What is it good for
It was impossible last night to avoid the vacant glare of our Commander In Chief. With a press conference being called for 8PM, I had a small amount of dread going all day. Were we officially going to war? Was this going to be it for our hopes of avoiding this whole damn thing?
Of course – and I guess I should’ve seen this coming when I realized it wasn’t a “Bush at desk talking at camera” event, instead a “reporters asking questions” affair – it wasn’t. It wasn’t even close. In fact, Bush really didn’t say anything new, interesting, or enlightening during the whole affair.
But as an appetizer to self-destruction (ooh, quasi-GNR reference), we got 10 minutes of Bush yammering. Accusations about “moving chemical weapons” or “bugged interview rooms” lead me to think, “If we know so much about where the weapons are, WHY DON’T WE TELL THE INSPECTORS THIS?”
Then we get to the questions, and I have to hand it to Bush – I’ve never seen ANYONE dodge questions as well as he can. Not even Clinton during the Monica stupidity. Observe, as I quote the most relevant sections from Bush’s response that I can:
If all these nations, all of them our normal allies, have access to the same intelligence information, why is it that they are reluctant to think that the threat is so real, so imminent that we need to move to the brink of war now?
We do communicate a lot, and we will continue to communicate a lot. We must communicate. We must share intelligence; we must share — we must cut off money together; we must smoke these al Qaeda types out one at a time. It’s in our national interest, as well, that we deal with Saddam Hussein.
How would — sir, how would you answer your critics who say that they think this is somehow personal? As Senator Kennedy put it tonight, he said your fixation with Saddam Hussein is making the world a more dangerous place.
I believe Saddam Hussein is a threat to the American people. I believe he’s a threat to the neighborhood in which he lives. And I’ve got a good evidence to believe that. He has weapons of mass destruction, and he has used weapons of mass destruction, in his neighborhood and on his own people. He’s invaded countries in his neighborhood. He tortures his own people. He’s a murderer. He has trained and financed al Qaeda-type organizations before, al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. I take the threat seriously, and I’ll deal with the threat. I hope it can be done peacefully.
Mr. President, good evening. If you order war, can any military operation be considered a success if the United States does not capture Saddam Hussein, as you once said, dead or alive?
I hope we don’t have to go to war, but if we go to war, we will disarm Iraq. And if we go to war, there will be a regime change. And replacing this cancer inside of Iraq will be a government that represents the rights of all the people, a government which represents the voices of the Shia and Sunni and the Kurds.
Sir, I’m sorry, is success contingent upon capturing or killing Saddam Hussein, in your mind?
We will be changing the regime of Iraq, for the good of the Iraqi people.
Thank you, Mr. President. As you said, the Security Council faces a vote next week on a resolution implicitly authorizing an attack on Iraq. Will you call for a vote on that resolution, even if you aren’t sure you have the vote?
Well, first, I don’t think — it basically says that he’s in defiance of 1441. That’s what the resolution says. And it’s hard to believe anybody is saying he isn’t in defiance of 1441, because 1441 said he must disarm. And, yes, we’ll call for a vote.
And then, there was the best question of the night, which he completely sidestepped:
Mr. President, millions of Americans can recall a time when leaders from both parties set this country on a mission of regime change in Vietnam. Fifty thousand Americans died. The regime is still there in Hanoi, and it hasn’t harmed or threatened a single American in the 30 years since the war ended. What can you say tonight, sir, to the sons and the daughters of the Americans who served in Vietnam to assure them that you will not lead this country down a similar path in Iraq?
That’s a great question. Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament. And in order to disarm, it would mean regime change. I’m confident we’ll be able to achieve that objective, in a way that minimizes the loss of life. No doubt there’s risks in any military operation; I know that. But it’s very clear what we intend to do. And our mission won’t change. Our mission is precisely what I just stated. We have got a plan that will achieve that mission, should we need to send forces in.
In other words, no, Bob, he doesn’t have anything to assure people this won’t be another Vietnam.
And for the love of all that is holy, he snubbed Helen!
This all comes when Hans Blix is saying inspectors need more time.
This comes when Britain is scrambling to gather allies in this whole thing, which we seem very disinterested in.
This comes when there are virtual protests, school walkouts, and what seems like weekly protests in Washington.
Please, Bush, stand down.
Made them disabled bitter and mean
Life is too precious to be fighting wars each day
War can’t give life it can only take it away
On a side note, I fully recommend everyone go and read whitehouse.org before the White House legal team tries to bully it further.