Bush Speaks, and Speaks


Can anybody tell me what the purpose of tonight's press conference was?


NEXT: Dim and Dimmer

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  1. Well, I know my “crap or get off the pot” meter has been redlining for the last few weeks.

    Maybe it’s all part of a crafty plan to get us to throw up our hands and say “whatever!!! just get it over with for the love of god!!!”

  2. That upcoming war might have something to do with it… or were you not paying attention?

  3. This had absolutely nothing to do with the words coming out of his mouth, and everything to do with his tone. It was a clearly scripted, coached, and rehearsed effort to modulate his voice to sound depressed about the ‘necessity’ of GulfWar 2.0.

    Obviously to counter the global impression that he’s a belligerent warmonger chomping at the metaphorical bit to invade Iraq under any pretext he can find. What he did instead was illustrate that he has zero sensitivity to his appearance of utter ignorance through his continued and frequent use of the word ‘nuke-u-lar’…

  4. Dan, you are probably not the sort to pay terribly close attention to the changes which have rung since 1953, but it’s alright, neither is Tommy Franks, so I’ll illuminate the issue for you.
    First, being in possesion of a couple of nukes doesn’t mean you ‘have The Bomb’. They don’t breed on their own, you have to build your stockpile one at a time. N. Korea may or may not have a half-dozen or so warheads, believe it or not, you really can’t threaten the U.S. with this sort of arsenal. Nuclear weapons are only weapons if they are USED! Until then, they are souveniers.
    This is not to say we should laugh off Kim’s bluster; he is by all appearances a total lunatic. This is why:
    Second, we can and SHOULD pull the plug on the North. Legally this is not a problem as we are still technically at war with Looneyland. Morally we are still in the clear as we do, in fact, have an interest in stopping the buildup before it goes too far. Logistically we’re golden. South Korea will do exactly as it’s told. So will Japan. The Chinese are too busy trading with the U.S. to give a shit about the fraternal commie brotherhood. If you don’t believe that, ask the Maoists in Nepal how much China cares. Russia will make noise, which is about what it’s good for these days.
    While we’re at it, who’s saying anything about 750,000 troops? That’s the big, stupid kind of war. Smart and quiet is a distraction on the DMZ followed by paratroopers in Pyongyang.
    Finally, North Korea’s army is waaaaaaayyyyyy over-rated as a fighting force. Like any commie army, their main tactic is human-wave assault. In a standup fight we’d zap them like ants. On the other hand, they’re waaaayyyy under-rated as terrorists. North Korea breeds fanatical agents like guppies. Every so often, they plunge into the South and fight to the last man.
    They are nuts, but not scary. They’re thugs, but total goners if they tangle for real. Believe me, China, Russia, Japan,. . . they’d much prefer the U.S. for a little while to those psychos forever.

  5. James IS SO RIGHT…part of the script for the depressed & serious President routine was also for him to constantly insert, “and I hope there is no war” and “if war is necessary” and “I want peace.” The PROBLEM THIS PEACENIK ACT SHOWS is how incredibly INCOMPETENT this administration is. Any GenXer has more knowledge of marketing from growing up with television…for instance, how would the master Ronald Reagan disgustingly but successfully sell something like this?…It would be Rah, rah, rah, shining city on a hill, come on team, we can win this one and it will turn out all right, it’s going to change the world, don’t worry be happy.

    This is also part of their problem with the economy, by the way. Simply a positive word here or there would do wonders for their supposed supporters on Wall Street and in CEO land. Have you heard any?

    THIS IS ACTUALLY THE MAIN THING THAT SCARES ME ABOUT OCCUPYING IRAQ–every day and in every way they prove themselves to be incompetents in even executing what they want to do!

    A final ironic thought–folks old enough to remember Spiro Agnew will remember “nattering nabobs of negativism”. What goes around comes around.

  6. This was, “we are going to war,” without having to give the opening date/time for the initial salvo. Line has been crossed, it’s on, just tune into CNN for when the non-noflyzone bombs start dropping. Should be in the next week. Huahh.

  7. I think its pretty clear that the press conference was to announce that Bush is going to force a UN vote now and then invade Iraq very soon. Would you not expect at least a press conference for that?

    anti-bush – I agree. I demand that we be herded in a different direction immediately.

  8. Am I living in Crazyland? Not only are we beating a pathetically broken-down horse (Iraq), but we are telling fairy-tales about tea parties with ‘Dear Leader’.
    Has it crossed anyone else’s mind that boxing gloves with Hussein and kid gloves with Kim is an almost perfect reversal of common sense? Does anyone else think we’ll be at war with N. Korea the moment we evacuate the DMZ and are up to our ears in Iraqi blood (and thus safely distracted from Dear Leader’s land-grab)?
    How many die this time?
    Fuq Iraq, we have other problems just now.

  9. Man, I wish I was a missile/bomb manufacturer right now. What a great year this will be! Hooyah! Now if that damned belly acher Kim Il Jong would just invade SoKo… Wooohooo, then I’d be rolling in the dough!

  10. Has it crossed anyone else’s mind that boxing gloves with Hussein and kid gloves with Kim is an almost perfect reversal of common sense?

    It hasn’t crossed the minds of people who’ve actually thought about North Korea for more than the length of one of Gary Hart’s speeches.

    North Korea probably already has nukes; at the very least they’re strongly hinting that they have them. Given that they also have missiles that can reach several hundred million people, provoking them would be a colossally stupid gamble. That’s really enough reason not to whip out the “boxing gloves”, but there’s more.

    We can’t use “boxing gloves” on North Korea because there’s nowhere to use them from. South Korea flat-out will not agree to let us stage an invasion from there — not that we’d want to, since we’d be guaranteed to lose tens of thousands of men, at least, storming across the most heavily-fortified border on Earth. That leaves China and Russia. China might be persuaded to not enter the war on North Korea’s side (although I doubt it), but in any case there is no way in hell they’ll let us put hundreds of thousands of troops in their country. That leaves Russia. Raise your hand if you think Russia will let us put hundreds of thousands of troops in their territory so we can invade a neighbor they’re currently at peace with. Anyone? So, what, then? An amphibious invasion from Okinawa, with 750,000 men? Because let’s not forget that the North Korean army is in much better shape than Iraq’s.

    So we see that military action is completely out of the question. That leaves sanctions, which North Korea has stated it will view as an act of war. So what, then? That leaves bribery (unacceptable) and the Silent Treatment. We’re opting for the latter; it’s the only sane choice available right now. With a little luck the North Korean regime will fall apart on its own.

    We’re dealing with Iraq because we CAN deal with Iraq. The insistance that we must deal with North Korea first is as ridiculous as the claim that we must solve the Palestinian problem first. Obsessing over the solution to all-but-impossible problems while an easily-solvable problem festers and grows is monumentally stupid.

  11. Reply to “Another Dan”,

    Let’s simplify it for you. Do you think that Bush’s scripted, memorized talking-points performance changed anyone’s mind about Iraq in this country or any other? My point was it was a lousy script and lousy talking points, not at all, for example, what the Gipper & friends would have done. The Bushies don’t know how to sell anything, they are negative about everything.

    OUR MILITARY did a superb job in Afghanistan, they planned it and executed it, and the Bushies did not need to sell it, the whole world was waiting for it to be done. The Bush political administration, not the military, then decided they want to go after Iraq. They have in the process managed to alienate a majority of the world population, and get entangled in a mess with NATO and with the UN.

    Running Iraq after an invasion is not going to be an operation that the military likes to do or wants to do. They will do the best the can, but it is going to be directed by the Bushies, who cannot even at this late date script the President to win over a few souls. I am not optimistic, why should I be, they don’t sound optimistic, they sound sad and frustrated.

    Get it now?

  12. Dan-Bush could have picked up the phone (or better yet, actually travelled to a foreign country) before all this dusted up. He set an insulting tone to both North and South Korea from the day he took office. He has refused to even talk to them.

    As for the prime time press conference, the only thing I can figure is that it was a payback by the networks for airing the Saddam interview. There was zero news to be had.

  13. The purpose of the Bush conference was to give a good lead-in to Jack Straw’s actually interesting, informative, and amusing press conference. Think of the US as an opener band for the UK.

  14. Dammit, I was away from home last night and my tivo taped that stupid speech.

  15. Both Dans are correct–well said, guys.

  16. Bush was a little stoned, no? He looked way too mellow, and had trouble completing his thoughts.

  17. Bush was a little stoned, no? He looked way too mellow, and had trouble completing his thoughts.

  18. 911 was a criminal act, one of many terrorist acts over the past 100 years or so. Rather than treat it as such, Bush declared “war” on terrorism (tourism?), neglecting the little fact that he needed a country instead of an idea to attack. Quick on his feet, he first picked Afghanistan and now Iraq, ignoring for the time being that 15 of the terrorists came from Saudi Arabia. The menu of evil, hostile countries to be attacked next is long and getting longer.

    Diplomacy is for wimps. Shoot first and ask questions later. You’re either with us or against us.

    This is just fucking beautiful.

  19. The purpose? Um, yes: The purpose was to give a short speech and field questions from reporters at a critical moment in American history.

    Now, there’s plenty of room for debate on the execution of the press conference, and whether it was successful or not. But the purpose itself was quite clear.

    Of course, “snarky” seems to have replaced “cogent” around these parts lately, so it’s not surprising the question would be framed this way. Maybe we’re supposed to be snarky too. Like, how long until all the text around here is crammed into a narrow, unreadable column running down the middle of each page? That would suck.

  20. Lefty: Have any you ever read the book “The Prince”?

    Other Anti-Bush/Anti-War types here: What is your solution then? Attack North Korea, Pakistan and the Saudis?

    Or do nothing, recite spoken word about Mumia and quote Chomsky while the terrorists grow stong again and nuke us?

  21. Press conference also sets up negotiating position at UN and (albeit unintended) good cop/bad cop scenario.

    With respect to North Korea, agree in part with Dan, but also suggest that neighboring countries not only impact attack launch but also approach:

    In the case of North Korea, we see democratic South Korea and Japan and a mongo-China that we’ll need to get along with and say “OK, you can become like them.”

    Whereas in Iraq, the position seems increasingly like “We don’t want you to become like most of your neighbors (Saudi Arabia, Iran), so we’re going for a regime change and making sure that our fingerprint’s all over it.”

    Poor wording — but you get the idea.

    But yes, an underwhelming press conference.

  22. Anon – Black – white, good – evil, attack or “do nothing”. Were life so simple.

  23. Hey “Another Dan”:
    I generally agree with you, but your emotional response to Clinton’s actions cannot stand in the same message with your rationalization of Bush’s actions. They are inconsistent: If it is your requirement that the American administration pre-emptively act to defend American interests without full communication to the citizens or the rest of the world, then you CANNOT oppose the cruise missle attacks by the Clinton administration. IIRC, the Afghanistan Tomahawk destroyed al-Quaeda assets. Given what was known in 1998 (when 9-11 was not anticipated across the bulk of people and al-Quaeda was unknown to most), I’d say that’s a far better mark on the resume for Clinton than anyone, Republican or Democrat, had given him at the time.

  24. Lefty:
    Dont’ dodge. Terrorism is a problem. Do you deny this?

    If not, then what is the Left’s solution, if not attack Iraq???

    I make an agrument that attacking Iraq is logical (in a Machiavellian sense) to forcing other regimes to help us with the War on Terror. If your argument is “war bad, peace good” who is being simplistic?

  25. War starts at midnight!

    11 central over most of these Fox, Viacom, Disney, and GE stations.

  26. “Forcing” other countries, especially in public, is not polite.

    Unfortunately, the Bush-league (pun intended) political tactics of muscling people into corners are the only ones Shrub has to work with. You might win the battle this way but you will surely lose the war.

  27. Lefty:
    Oh grow up! And go read “The Prince” while you are at it.

    (actually Lefty I like you for some reason, so don’t take this the wrong way, but sometimes your posts are very naive)

  28. Smooch!

    Amazon.com just got an order. Here’s an excerpt of one of the reviews of “The Prince”.

    “Its essential contribution to modern political thought lies in Machiavelli’s assertion of the then revolutionary idea that theological and moral imperatives have no place in the political arena. “It must be understood,” Machiavelli avers, “that a prince … cannot observe all of those virtues for which men are reputed good, because it is often necessary to act against mercy, against faith, against humanity, against frankness, against religion, in order to preserve the state.” With just a little imagination, readers can discern parallels between a 16th-century principality and a 20th-century presidency.”

    Thanks, Anon. I’m always looking for a good read. May I suggest “1000 Years of Solitude” to you?

  29. Dan describes one of the US’s options in North Korea thus:

    bribery (unacceptable)

    Really? If it’s acceptable to shoot Iraqis because they won’t do what the US wants — and I don’t deny that it might very well be acceptable — why is it not acceptable to pay the NKs to do what the US wants?

    There are sensible (though not irrebuttable) practical arguments against paying off the NKs — it won’t work; it’ll encourage others to do the same. But the moral argument seems half-baked when the alternative is violence.

  30. Mr. Bush has a one-track mind, and that is because he is bent on war, and a regime change. When asked specific questions about what he thought about the millions upon millions of humans actually WORRIED about war, I answered the question before he did, with the same old “freedom and democracy” and “they hate what we stand for” garbage, much to the delight and shared laughter of those of us sharing this comedy show. He is so repetitive and ignorant of the way America should be, and HAS BEEN, and COULD BE AGAIN, that I truly get nauseated and depressed about it all…sigh…here we go. Well, at least some of us can look in the mirror at ourselves…

  31. Another Dan wrote:
    “The events of 9/11 – which the anti-bushies seem to forget – changed the dynamic of dealing with any foreign entity that logically would seem bent on harming US citizens.”

    This is simply not true. We cannot ethically attack another country that has not attacked us. This is simple. “Logically seem would seem bent on harming” does not cut the mustard.

    September 11 was a terrible thing, but other terrible things have happened in the past, and will in the future. If every country that suffered something horrible threw away its ethics, few countries would retain them.

    To counter-attack is justifiable. To pre-emptively attack is unethical. As Truman said, “You don’t ‘prevent’ anything by war…except peace.”

    Mighty “I hate it when I have to agree with the French” Chip

  32. mightychip,

    “We cannot ethically attack another country that has not attacked us.”

    Thank God you’ve cleared that up. However, those that argue from the standpoint of reality might point out that a madman and his gang of thugs are brutally repressing a great many people while working toward becoming a nuclear power. I thought there was some discussion in ethics which dealt with the duty of the powerful to defend the powerless, but I must be wrong.

    “You don’t ‘prevent’ anything by war…except peace.”

    What? War has prevented, and will continue to prevent, a great many things. US involvment in World War 2, if you’ve heard of it, prevented the Nazis from controlling controlling Europe.


    Given the moniker you’ve chosen, I find it hard to imagine you are a fair judge of how good a job Bush is doing swaying anyone through rational argument. However, I would like to applaud the originality of your stance. Given the left-wing’s and the tin-foil hat right’s constant assertion that Bush administration owns the evil corpporate press, it is refreshing to see some irrational ranting based on how poor Bush’s propaganda is.

  33. Another James wrote, in weak response to mightychip:

    ” ‘We cannot ethically attack another country that has not attacked us.’

    Thank God you’ve cleared that up. However, those that argue from the standpoint of reality might point out that a madman and his gang of thugs are brutally repressing a great many people while working toward becoming a nuclear power.”

    Of course, no one says Saddam is nice, and you don’t address my point: it’s not ethical to attack someone who hasn’t attacked you. You can take action, and Bush is right that something needs to be done. But a pre-emptive war is simply not ethical. “Reality” doesn’t demand a war, there are plenty of other alternatives, including things like harsher sanctions (yes). Given that the problem has lasted so long.

    The “brutally repressing a great many people while working toward becoming a nuclear power” argument can be recognized as particularly vacuous when we look around and see all the countries that are doing exactly the same things that Saddam does and get no attention–much less threat of war. North Korea is the easy example, but hardly the only one.

    Bush is right insofar that Iraq must be dealt with, but given the fact that no serious effort has been made for many years to pursue an alternate path, there is simply no ethical cause for war at present.

    This, of course, is my main point, and Another Jim doesn’t refute it by changing the subject.

  34. mightychip,

    Perhaps you didn’t read my whole post, or maybe you have a brain tumor or you are naturally stupid, so I’ll forgive your obtuseness. Given the idiocy of your initial argument, I should have expected it, so maybe it’s my fault. I will restate my point in terms any chip, mighty or not, should be able to understand:

    There is more to be said about the ethical problem of invading Iraq than “Mommy, he hit me first.” The first and most obvious of the counter arguments is that Iraq and the US are not individuals, and thinking of them as such is pointless. The second is that there are a group of people living semi-lives in a brutal hell-on-Earth imposed by a gang of thugs in the area we call Iraq, and there is an ethical question about whether those who can help them have a duty to help them. In light of that, saying:

    “We cannot ethically attack another country that has not attacked us. This is simple.”

    is sheer moral, ethical, and intellectual idiocy.

    There are legitimate arguments against the war. You haven’t made one.

  35. mightychip:

    Iraq lost a war of agression and has failed to honor a ceasefire agreement. We are technically still at war with Iraq. If Iraq had never invaded another country, your position would be theorectically correct, although we have, in collaboration with the world community, frequently made war in the past in response to brutality and genocide, as well as the advance of communism.

    You are naive.

  36. I find it pathetic that so many in this coutry are so firghtened that they have willingly given up basic liberties without a second thought.

    They say that 9/11 “changed everything”. I guess they believe that the founding fathers had no understanding of terrorism, and now suddenly pre-emptive war is honorable, ends justify means, and the Constitution only works during times of peace.


  37. Lets forget about foreign policy. I just graduated with a mechanical engineering degree and have to compete with hundereds of others for a job, so I am working at subway till I find an opportunity. I dont believe Bush is to blame, however a few who control his appointed cronys are controlling and directing this country to serve those whom really, really need help the most! The 1% at the top. We needed that oil, and
    when it is finally dissolved the corporate oil whores who have bought the alternative energy research and patents up, will then allow us to use the environmentally freindly technology that weve had since the 90’s to drive our solar powered SUV’s through smog and earthquake rubble while wearing oxygen maskes and blasting nuclear powered air conditioners.

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