Yep .It appears he did.. I was half-tuning out the president making a speech and responding to some ridiculously sycophantic "random audience questions, on C-Span radio when I heard something that stopped me in my tracks.
We put in more troops to get to a position where we can be in some other place. The question is, who ought to make that decision? The Congress or the commanders? And as you know, my position is clear -- I'm the commander guy.
Now aside from the 3rd grade syntax of that statement;(I half expected him to express support for his chief "law talking Dude" Gonzales next.) there's a very interesting card he palmed in that little paragraph:
Go read it again. Assuming it comprised a single coherent thought; (not always a given the President) Bush is saying, that when he says he's "listening to his commanders" he's listening to HIMSELF (or possibly the voices in his head), the "Commander Guy", not, say, actual generals with military experience.
In other words its classic BUsh all over again. It appears that, after some tiny signs of improvement, Bush has once again reverted to "pre 11/06" form
In retrospect this shouldn't have been surprising. The place and manner of the speech should have been a huge clue. After the very first question from the audience, it was blindingly obvious that this was naother of those "potemkin press conferences" with a carefully hand-selected audience that used to be a key part of Bush's "propaganda catapulting strategy". The speech was delivered to a group most likely to be comprised of the loyal 27%'ers, the Associated General Contractors of America (Formerly known as the Plunderers and War Profiteers Local 457.(; but even for a friendly room the "random audience questions", were embarassingly slurpy. Honestly, even Jeff Gannon would have blushed to ask questions like these:
Q Thank you. In May of 2006, my second cousin was on his second tour in Iraq. Corporal Cory Palmer, he's in the Marines, he was on patrol in a Humvee, and they ran over a roadside bomb. He and many others in that Humvee perished. What do I need to do, what does the media need to do to help you, so that my second cousin, and others like him, have not died or been injured in vain?
Q I'd like to know, like a lot of other people in this room, we have family members -- we have family members who are actively involved in the security of this country in various ways. From them, we've received positive information that we consider credible, who say about the success and the good things that are happening as a result of us being in Iraq. I would like to know why and what can be done about we, the American people, receiving some of that information more from the media, or (inaudible.) (Applause.)
Q We're General Contractors of America, and what are we doing -- I don't hear anything about the reconstruction of Iraq. Could you fill us in on that? Are we doing enough, as general contractors? And we are at your disposal.
And second is a personal question. What do you pray about, and how we can we pray for you?
Q You talked about the terror of 9/11, and what I wanted to share with you, my wife and I had our first child two months after 9/11. We named her Grace, because we felt that the world needed some grace at the time. And what I wanted to (inaudible) is the fact that our appreciation and keeping my family and also the families of America safe for the past five years is (inaudible).
Is there ANYONE not currently working for the Administration that still honestly believes these patheticly worn out talking points?
Could anyone seriously believe that Iraq is hunky-dory and its all the media's fault for not reporting the good news? The mind boggles. But as apparently delusional as the audience was, they weren't a patch on the "Commander Guy". Compare these assertions by the president with what passes for objective reality these days :
My attitude is this about the budget: The best way to balance the budget is to keep taxes low, encourage growth, which enhances tax revenues, and be wise about how we spend money. I worry about the attitude, don't worry, we're just going to raise the taxes on some to balance the budget. No, they'll raise the tax on some and figure out new ways to spend the money.
And we're proving that pro-growth economic policies with fiscal discipline can work. And our budgets are shrinking. The best way to keep them shrinking is keep the economy growing and be wise about -- and setting priorities with your money.
and Mind you, the man that turned a nigh-trillion dollar budget surplus into the largest deficits in American history actually said all that with a straight face.
Then we have this gem:
"I want to talk to you about the other main issue we have here in America, and that is your security. The most important job we have is to secure the United States of America. That's the most important job of the federal government. You expect us to spend enormous amounts of energy protecting you, and that's what we're doing. I vowed to the American people we would not tire when it came to protecting you, and we're not going to. "
Which is why of course the Homeland Security Agency is so amazingly dysfunctional that the talk around Washington is about just scrapping it and starting over, much like those 16 new cutters its Coast Guard branch recently was forced de-commision before using them even once?
and watch Bush pass the buck and pretend that He's not accountable for the last 3 disatrous years of this war:
So earlier this year I laid out a new strategy in Iraq. I named a new commander to carry it out, General David Petraeus. I want to give you some facts about the new strategy, and talk about why Iraq relates directly to the safety of the American people.
The most important fact about our new strategy, it is fundamentally different from the previous strategy. The previous strategy wasn't working the way we wanted it to work. It's interesting, they run polls -- and I accept that -- and it said, you know, we don't approve of what's happening in Iraq. That was what the poll said last fall and winter, you know. And had they polled me, I'd have said the same thing. (Laughter.) I didn't approve of what was happening in Iraq. And so we put a new strategy in that was fundamentally different.
"That's right ladies and gentlemen, Me and my two closest advisors personally designed this strategy, riding roughshod over the objections of seasoned military officers (who we promptly canned). We forced it down the throats of our "allies" and I've vehmently and publicly defended it for the last three years, calling those who questioned it traitors and coward--But really you shouldn't hold that against me, because I was secretly "dissatisfied" with the results. So you should totally trust me on this brand new strategy I've cooked up in my head"
Full marks for the size and girth of his Balls, but minus several million for the intellectual content of that statement. Is he under the impression that Mulligans are availble for executive decisions? Perhaps that's it. It's certianly the only possible way to explain this:
"I'm asked all the time about strategies. I liked what James A. Baker and Lee Hamilton reported back after a serious investigation of Iraq. I liked their ideas. And it's something that we should seriously consider. And their idea was, is that at some point in time, it makes sense to have a U.S. presence configured this way, embedded with Iraqi forces, training Iraqi forces, over-the-horizon presence to provide enough security to know that people will have help if they need it, but put the -- more onus on a sovereign government of Iraq, a presence to keep the territorial integrity of Iraq intact, a special ops presence to go after these killers who have got their intentions on America. It's an interesting idea.
Could he be joking? Or does he truly believe we are all suffering from Amnesia? He Liked the ISG report? Since when? IIRC Bush made the same face when recieving that document that'd you'd expect to see on the face of someone whose doctor told them their new medicine was only available in Jalapeno-infused extra large suppositiory form. He had his surrogates and defenders shred the report, the integrity of its authors, and its conclusions on every single media outlet. Worse yet,the Idea he called "interesting" was the exact same one that was denounced as Disloyal, Cowardly, cut-and run thinking when John Murtha brought it up last September!
NOBODY Could have that much unmitigated gall could they? Surely he'd expect the newly stung in sentience press corp to pounce on THAT level of hypocrisy like starving wolves on a T-bone right? Right? Please?