Thursday, January 17, 2008

Interview With the Decider, Part I (JM)

Now normally attacking Fox News is just too easy. Ditto pretty much anything our “Dear Leader” has to say. But when you get the two of them together in a room, well that’s a force more irresistible than any time the movie Maverick is on TV (seriously, not once in my life have I ever realized that this was on and avoided watching it). Anyway, let’s all sit back and enjoy what is sure to be a deep, hard-hitting discussion of intricate foreign policy. Skeptical? Maybe I am too, just a little…

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Our interview with President Bush, not in Washington, not even in the United States, but 7,000 miles away in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Why is that journalists seems impressed that they took a long plane flight their company paid for? It’s not like you’re in the wartorn Sudan, you are in one of the most luxurious countries in the world. This mockery of your interviews isn’t taking place in Washington, not even the Central Eastern Seaboard, but 229 miles away in New York in a tall building where I should be doing my job.

The president was in Abu Dhabi as part of his historic eight-day trip to the Middle East. He went to Israel, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the West Bank and Bahrain.

The president is hoping to kick start the Arab-Israeli peace process and improve diplomatic relations, especially as he perceives the threat of Iran growing. Now, we took the 15-hour flight so we could ask him some questions you want asked and so that you could hear the answers directly from him.

I am willing to bet, right now, 7 million dollars, that you are not going to ask him some questions that I want asked. But yes, probably the answers will come out of his mouth.


VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. President, nice to see you, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: This is a historic journey, at least for you as president to go to Israel, your first trip to Israel as president.

The “at least for you” part cracks me up. I mean this is totally historic, any other president might have gone to Israel earlier than say 7 years in his administration. But, you know, way to get there eventually. Crawford, TX: 166 times, Israel: 1 time.

BUSH: True. Timing was right for me to go, and I went for a couple of reasons. I went to make sure the Israelis understand that America knows that their security concerns are paramount. And secondly, I went to advance the peace process with the Palestinians. And I think I made some pretty good progress.

Ahh excellent, Greta, no doubt is about to ask the president to clarify exactly what he means by “progress”.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, yesterday in your speech here in — it was interesting how you talked about Iran. It almost seems like everything sort of leads back to Iran. The problems in Israel lead back to Iran. Is — do you think that?

Whoops! Didn’t see this bizarre Iran question coming. Everything really does lead back to Iran, doesn’t it. Terrorism=Iran, Global warming would not exist if that crazy Revolutionary Guard didn’t spend all of their time spraying aerosol cans in the air, and it is now a confirmed fact that Roger Clemens purchased his steroids for Ahmadinejad himself.

BUSH: Well, I really talked about the advance of democracy and how it's opposed by extremist forces like al Qaeda, on the one hand, or states that sponsor terror, like Iran, on the other. And when I was talking about Iran and state-sponsored terror, of course, I was referring to Hezbollah or Hamas, which is — you know, it's just — their actions in Gaza really talk — really do define what I'm talking about extremists stopping the hopes of many.

So, yes, I believe Iran's a bad influence, and so do a lot of other people here in the region. And we're just going to have to deal with it in a way that ends up achieving certain objectives.

The primary objective is to prevent them from having the know-how on how to make a nuclear weapon.

Sarcasmbot overload!! Too much! Too much! Let’s just deal with one thing here: “We’re just going to have to with it in a way that ends up achieving certain objectives.” This is the most generic statement that has ever been uttered. Our president’s plan is to “do something that will have unspecified consequences.” Oh heck, maybe this is better than his other policies anyway.

VAN SUSTEREN: But when you talk about Iran and the peace process — and I also want to talk about the nuclear weapon issue — if they are funding Hamas, and if Hamas is a giant problem in trying to get the Palestinian state and Israelis to work together, it seems that this is quite a challenge.

BUSH: It is. The question is, is Hamas a giant problem? I happen to believe the definition of a state around which reasonable Palestinians can rally will make Hamas less of a problem. In other words, they will become marginalized.

Their vision is one that basically is — it does not have a hopeful future for the Palestinians. And a definition of a Palestinian state agreed to by the Israelis and the Palestinians will provide a hopeful future.

This is part of the ideological struggle that I described in my speech. And that struggles between forces of moderation and rationality versus forces of extremism. And the danger about the Iranians is that they used their oil wealth to fund forces of extremism.

That's not to say we won't prevail. I believe we will, we being people who just want to live in peace.

I mean I actually agree with this to some extent. Divisive groups like Hamas will be less successful if Israel and Palestine can come to a two-state solution. Unfortunately, the question Greta actually asked-how, we can get them to this point-went totally unanswered. This is not fair, since I am pretty sure it is the only time in the entire interview she will ask something that could lead to useful knowledge.

VAN SUSTEREN: In order to understand this conflict, it is complicated.


BUSH: It sure is.

Whoo boy…

VAN SUSTEREN: And it has been a daunting task for many presidents.

If you're sitting back home, and this is such an important issue, and you just haven't followed this—but sitting back home in the United States, how do you tell the American people that this is so important and why it is that we try again to get these two sides to talk?

Low expectation having Greta Van Susteren… you expect your viewers have NO IDEA why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is important? I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised, but they’re your viewers Greta.

BUSH: What is important is the advancements of democracy and freedom in the face of an ideological threat where the enemy, like Al Qaeda, uses murder to achieve its objectives.

The civilized world has seen these kinds of threats in the past. People have a vision that is dark and dim, but they murder to achieve it.

That is what we are dealing with in the 21st century, so that anytime you can advance democracy and liberty as the basis of society, you are achieving yet another blow to those who espouse chaos and violence.

Yep, democracies never cause chaos and violence.

And in the Palestinian state it is particularly important, since many other nations here in the region view this as the core issue for peace.

Nations like the UAE, for example, which is an unbelievably modern nation, by the way, and a great place to be—they are concerned that until this issue was resolved there will still be agitation in their societies and that people will view the Palestinian issues around which to rally and the violent people around which to rally.

“Unbelievable modern nation…” this is the rough diplomatic equivalent of Barack Obama is “well-spoken and clean”. I mean can you imagine Bush coming back from Germany and saying, “I can’t believe how modern it was there.” Actually, maybe I can, but I stand by my charge of implicit racism.

And so it is an important part of the democracy agenda. It also happens to be an important part of bringing more stability to the Middle East.

Synopsis of his explanation: other countries think it’s important, democracy agenda, stability. Sigh…

VAN SUSTEREN: What struck me though yesterday from listening to your speech is that it seems like with Iran out there poisoning the peace process in the Gaza Strip and with the Palestinians and Israelis with funding, that we really have to pay more attention. I am not saying that you're not paying attention, but that Iran really is a giant issue for the world.

Is your only source of information his speeches? This isn’t even a question. If it were a question it would be the same one you just asked. It continues to be silly.

BUSH: It's a real problem for a couple of reasons. One, if Iran were to develop the know-how to make a nuclear weapon and then follow through, you can imagine what it would do to the nation's out here. People would be nervous, people would be defensive, people would feel like they might have to develop their own nuclear weapon. In other words, it would be very dangerous. And most of the civilized world understands that.

Name one nation that would start a nuclear weapon program if Iran got nukes? Israel already has nukes as do the only countries in Western Europe that would even think of being threatened by Iran. Is it Lichtenstein? Is that your fear, that people in Vaduz will be up in arms and getting on the phone with A.Q. Khan?

And, secondly, obviously, we have got to be very careful about Iran because, one, they are sending sophisticated IEDs into Iraq, or they're helping destabilize Lebanon, or, as you mentioned, Hamas is in the Palestinian territories.

Clever use of an “or” statement here! Only one of these things needs to be true: George W. Bush is the best president we’ve ever had or Greta Van Susteren puts Mike Wallace to shame or this interview makes me embarrassed to be an American.

I happen to believe that most people understand the Iranian threat, and if we can just keep working together, we can eventually deal with it.

But there is no question it is a great challenge. This world would be better off if the Iranians weren't intent upon destabilizing the Middle East and other parts of the world.

Yep, I hate people who destabilize the Middle East.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you believe — in December there was an intelligence report that Iran had stopped its nuclear weapons program as of 2003. Do you believe that?

BUSH: I believe that the intelligence professionals are very sincere in their analysis. That should not say to people that Iran is not a threat. In other words —

Ouch… “very sincere”… cold… This is the internal politics equivalent of “she’s got a real great personality.”

VAN SUSTEREN: You believe that —

BUSH: I believe they want a weapon, and I believe that they're trying to gain the know-how as to how to make a weapon under the guise of a civilian nuclear program.

Basically, what they're saying, we just want to learn to enrich in order to have civilian nuclear power. The problem is knowledge can be transferred from a civilian program to a military program.

What I have told people out here is that if you had a military program once, you can easily start it up again. A lot of people heard that NIE out here and said that George Bush and the Americans don't take the Iranian threat seriously. And one of my missions out here is to make it clear to them I do take it seriously, and so should they.

You know the NIE was written by people who work for you, right? This isn’t just some study published by those no good liberal academics at the New York Times. These are your top experts in intelligence and nuclear proliferation.

VAN SUSTEREN: But, as a practical matter, you will no longer be the president in January, 2009 —

BUSH: That is a practical matter.

A couple of things. 1) Awesome follow up there GVS!; 2) How ominous is Bush’s response? “That is a practical matter…” can only really be followed by the phrase “…that will soon be dealt with.”

VAN SUSTEREN: So, you can take it seriously, but if it is larger world problem, are other countries getting on board and having the same thought? Are you talking to them about this, if you believe that it is —

BUSH: I think that is a great question, and the answer is "absolutely." One of the things, if this issue has not been solved, and I hope it has been, but if it hasn't been, we will leave behind a structure for the next president in which to work.

I am sure they are going to be totally grateful for all the “structure” you’ve left them.

In other words, the president will have a couple of U.N. Security Council resolutions. We are working on another one. The last two, by the way, had the support of the Chinese, the Russians, as well as, obviously the rest of the U.N. Security Council.

And so there is a framework, an international framework in place to help keep pressure on the Iranians. And the whole objective of the pressure is to say to people inside the Iranian government "There is a better way forward. You can either continue to be isolated and face economic deprivation, or you can make a rational decision and suspend your program, and there is a better avenue for you."

And if you listen to my comment, I am always talking to the Iranian people. And my comments are America respect you. We respect your history and tradition. The problem is it's your government that's isolating you. And you can do a lot better. You can have a much better economy and a much better acceptance in the international community.

Ladies and gentlemen, a hypothetical conversation between George W. Bush and the people of Iran:

GWB: It’s good to sit down with y’all. I’m starving I haven’t eaten all day.

Iranian People: We’re starving too, we have barely eaten in months. We are mostly wretchedly poor, but thank you for sanctioning our country, that has made it way better here.

GWB: You know, I agree with you that there is a major problem in your country, I am here to bring you the gift of democracy from the United States.

Iranian People: This democracy, is it edible?

GWB: Look, democracy will bring hope to all the people of Iran. Back in America I cut taxes and the economy is good for everyone.

Advisor to GWB: Mr. President, the entire state of Nevada is on the phone.

GWB: Can’t you see I am busy talking to my new friends here? Anyway, tell us were you’re hiding Osama and we won’t bomb you.


VAN SUSTEREN: Iran said it wants Israel destroyed. Many fear Iran wants a nuclear weapon. We asked the president more about Iran. Listen to what he says, then you tell us. Go to What should we do about Iran, if anything?

Seriously, if the country were actually run by the shit people watching this are e-mailing GVS right now, would we even notice?

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