Is Bush Engaged And Deceitful, Or A Really Clueless Figurehead?
I have to wonder after I read interviews and stories like these if George W. Bush actually has periods of rationality interrupted by the domination of Dick Cheney. In Fridayís NYT, several reporters have an interview with Bush where in portions he sounds quite rational and level-headed about Iraq, saying that we will stay in Iraq only as long as the Iraqis want us there, but that in reality we will be there a while because 1) the Iraqis will want us to hang around themselves, and 2) we need to train their police forces and army before we pull back. This is level-headed talk.
The president acknowledged that many Iraqis still viewed the United States as an occupying force, though he stopped short of endorsing the view of a growing number of Republicans that the sheer size of the American presence in Iraq was worsening the violence by presenting insurgents with a large target.
"A fundamental question also that I think a lot of Iraqis understand - and I do, too - is how do we make sure the Iraqi citizens view U.S. troops as helpers, not as occupiers," he said. "And to the extent that a coalition presence is viewed as an occupying force, it enables the insurgents, the radicals, to continue to impress people that the government really is not their government, and that the government is complicit in having their country occupied.
"I view that as reasonable," he said. "I also view that as pretty hopeful that there's kind of a nationalistic sentiment that says, 'This is my country.' I mean, to me that's a positive sign."
But Mr. Bush also noted "a certain realism amongst the leadership - at least the ones I've talked to - that says, 'Look, there's much more work to do before we're ready to move out on our own.' "
All perfectly reasonable stuff. But then you read stuff like this:
In a discussion about the powers of the presidency, Mr. Bush differed from comments recently by Vice President Dick Cheney that one of the administration's goals was to restore power to the executive branch.
He said he had not heard Mr. Cheney's comments and did not know what he was referring to, but said he thought the powers of the presidency were "adequate" when he came into office in 2001.
"I can't think of any examples where I said, 'Gosh, I wish I had more power,' " Mr. Bush said. "I felt like I had plenty to do the job."
Huh? Do these guys talk? Is Bush in a bubble?
On whether the administration had looser standards for interrogating terrorist suspects outside the United States, he said, "Torture is never acceptable," adding, "nor do we hand over people to countries that do torture."
Yes, you do hand prisoners over to countries that torture. Your own Pentagon and CIA have confirmed this. Were you asleep?
Either the man is detached or intentionally playing a game to look detached so that he can maintain a degree of separation from accountability. Iím not sure which one is worse.