Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Can you hear me now?

From Presidential news conference, March 13, 2002:

Question: Mr. President, in your speeches now you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that? Also, can you tell the American people if you have any more information, if you know if he is dead or alive? Final part -- deep in your heart, don't you truly believe that until you find out if he is dead or alive, you won't really eliminate the threat of --

President George W. Bush: Deep in my heart I know the man is on the run, if he's alive at all. Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not; we haven't heard from him in a long time. And the idea of focusing on one person is -- really indicates to me people don't understand the scope of the mission.

Terror is bigger than one person. And he's just -- he's a person who's now been marginalized. His network, his host government has been destroyed. He's the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match. He is -- as I mentioned in my speech, I do mention the fact that this is a fellow who is willing to commit youngsters to their death and he, himself, tries to hide -- if, in fact, he's hiding at all.

So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you. I'm more worried about making sure that our soldiers are well-supplied; that the strategy is clear; that the coalition is strong; that when we find enemy bunched up like we did in Shahikot Mountains, that the military has all the support it needs to go in and do the job, which they did.

And there will be other battles in Afghanistan. There's going to be other struggles like Shahikot, and I'm just as confident about the outcome of those future battles as I was about Shahikot, where our soldiers are performing brilliantly. We're tough, we're strong, they're well-equipped. We have a good strategy. We are showing the world we know how to fight a guerrilla war with conventional means.

Question: But don't you believe that the threat that bin Laden posed won't truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?

President Bush: Well, as I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run. I was concerned about him, when he had taken over a country. I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban.

And as the mid-term elections approach...

President Bush in a speech yesterday:

"Osama bin Laden, declared the massacre of nearly 3,000 people that day -- I quote -- "an unparalleled and magnificent feat of valor, unmatched by any in humankind before them."

"Osama bin Laden has called the 9/11 attacks -- in his words -- "a great step towards the unity of Muslims and establishing the Righteous… [Caliphate]."

"Again, hear the words of Osama bin Laden earlier this year: "Death is better than living on this Earth with the unbelievers among us.""

"Bin Laden calls this his "bleed-until-bankruptcy plan."

"Osama bin Laden says, "al Qaeda spent $500,000 on the event...,"

"Bin Laden concludes from this experience..."

"Osama bin Laden laid out this strategy in a letter to the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar..."

"In it, bin Laden says that al Qaeda intends to "[launch]," in his words, "a media campaign…"

"This media campaign, bin Laden says..."

"Bin Laden says that by delivering these messages, al Qaeda "aims at creating pressure..."

"Bin Laden and his allies are absolutely convinced they can succeed..."

"Osama bin Laden has written..."

"the nation bin Laden has declared the "capital of the Caliphate." Hear the words of bin Laden: "I now address… the whole… Islamic nation..."

"Again, hear the words of bin Laden..."

"Bin Laden and Zawahiri remain in hiding..."

"Bin Laden and his terrorist allies have made their intentions as clear as Lenin and Hitler before them. The question is: Will we listen? Will we pay attention to what these evil men say? America and our coalition partners have made our choice. We're taking the words of the enemy seriously."

For a guy who doesn't think about Osama bin Laden much Bush found time to mention him 15 times in forty minutes. Twice in some sentences, three times in a paragraph. Bush also warned, "History teaches that underestimating the words of evil and ambitious men is a terrible mistake...Will we listen? Will we pay attention to what these evil men say?" In the words of Maureen Dowd, "Too bad the president didn't take time out from clearing brush at the ranch long enough back in August of 2001 to pay attention to [the famous or imfamous August 6, 2001 PDB entitled] "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States." But no matter. It's election time and history and truth are merely obstacles for the marketing of incompetence as strength and failure as success. Can you hear both of them now?


Anonymous Barrie said...

It always amuses me to see all the old warhorses trotted out before elections. These broken down old nags are brushed and dressed up in ribbons and paraded before the public, and the funny part is that most people believe they can still run.

I've never met a career politician who can resist the urge to forgo rational debate for cheap slogans and fear-mongering.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Rational debate doesn't work anyway. Why bother with it?

9:23 PM  
Blogger d.K. said...

This is why I've lost confidence in McCain... a former navy officer hero is now hugging and kissing Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. Barrie hit it on the head - great analogy as well.

12:12 AM  

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