July 19, 2006


No.. it is not more of the now routine Bushisms... this time it is Bush's thoughts on the Middle East crisis (links to my earlier post on this), as played out (video via ThinkProgress.com) by an open mike at the G-8 summit. SkyNews has a full transcript.

Open mic catches Bush expletive on Middle-East Crisis
An open microphone caught President Bush in an unguarded moment Monday as the escalating crisis in the Middle East prompted him to use an expletive in a conversation with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Bush and Blair were unaware that an event at the Group of Eight summit was a photo opportunity, with media representatives present. Blair later turned off the microphone. The president was expressing frustration at the United Nations' stance on the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict in Lebanon. Apparently not expecting an open mike to pick up his remarks, Bush told Blair: "See the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over."

Also read: Bush at the summit: 4 minutes of candor / Amid Pomp, Bush Is Pumped and Chat Is Candid

Forget the verbiage he used (journalist & blog discussions on how to report it aside, I do not think it is such a big deal but one has to smirk at the irony of it all as US broadcasters consider censoring Bush, thanks to the stupid legislature passed in Bush's conservative-pandering term!) but the bottom line is that the guy is clueless on foreign policy (or for that matter on domestic policy too!!)

(Note to self: Daily Show with Jon Stewart must have had a field day with this ... will have to dig out what he had to say :) Update: Here it is... Jon Stewart jokes about Bush swearing)

Following links found via a post at the Blinq blog by Daniel Rubin, reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

It’s not the “shit“, it’s the “insouciant air.” Wow, shock of all shocks, politicians swear?

The point of the video is that the President doesn’t exactly convey a good grasp of the situation, and he’s listening to Blair as though he was off his ADHD meds: all the interruptions, acting like he’s not paying attention while he talks, etc.

  • And as Ezra Klein writes, there-in lies the problem:

Given the relative opacity of Bush's thoughts on the situation, the frank discussion offered a fair amount of insight and a couple nuggets of news ....
.... Bush believes it within the Syrian government's power to calm the conflict. Theoretically, that should have major implications for American diplomacy and, possibly, policy..

  • And Prof. Juan Cole thinks the conversation reveals enough about the president's thinking to worry:

So, the whole blow-up is Syria's fault, for putting Hizbullah up to making mischief. No reference to Israeli actions in Gaza. No reference to, like, the wholesale destruction of Lebanon by the Israeli air force. And no blame for the Lebanese government of Fouad Siniora. And Bush thinks that Nasrullah of Hizbullah takes direct orders from Damascus. And he thinks that if Bashar al-Asad orders Hizbullah to stop firing its little katyushas and give back the two Israeli soldiers, everything will suddenly settle down.

It is an astonishingly simple-minded view of the situation, painted in black and white and making assumptions about who is who's puppet and what the Israeli motivations are. Israel doesn't appear as a protagonist. It is purely reactive. Stop provoking it, and it suddenly stops its war.

Since Israel is just being provoked and has no ambitions of its own, in this reading, it is useless to begin with a ceasefire. That treats the two sides as both provoking one another. Here, only Hizbullah matters, so you lean on Syria to lean on it, and, presto, peace breaks out.

It is a little window into the superficial, one-sided mind of the man, who has for six years been way out of his depth.

Another funny quote from the G8 summit.. this via 1115.org

Winning friends and influencing people:

“I talked about my desire to promote institutional change in parts of the world, like Iraq where there’s a free press and free religion, and I told him that a lot of people in our country would hope that Russia would do the same,” Bush said.

To that, Putin replied, “We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy that they have in Iraq, quite honestly.”

That's what I called OWNED!

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