Good Morning, Mr. President, You've Got a Message.

Apr 23 2007 Published by under Uncategorized

Reality called. He's wondering if you're ever going to get back in touch.

Earlier today, the President met with Gen. Petraeus (the commander of all forces in Iraq) in the Oval Office. The media was there for the photo op, and the President took a couple of questions. His answers were nothing short of amazing - they were hysterically amusing, right up until the point when I remembered that this guy really is the President, and really does have access to launch codes. The first of the two questions covered the supplemental war funding bill, and the second covered the Attorney General's amazing Senate testimony.

In response to the Iraq funding question, the President had this to say:

I believe strongly that politicians in Washington shouldn't be telling generals how to do their job. And I believe artificial timetables of withdrawal would be a mistake. An artificial timetable of withdrawal would say to an enemy, just wait them out; it would say to the Iraqis, don't do hard things necessary to achieve our objectives; and it would be discouraging for our troops. And therefore I will strongly reject an artificial timetable withdrawal and/or Washington politicians trying to tell those who wear the uniform how to do their job.

That's a 90 word answer. In that 90 word answer, the President twice said that he was opposed "Washington politicians" telling soldiers how to do their job. Twice.

Let's review: President Bush is the one who proposed the surge. President Bush, in explaining his reasoning for this, pointed out that he is the "decider" on matters like this. President Bush is the President of the United States. He is an elected political figure - a politician. And he said that Washington politicians shouldn't tell the generals how to do their job while standing in the Oval Office, which is located in Washington, D.C.

In response to the Gonzo questioning, the President said this:

The Attorney General went up and gave a very candid assessment, and answered every question he could possibly answer, honestly answer, in a way that increased my confidence in his ability to do the job.

The man couldn't recall things more than 70 times during his testimony. He said at one point that he now "understood" that he had met with you. His memory was so bad that it makes you wonder if he spends most of the time sitting in a pot on the windowsill over at Justice, with a sign taped to his stem reminding staffers to periodically rotate him to face the sun. And this increased your confidence in him?? What would it take to decrease it?

10 responses so far

  • Scott Belyea says:

    I believe strongly that politicians in Washington shouldn't be telling generals how to do their job.

    I was struck by this when I read it earlier. First, setting a date for the end of a mission doesn't qualify as "how" in any way I can see. (Whether setting a date this far ahead is a good idea is a separate question.) And second, the need for political control over military missions would seem to me to be beyond question.
    Mind you, I'm Canadian, and some would say I have no right to comment on Bush. On the other hand, Canada has a sizable number of troops in Afghanistan, and as a lay observer, I'm just as happy that Bush is focusing on Iraq.

  • Karl says:

    I absolutely detest Bush and (almost) everything he does, BUT, there is a difference between him and the rest of congress. He IS the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. So he has the right, the authority, and the duty to make military policy decisions - no matter how stupid they may be.

  • ArtK says:

    It's very clear why the AG's performance increased the President's confidence: GWB is stupid and he knows that he is stupid and the only thing that really makes him feel good is knowing that he is surrounded by people who are even more stupid. It probably didn't hurt Gonzo's cred with the president that he didn't spill any major beans. You can't buy that kind of loyalty.

  • ArtK says:

    Karl... but that power is not unilateral. There's a very good reason that the founders put the purse strings in the hands of Congress and not in the hands of the executive. It's called checks-and-balances. It goes back, too, to that whole declaration of war thing. Again, the prez can't declare war on his own, he and Congress have to agree on it.
    So yes, he does have the right, authority and duty to make military policy decisions. And Congress has the right, duty and authority to tell him that there's no money for it.

  • Gerry L says:

    I think there's a typo in the transcript. Bush must have said the AG "gave a very canned assessment."
    "Candid" just doesn't make any sense if you saw/heard his testimony.

  • Ex-drone says:

    Bush is rejecting a withdrawal timetable because he wants the US to still be fully involved when he leaves office. Then, when the withdrawal inevitably occurs, he can sigh and declare that he would have succeeded if he were still in command.

  • Karl says:

    ArtK:
    Aye, there's the rub. He got congress to provide money and now congress can't agree )with a large enough majority) to stop funding it.
    But that's not the question here. Mike derided the statement: "President Bush, ... , pointed out that he is the "decider" on matters like this."
    And all I said was that he is.

  • Rebecca says:

    ArtK, unfortunately Alberto Gonzales is not stupid. He's very smart and is completely lacking a conscience. The man is happy to shit on our Constitution if it means The Decider gets to do whatever he wants.
    Gonzales scares the hell out of me.

  • Frank Sagevsal says:

    Someone once said getting a man to understand something, when his livlyhood demands that he not understand it, is impossible. I think Mr.Bush is in this cul de sac at the end of Paradox Street. It is very important for him to think Gonzales is competent in order to keep him in office so that he can't testify that the White House has been breaking the laws in a number of areas, including the President ordering the firing of U.S. attorneys for not bringing sham cases to indict political opponents of Senators. Likewise it does Mr. Bush much good to believe we are winning in Iraq except for those darn Dems!! Kissinger told him the only way to be defeated is to leave, and being a good executive he's made us his mind no matter who dies. We're gonna win even if it kills each and every one of us.

  • kemibe says:

    Scott Belyea:
    "Mind you, I'm Canadian, and some would say I have no right to comment on Bush."
    "Some" being the same American right-wingnuts who think naturalized citizens from countries featuring brown people are on a par with pond scum. By all means, speak up about Bush's impact on the world, while your own homeland is still under mostly rational governance and you have the cahnce.