Baghdad Yucks


Here's the full text of the Bush-Blair press conference that Nick refs below.

I caught the second half on TV last night. Just when I was beginning to be unusually impressed by both men, Bush had to go and make a tasteless joke. It doesn't really come across in the White House's official transcription, but here's an annotated version.

"We have said all along there needs to be a role for the United Nations. We said so in the Azores. We will keep repeating it. And evidently there's some skepticism here in Europe about whether or not I mean what I say. Saddam Hussein clearly knows I mean what I say. [Cowboy Bush chuckles, momentarily pleased with himself, his joke, and the joy of kicking ass.] And when, you know, we?and people in Iraq will know we mean what we say when we talk about freedom."

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  1. Saddam Hussein knows Bush means what he says. Osama “Dead or Alive” bin Laden, on the other hand, still has his doubts.

  2. Rimensnyder. Doherty. What is it with these Reason people who just keep making little snide comments about our glorious leader. I think they’re anti-semites, to boot.

  3. So, did Bush mean what he said way back when he was talking about a “humble” foreign policy?

  4. did bush say that before or after 3000 Americans were murdered on live television?

  5. There’s nothing more humble than dedicating the lives of your young men to liberate others, while protecting your own citizens. There’s nothing more arrogant and cruel and stupid than failing to act against a bloody dictator when you can.

  6. You know, I’ve always been willing to give Bush the benefit of the doubt (and there’s been plenty of that).
    But I can’t stomach a guy who laughs at his own jokes.

  7. Okay, I’m not a huge fan of Bush, and that comment may well have been in bad taste, but I can’t believe you’ve hopped on the “Cowboy” bandwagon. Do you realize who’s riding with you in that chuckwagon?

    As a yuppie northerner, I’m no cowboy. But since when is “Cowboy” a term of derision aming libertarians? I thought better of you, as writers for Reason. Surely the cowboy image is the personification of the American individualist ideal: himself, his horse, and his guns; self-reliant, going where he pleases, profiting from his own labor, taking sole responsibility for his own and his family’s protection and well-being. The “Bush as a Cowboy” meme has been propagated by leftists who think “Cowboy” is an insult because they sneer at individual initiative and self-reliance.

    Go ahead and call Bush names – Imperialist, Political Opportunist, whatever. But don’t contribute to the muddying of a perfectly respectable lifestyle.

  8. laughs at his own jokes AND a tyrannical oil-stealing baby killer??? he is more evil that Darth Vader.

  9. It’s not the cowboy so much as the I-can’t-believe-he-just-made-such-a-dumbass-remarkedness. Cowboys rely on their steely-eyed stare and keep their damn mouths shut.

    Clint never laughed at his own jokes.

  10. >>There’s nothing more humble than dedicating the lives of your young men to liberate others…

  11. Sven:
    Whoa, imagine if we had Blondie for President.

    Maybe Bush will see the light and kill Cheney along with himself.

  12. touch?, Avdi. Described that way, it’s too bad Bush isn’t *more* of a cowboy….

  13. set:
    Blondie’d be better than Dagwood. God, I crack myself up.

  14. You know, I didn’t vote for the guy and I certainly don’t agree with everything he stands for, but with all the snide, whiny, snarky gainsaying he has had to put up for the last few months regarding Iraq, I’m gonna give him a pass when he makes a joke at the expense of Saddam.

    Especially when he’s using to demonstrate his resolve to do what he says he’ll do.

  15. The problem with the comment wasn’t that it was cowboyish or braggadocious, but that it was really strange and out of left field. He was addressing the point about whether he meant what he said about the UN role. So by making the Saddam comment, is he saying he wants to invade the UN next? And if the Iraqi people are learning he means what he says, just as Saddam is learning it, does that mean he wants to kill the Iraqi people? I don’t think he means either of those things. As Sara noted, Bush had been perfectly measured and statesmanlike up to that point, and then it’s almost like he lost his temper. The genius of Bush is that he hardly ever goes off script. The folly of Bush is that every time he does go off script he says something really fucked up.

  16. Evan, that chickenhawk crap is the most ridiculous anti-war argument there is, topping even the “war for oil” garbage. If you join the military, sooner or later you will probably have to fight. It’s not all about college tuition.

  17. Jim N,

    I know a lot of folks in JAG who never put their finger on a weapon after basic training.

  18. I’d rather deal with the guy who means what he says than that last asshole who didn’t know what the meaning of ‘is’ is.

  19. Bush means what he says? Holy crap, we’re all screwed.

  20. did anybody mention that bush looks like a chimp, has a low IQ, that his grandpa was a nazi and that he can’t pronounce some words correctly? ok, then I just did.

  21. Let’s not forget W’s “Aw-shucks-I don’t-want-to-do-this-but-reluctantly-I-have-to” shtick weeks before the war. Now we get the cock-sure strutting from him.

  22. Did anyone mention that April is fat and has bad breath?

    I guess I win. I went lower with the ad hominem comments than anyone else has.

  23. Could you please not use such foul language up in herre? Thanks!

  24. Too bad the stock market didn’t join in all the high-fiving. Baghdad gives up and it dropped 100 points.

  25. Jim,

    Easy there, killer. You used the chickenhawk canard, not me. (That’s SO last October….) For all I know, Bob could be a veteran of four wars. Are you seriously suggesting that any criticism of where and when and to what purpose our military should be used constitutes a “chicken hawk” argument? I’m not now, nor do I plan to be in the immediate future, a member of the armed forces of America — for which, incidentally, I have far greater respect than I do for most of the civilian government of this country, to say nothing of loudmouths like you and Bob.

    I do, however, feel that glorifying sending our soldiers off to be killed — albeit in small increments — in some never ending succession of thankless “liberation” wars, as “humility” is a profoundly grotesque use of language, to say the least. Also, Bob did not say “our soliders,” he said “our young people,” and though I could be wrong — perhaps he’ll enlighten us — from the tone of his website, I’ll venture a guess that he’s a National Greatness-type who fancies drafting all us worthless twenty-somethings and shipping us off to get some Character and kill Unpleasant Foreigners. Well, I think I’ve already made it clear how I feel about that prospect.

    Since you’ve mentioned it, though, Jim, what do you think of the phenomenon — I’ve read at least two or three stories to this effect so far — of traumatized young Marines who didn’t realize they’d be expected to, you know, fight and kill people? I find this absolutely extraordinary. I can see joining the Navy or the Air Force out of essentially non-martial motives, but I — and most everyone else, I thought — have known since about age four that the Marine Corp is the branch you join if you are particularly EAGER for trigger time. “First to fight,” “Every Marine a rifleman,” etc. What sort of advertising and recruiting has our military been doing to fill the ranks during the lean years where these sort of misconceptions arise? Or are people just more clueless than I assumed?

  26. “What sort of advertising and recruiting has our military been doing to fill the ranks during the lean years where these sort of misconceptions arise?”

    The (now mercifully discontinued) USMC recruiting commercial where the Marine is a D&D-style knight in shining armor who fights a CGI-generated dragon. If you never saw that one, I assure you it really did run for a couple years, and was the most ludicrous depiction of jarhead duties since Clint and Mario van Peebles led a squad of recruits against the Grenadan Republican Guard in Heartbreak Ridge.

  27. Bush is top dog now, so he gets to snark.

    I guess if you don’t like his policies you can always say “Pride Cometh Before The Fall,” and wait for the eventual collapse of his Presidency. And of course there is always that second term jinx for Bush to contend with.

    If you do like him, then that is your “high five” moment. “Woo hoo! Rock on Bush! More Brewskis Dude!!!!”

    I honestly don’t like Bush, however I have as yet to admire a President excepting Washington, so its like Bush is someone I single out. He’s a duplicitous, power-hungry little rat like the rest of those detestable vermin who reside in DC and call themselves Congressmen and Senators.

  28. I thought it was pretty funny.

  29. yeah pretty tasteless all right! howard stern watch out!!!

  30. Evan, I apologize for my tone, but at first glance your post looks very much like the chickenhawk (“You can dedicate yourself to whatever you want, Bob, but you try dedicating _my_ life…”). And if you think that argument is out of style then you should visit the forums at Democratic Underground.

    Our military is under civilian control, and it’s not only up to military members to decide when and where to fight. Even if you oppose liberal wars, you’ll notice Robert added “while protecting your own citizens.” It may be a debatable point whether this war is necessary for America’s security, but I have little doubt that Robert thinks it is. Although it’s not really my business to defend his post.

    As for traumatized marines, I have to go with “clueless”. First of all, consider that with its recruiting the military is a seller of the military lifestyle and the recruit is the customer. It’s expected that the seller is going to advertise in such a way that its product will sell best. Of course, the best way to sell the military lifestyle is to leave out the “kill or be killed” part. It’s the job of the customer to educate himself before he buys. McDonald’s doesn’t spend a lot of time discussing heart failure in their ads. Although if the result is soldiers who don’t want to fight, then it would seem that maybe they should rethink their recruiting tactics.

    But secondly, this may not really be a new phenomenon. It’s one thing to think about shooting a bad guy from a distance, and another to see a dead human body laying on the ground — a body killed by a bullet from your gun. Many people romanticize the mafioso and in fact seem to have a perverted respect for them, but ask them to pull the trigger on a small time shop owner who has failed to pay his protection money and see what they think then.

  31. Actually, I think the fact that Bush means what he says, and says what he means, is what underlies most of the hatred that the elite feels toward him.

    I don’t think that comment was a joke – I believe it was a warning shot fired across the bow of the far more sophisticated, inscrutable Chiraq.

    Don’t forget, one of Osama’s frequent claims, when he was with the living, is that the U.S. was all hat, and no cattle. In other words, we’d talk about fighting terrorism and islamofascist regimes, but we didn’t have the guts to follow through. It’s conventional wisdom to think that this attitude encouraged the attacks on Khobar Towers, the Cole, the Nigerian Embassay, and the two WTC attacks. Sure, Bush’s delivery was snarky, but it had a hell of a lot of content for a little quip.

  32. I think it’s many of the other thing’s W has said and done that has the world nervous. Axis of Evil + Strategic Initiative = Iran and North Korea up next for regime change.

    Or maybe he was just kidding.

  33. omnibus bill,

    It had all of the content of a one-liner from “Arnold.” BTW, you got the wrong embassy. It was the Kenyan and Tanzanian embassies. Oh, and as far the insurance companies are concerned, there was only “one” attack. Best way to limit coverage. Whether Bush’s words have are laden with any truth is of course up for debate.

  34. I thoroughly enjoyed reading everyones opinion on these matters.

  35. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/25/2004 06:36:22
    The professor makes the syllabus, not you.

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