Best of the Press Conference

Over at LRC blog, Jeffrey Tucker is kind enough to round up some of the gems from the prez’s Q & occasionally A session last night. I’ll just go through a few with my knee-jerk ripostes in italics:

*They’re [Iraqis] not happy they’re occupied. I wouldn’t be happy if I were occupied either.
Another reason to keep Dick Cheney on staff, no?

*I want to know why we haven’t found a weapon yet.
Hey, car bombs, mines, RPGs, and Kalashnikovs are weapons, too, and “we” have found plenty of those–right in “our” faces.

*One of my hardest parts of my job is to console the family members who have lost their life.
Bush Iraq military funeral attendance count: 0.

*This is a war against people who have no guilt in killing innocent people. That’s what they’re willing to do.
No comment; just a gaping jaw.

*I have directed our military commanders to make every preparation to use decisive force, if necessary, to maintain order and to protect our troops.
Maintain, v.: To keep up or carry on; continue; to keep in an existing state; preserve or retain; to keep in a condition of good repair or efficiency.

*There’s a terror still in the soul of some of the people in Iraq; they’re worried about getting killed, and, therefore, they’re not going to talk [about the location of WMD].
Tell us more of these people who are surely in U.S. custody (or could be) and whom they’re afraid of being killed by.

*My job as the President is to lead this nation into making the world a better place. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Nope, nothing about saving the world. Maybe he thinks he’s Bono or Miss America.

A Little Honey with the Vinegar

I was rather hard on William Tucker in today’s Collateral Damage, with good reason, but I also pointed out a few good moments in his essay “Call It a Democracy and the Hell With It.” One passage I didn’t quote certainly merits kudos:

    The entire Vietnam War was fought on the premise that we were creating a little “island of freedom” in Southeast Asia, that we could surgically distinguish between guerrillas and civilians, that we were winning the “hearts and minds of the people,” that the war could be “Vietnamized” by propping up a local constabulary (which is only hated all the more for collaborating with the enemy), and that putting in just another 100,000 to 250,000 troops would finish do the job.

    Many conservatives still live with the fond illusion that if we had only “put everything we had” into Vietnam, we could have “won the war.” What is this supposed to mean? Sure we could have leveled the country and everything in it, but “pacifying” it? That would have meant staying another 30 years.

I have heard this line my entire life–the hippie protesters/liberal politicians/Communist media kept us from winning! And it’s complete BS, as I recognized some time around, oh, my ninth birthday. The sort of “winning” referred to simply means defeating the NVA/Viet Cong at any cost, which would have meant the utter annihilation of Vietnam and its neighbors. That would have been hard to sell as liberation, even for Henry Kissinger. So props to Tucker for having the guts to point that out, even though I still think he’s a kook.

Albright seeks profits in occupied Kosovo?

Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was unversally acknowledged as a major advocate of intervention in the Balkans, from her sponsorship of the Hague Inquisition to her drive for the bombing of Serbia in 1999.
Now officially retired from politics, Albright has a lucrative “consultancy” business. According to a Belgrade-based news agency Inet (scroll down to the entry “17:20”), the Albright Group, LLC will “advise” the board of Ipko Net, a Kosovo (Albanian) ISP seeking a mobile telephony concession in the occupied province. Here is the text of the report, translated by Inet: Continue reading “Albright seeks profits in occupied Kosovo?”

Shorter Bush Presser

A Busy Person’s Guide to the Bush Press Conference

Since most people don’t like to watch an hour of Bush on television (and for some reason I don’t mind even though it drives me nuts), I decided to boil down the questions and answers from tonight’s press conference in the East Room of the White House to their bare essentials. The questioners (Q:) are not identified. All answers (A:) are (paraphrases) from George W. Bush. (transcript of the conference)

Thanks, criticalviewer!

Via Billmon’s Whiskey Bar

Taste of Democracy

Afghanistan is about to get its first taste of true western-style democracy since the overthrow of the Taliban government. Holding a presidential election? No, that can wait. Drawing up a constitution? No, that can wait. Ah, but paying taxes? Now that’s at the top of the agenda!! So as we here in the United States grind out our last minute income tax returns, it is heartwarming to know that the people of Afghanistan will soon be joining us in doing the same thing. Just one big happy family.

    KABUL: After suffering through years of war, drought and poverty, Afghans will soon face another trial – income tax. Personal income tax is one of a range of taxation reforms being introduced by the country, one of the poorest in the world, to help fill the coffers of the central government, a high-ranking official said. … read more

Both Sides Agree: Give Us More Money!

I can’t watch the 9/11 hearings anymore. Everyone testifying, and every talking head and pundit, have agreed on one thing. The bureaucrats can’t do their jobs because they don’t have enough money. And people are buying it!

This is the standard cry of every bureaucrat since the beginning of time. “We need to steal more of your money to take better care of you.” One would think that people would catch on.