Friday, November 11, 2005

Doing the Same Thing Over and Over

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting the results to change, then George W. Bush is insane.

The just-released AP-Ipsos poll results show Pres. Bush at his lowest approval rating ever: a stunning 37 percent. And almost 60 percent of Americans think that Bush is not honest and that his administration "does not have high ethical standards." Furthermore, the Iraq war is what's eating away at Bush's popularity the most.

An AP-Ipsos poll last week asked people to state in their own words why they approve or disapprove of the way Bush was doing his job. Almost six in 10 disapproved, and they most frequently mentioned the war in Iraq _ far ahead of the second issue, the economy.

"To use an unfortunate metaphor, Iraq is a roadside bomb in American politics," said Rich Bond, a former national Republican chairman.

Iraq has cast a cloud over Bush's public standing in general. The public's view of the likeability of the affable president has dropped from 63 percent in August to 52 percent now.

"The war is an overriding issue. Look at the body count on a daily basis," said Tom Rector, a Democrat from Spokane, Wash.

So, given the public's overwhelming displeasure over a war that has taken the lives of more than 2,000 Americans without bringing democracy to Iraq or reducing terrorism; and given the public's steadily increasing anger at the growing evidence that Bush and his staff lied about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction and that they manipulated the intelligence to make Iraq look like an imminent threat to the U.S. when it was nothing of the sort, how does Pres. Bush respond? Does he acknowledge that he wanted to invade Iraq so badly that he was willing to cherrypick intelligence to justify his desires? Does he take responsibility for ethical wrongdoing, and present Americans with a plan for ameliorating the consequences of that wrongdoing? Does he finally do what he has consistently refused to do, and set a timetable for bringing U.S. troops home? At the very least, does he say, clearly and openly, that Congress and the American people have every right to be angry and upset about the failures of intelligence, about the fact that Iraq had no chemical or biological or nuclear weapons, about the willingness of people like Dick Cheney and Karl Rove and Scooter Libby to attack, discredit, and even harm anyone who pointed out that the emperor had no clothes?

No, no, no! He doesn't do that at all. Nothing of the sort. What he does is order White House staff, including the most low-level aides, to attend ethics classes! And what does Bush do while his staff is being lectured on honesty? He gives a speech attacking those members of Congress who have been expressing public concern about the reasons Bush gave for getting the U.S. into a war with Iraq! He tells his critics in Congress who are calling for an investigation into the manipulation of intelligence used to justify the war that they are irresponsible and unpatriotic!

President Bush strongly rebuked congressional critics of his Iraq war policy Friday, accusing them of being "deeply irresponsible" and sending the wrong signal both to America's enemy and to U.S. troops.

"The stakes in the global war on terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges," Bush said in his most combative defense yet of his rationale for invading Iraq in March 2003.
Bush's speech was part of a coordinated White House effort to bolster the president's waning credibility and dwindling support for the war, in which more than 2,000 U.S. troops have died.

As casualties have climbed, Bush's popularity has dropped. His approval rating now is at 37 percent in the latest AP-Ipsos poll, an all-time low point for his presidency.

"When I made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, Congress approved it with strong bipartisan support," Bush said in a Veterans Day speech at Tobyhanna Army Depot. [Yes, and their approval was based on fraudulent and highly selective intelligence that the president portrayed as being authoritative. Apparently Congress is supposed to ignore that inconvenient reality.]

"While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began." [Translation: "It's deeply irresponsible to point out that I lied about the facts and misrepresented the evidence to get you to authorize my invasion of Iraq. How dare you?"]

Not only is this kind of blame-shifting cowardly and immature; it's also factually wrong. Nico at Think Progress has written a detailed rebuttal of the canard that Congress had access to and saw the same intelligence that Bush did.

Legal Fiction's Publius points out that Bush is not being criticized because he said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and they didn't. Americans are not disgusted with Bush because he made an honest mistake. They are disgusted with him because he deliberately misled the public about the evidence.

Kos says Bush himself is rewriting history so he can have it both ways about the Democrats:

This stood out to me during Bush's temper tantrum:

"More than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate who had access to the same intelligence voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power," Bush said.

Aside from the obvious fact that Senate Dems had different "intelligence" than what the White House worked with (did Democrats know about the discreditted Al Qaida informant upon which most of the fearmongering was based?), there's a much bigger point here.

For the last two major election cycles, 2002 and 2004, Republicans made electoral gains on the assertion that Democrats were weak on defense and only the Big, Bad, Republican Party could save the nation from the evil terrorists and their nefarious dreams of mushroom clouds over American cities.

Now, Bush is saying that he can't be criticized by Democrats because Democrats were with him all along?????

Great logic there, George.

Steve Soto at Left Coaster gets the final word:

Bush carried on his own lying bastard routine today, with the following remarks:

"Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and mislead the American people about why we went to war," Bush said.

He said those critics have made those allegations although they know that a Senate investigation "found no evidence" of political pressure to change the intelligence community's assessments related to Saddam's weapons program.

He said they also know that the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing Saddam's development and possession of weapons of mass destruction.

Skippy knows full well that the so-called Senate investigation, thanks to Bush water-carrier Pat Roberts, was forbidden from evaluating what the White House did with the intelligence. Both the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report and the Silberman-Robb Commission indicate that they were not allowed to look into how the Administration manipulated the available intelligence.

As long as Bush wants to talk about the UN, he should then also talk about the IAEA's refusal to endorse Bush's WMD claims and their desire, ignored by Bush, to continue looking for weapons instead of starting a war based on false pretenses. Bush should also mention that he never got the second UN resolution either. And Skippy should also mention that it is now clear that neither the Senate investigation nor his own presidential commission were provided all the information; his White House withheld information from both.

"More than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate who had access to the same intelligence voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power," Bush said.

Do you really want to claim Mr. Bush that you provided the House and Senate with the "same intelligence" that you had? If so, prove it. Bob Woodward of all people makes clear in "Plan of Attack," that Bush didn't give Congress all the information he had. Woodward says so on pages 185, 199, 203, and 264.

"As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them," the president said. "Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough. And our troops deserve to know that, whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our nation is united and we will settle for nothing less than victory."

Mr. President, these same troops and their families also need to know they weren't sent to war based on lies and a strategic disinformation campaign against our country and the world by a man who failed in his TANG service. And if you are so concerned about settling for nothing less than victory, then please let us know when Jenna and not-Jenna will be enlisting.

Bush left himself wide open with these charges today, and Kennedy rightly responded immediately in kind. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi should immediately challenge Bush's assertions and demand the Phase Two inquiry to test Bush's claims. They should also begin their own pushback campaign on the Sunday chatfests, and by doing as I suggested several days ago a "60 Minutes" show in the next 2-3 weeks laying out point-by-point how Bush lied to Congress in his March 18, 2003 letter to start the war.

Keep talking Skippy, you lying bastard. And keep digging. Hell will get closer for you every day.

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