want to head into it without just one more hideously depressing reminder of how insane the political state of our nation is under BushCo. Go ahead... it's only wafer-thin.

Q Mr. President, a new Senate report this morning contends that your administration was warned before the war that by invading Iraq you would actually give Iran and al Qaeda a golden opportunity to expand their influence, the kind of influence you were talking about with al Qaeda yesterday, and with Iran this morning. Why did you ignore those warnings, sir?

the president: Ed, going into Iraq we were warned about a lot of things, some of which happened, some of which didn't happen. And, obviously, as I made a decision as consequential as that, I weighed the risks and rewards of any decision.

(Translation: I'm not going to answer you, but I will feign concern. Next?)

I could've told them that would happen for a fried baloney sandwich (and not even a $500 billion baloney sandwich), along with millions of other Americans who aren't even Middle East specialists. The above exchange, from today's Rose Garden press conference, led to an entire series of serious-minded questions which met with the carefully reasoned and thoughtful answers we've come to expect from America's worst president.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. You say you want nothing short of victory, that leaving Iraq would be catastrophic; you once again mentioned al Qaeda. Does that mean that you are willing to leave American troops there, no matter what the Iraqi government does? I know this is a question we've asked before, but you can begin it with a "yes" or "no."

the president: We are there at the invitation of the Iraqi government. This is a sovereign nation. Twelve million people went to the polls to approve a constitution. It's their government's choice. If they were to say, leave, we would leave.

Q -- catastrophic, as you've said over and over again?

the president: I would hope that they would recognize that the results would be catastrophic. This is a sovereign nation, Martha. We are there at their request.

(Translation: The most important challenge we face in Iraq is maintaining a number of face-saving options in the face of epic failure.)

Q Mr. President, after the mistakes that have been made in this war, when you do as you did yesterday, where you raised two-year-old intelligence, talking about the threat posed by al Qaeda, it's met with increasing skepticism. The majority in the public, a growing number of Republicans, appear not to trust you any longer to be able to carry out this policy successfully. Can you explain why you believe you're still a credible messenger on the war?

the president: I'm credible because I read the intelligence, David, and make it abundantly clear in plain terms that if we let up, we'll be attacked. And I firmly believe that.

Look, this has been a long, difficult experience for the American people. I can assure you al Qaeda, who would like to attack us again, have got plenty of patience and persistence. And the question is, will we?

Yes, I talked about intelligence yesterday. I wanted to make sure the intelligence I laid out was credible, so we took our time. Somebody said, well, he's trying to politicize the thing. If I was trying to politicize it, I'd have dropped it out before the 2006 elections. I believe I have an obligation to tell the truth to the American people as to the nature of the enemy. And it's unpleasant for some. I fully recognize that after 9/11, in the calm here at home, relatively speaking, caused some to say, well, maybe we're not at war. I know that's a comfortable position to be in, but that's not the truth.

(Untranslatable. But along the lines of "I'm not going to answer your question, but let me assure you that we must continue destabilizing the Middle East and radicalizing its people if we want to be safe from the threat of a destabilized and radicalized Middle East." Oh, and did you know there's a war on?)

And the surge? The one that started was announced in January? How's that going?

the president: But I want to remind you as to why I sent more troops in. It was to help stabilize the capital. You're asking me how much longer; we have yet to even get all our troops in place. . . And as I explained in my opening remarks, all the troops won't be there until mid-June. And one reason you're seeing more fighting is because our troops are going into new areas, along with the Iraqis. And so General Petraeus has said, why don't you give us until September and let me report back, to not only me, but to the United States Congress, about progress.

Five months to increase the number of troops by 10%?!? That's more of a dribble, I'm afraid. General Petraeus? Anything to add?

May 16, 2007: "Come September, I don’t think we’ll have anything definitive in September (although) certainly we’ll have some indicators on the political side in Iraq."

Oh. But there must be some brilliant strategery behind the decision to pull men and equipment out of Afghanistan, where Osama himself was hiding, right? What's your next move in this deadly game of cat and mouse Decider/Commander Guy?

Q Mr. President, why is he still at large?

the president: Why is he at large? Because we haven't got him yet, Jim. That's why. And he's hiding, and we're looking, and we will continue to look until we bring him to justice. We've brought a lot of his buddies to justice, but not him. That's why he's still at large. He's not out there traipsing around, he's not leading many parades, however. He's not out feeding the hungry. He's isolated, trying to kill people to achieve his objective.

(Translation: I'm completely, irrevocably, batshit insane and should've been shut away in a rubber room years ago-- instead, you're all taking me completely seriously. On the other hand, "He's at large because he isn't in jail" is the most coherent thing I've said in quite a while, so I can see how you might continue to mistake me for a rational adult.)