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Friday, September 24, 2004

Too bizarre for words

The Bush-Allawi press conference was so surreal I would have thought that everyone's watch would have gone limp and draped itself over a White House balcony. Like Zell Miller at the Repug convention, Bush and Allawi stood there and boldly told lie after lie after lie, proudly proclaiming their failures as successes, calling the people they are supposedly liberating "enemies" and "terrorists," calling increasing violence "improving security," and so on.

Allawi: Our intelligence is getting better every day. You have seen that in the successful resolution of the Najaf crisis and in the targeted attacks against insurgents in Fallujah.
Yeah, successful resolution:

Not to mention the "targeted attacks" against that ambulance in Fallujah which killed the driver, the paramedic, and the five passengers.
Allawi: In 15 out of 18 Iraqi provinces, the security situation is good for elections to be held tomorrow.
Juan Cole answers that ridiculous assertion.
Q Mr. President, you say today that the work in Iraq is tough and will remain tough. And, yet, you travel this country and a central theme of your campaign is that America is safer because of the invasion of Iraq. Can you understand why Americans may not believe you?

PRESIDENT BUSH: No. Anybody who says that we are safer with Saddam Hussein in power is wrong. We went into Iraq because Saddam Hussein defied the demands of the free world. We went into Iraq after diplomacy had failed. And we went into Iraq because I understand after September the 11th we must take threats seriously, before they come to hurt us.
I'd say that Bush is fairly convincing here. I have no doubt that he doesn't understand--I believe his "No." It takes intellect and an open mind to understand such things.

To his credit, NBC's Jim Gregory presses Bush, just to make sure that he doesn't understand:
Q Sir, may I just follow, because I don't think you're really answering the question. I mean, I think you're responding to Senator Kerry, but there are beheadings regularly, the insurgent violence continues, and there are no weapons of mass destruction. My question is, can you understand that Americans may not believe you when you say that America is actually safer today?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Imagine a world in which Saddam Hussein were still in power. This is a man who harbored terrorists -- Abu Abbas, Abu Nidal, Zarqawi. This is a man who was a sworn enemy of the United States of America. This is a man who used weapons of mass destruction. Going from tyranny to democracy is hard work, but I think the argument that says that Saddam Hussein -- if Saddam Hussein were still in power, we'd be better off is wrong.
Look here, numbskull. I've lived the majority of my life in a world in which Saddam Hussein was in power. I don't need to "imagine" it; I can recall it. And while it was certainly no picnic, especially for Iraqis, it is certainly arguable that things were better for a lot of people then than they are now. Certainly your buddy Rumsfeld saw some advantage in not only keeping Saddam in power, but increasing his power, and both your father and vice pResident gave fairly convincing arguments for why they chose to leave Saddam in power in 1991. You, you lame-brained sadistic idiot, have taken a bad situation and made it much worse.

And, when the press gets a little better, Bush gets a lot worse:
Q Sir, I'd like you answer Senator Kerry and other critics who accuse you of hypocrisy or opportunism when, on the one hand, you put so much stock in the CIA when it said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and now say it is just guessing when it paints a pessimistic picture of the political transition.


Q And I like to, if you don't mind, follow on something the Prime Minister just said. If General Abizaid says he needs more troops and the Prime Minister says he does not want more troops, who wins?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Let me talk to General Abizaid. As I said, he just came in to see me, and I want to make sure -- I'm not suggesting any of the reporters here might be taking something out of context -- that would never happen in America. But, nevertheless, I do want to sit down and talk to him about it. Obviously, we can work this out. It's in the -- if our commanders on the ground feels it's in the interest of the Iraq citizens to provide more troops, we'll talk about it. That's -- that's why -- they're friends; that's what we do about friends.

First part of the question -- oh, yes, yes --

Q They say you've been opportunistic --

PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes, got it. Listen, the other day I was asked about the NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE, which is a National Intelligence Estimate. This is a report that talks about possibilities about what can happen in Iraq, not probabilities. I used an unfortunate word, "guess." I should have used, "estimate." And the CIA came and said, this is a possibility, this is a possibility, and this is a possibility. But what's important for the American people to hear is reality. And the reality is right here in the form of the Prime Minister. And he is explaining what is happening on the ground. That's the best report. And this report was written in July, and now we are here in September, and as I said, "estimate" would have been a better word.
Glad he cleared that up.

I can't do this anymore; if you need a good chuckle or outrage, YOU can read the rest of the transcript.