Five years after he declared victory in Iraq on the US aircraft carrier USS Lincoln, President George W. Bush says he was "unprepared" for a war in Iraq that has gone on to claim thousands of American lives and tens of thousands of Iraqis.
"I wish the intelligence had been different, I guess," Bush tells ABC's Charlie Gibson in an interview to be broadcast tonight, and said he didn't know if he'd have gone to war if he didn't think there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
"That is a do-over that I can't do," Bush said.
He said incorrect intelligence about Saddam Hussein's arsenal was the "biggest regret of all the presidency."
"I think I was unprepared for war," Bush remarked. "In other words, I didn't campaign and say, 'Please vote for me, I'll be able to handle an attack,'" he said. "In other words, I didn't anticipate war. Presidents -- one of the things about the modern presidency is that the unexpected will happen."
But also he tried to spread the blame -- and his credulity -- for bad intelligence on others.
"A lot of people put their reputations on the line and said the weapons of mass destruction is a reason to remove Saddam Hussein," Bush said. "It wasn't just people in my administration. A lot of members in Congress, prior to my arrival in Washington, D.C., during the debate on Iraq, a lot of leaders of nations around the world were all looking at the same intelligence."
"I listened to a lot of voices, but ultimately, I listened to this voice: I'm not going to let your son die in vain," he said. "I believe we can win. I'm going to do what it takes to win in Iraq."
In the interview, Bush also defended his administration's response to a now paralyzing economic crisis spurned by the failure of the US credit markets.
"When you have the Secretary of the Treasury and the Chairman of the Fed say, 'If we don't act boldly, we could be in a depression greater than the Great Depression,' that's an 'uh-oh' moment," he said.
It's not his fault at all, you see.
It's the fault of them terrorists.
It's the fault of that darn Global War on terror (TM).
It's the fault of that damn war in Afghanistan.
It's the fault of intelligence agencies and the cooked intelligence they were ordered to produce.
It's the fault of that damn war in Iraq.
It's the fault of all his advisors and senior cabinet members - especially Cheney.
It's the fault of Congress.
It's the fault of other world leaders.
It's the fault of Wall Street and the economy.
It's the fault of scientists and the environment.
It's the fault of the Constitution and all those other quaint laws.
It's the fault of his decisions and signing statements.
It's the fault of his intellectual sloth-driven ignorance.
It's the fault of his "gut-checks".
It's the fault of everyone and everything.
But it is not George W. Bush's fault if his inept Presidency proved destructively catastrophic.
He's the victim here, you see ...
Then again - that is the lot of incompetents like Bush. Remember the 4th principle of incompetence?
Fourth Principle: Incompetence does or says anything to defend itself.
(...) incompetents never take responsibility for their wrongdoings, or those of other incompetents within their "circle". This is what I wrote before: "Incompetents will do and say anything to defend themselves and other incompetents, including disassembling, obfuscating, lying and blaming others". Here's something else that I also wrote previously: "They lie, they misrepresent, they use decoy arguments and make ad hominem attacks. For them, the use of duplicity, of secrecy, of arguments of (non-existent) conspiracy, of fact (and non-fact) selectivity/cherry-picking, of quacks/fake experts, as well as putting forth logical fallacies, are simply means to an end." For incompetents, everything is about spin and truthiness - never about facts and truth. Even when they are blatantly caught, incompetents continue to react and reason with their intellectual sloth-driven infantile/adolescent immaturity - they will deny that they did anything wrong or that they have lied, then they will blame/attack (read: character assassinate) their "accusers". I call this: "Lie and Cry".
Q.E.D. yet again.
However, let us remember that incompetents stick together and defend/protect/justify each other - one more case in point:
To mark World AIDS Day, Saddelback Pastor Rick Warren is hosting a Civil Forum on Global Health at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Warren will present President Bush with the first “International Medal of PEACE” from the Global PEACE Coalition in recognition of his unprecedented contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS and other diseases. The “International Medal of PEACE” is given for outstanding contribution toward alleviating the five global giants recognized by the Coalition, including pandemic diseases, extreme poverty, illiteracy, self-centered leadership and spiritual emptiness. The Bush administration reports that its AIDS initiative helped treat two million people this year living with HIV/AIDS.
(because Bush did so much to fight AIDS indeed ...)
Which makes me wonder whether Bush will follow on Bill Kristol's advice to keep on dishing out medals of freedom to his incompetent peers/subbordinates:
In his new Weekly Standard column, right-wing pundit Bill Kristol lays out a to-do list for President Bush before he leaves office. He urges Bush to deliver speeches “reminding Americans of our successes fighting the war on terror.” Kristol dreams, “Over time, Bush might even get deserved credit for effective conduct of the war on terror.”
After urging Bush to fight the incoming administration’s desire to close Guantanamo, Kristol concludes with this:
One last thing: Bush should consider pardoning–and should at least be vociferously praising–everyone who served in good faith in the war on terror, but whose deeds may now be susceptible to demagogic or politically inspired prosecution by some seeking to score political points. The lawyers can work out if such general or specific preemptive pardons are possible; it may be that the best Bush can or should do is to warn publicly against any such harassment or prosecution. But the idea is this: The CIA agents who waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and the NSA officials who listened in on phone calls from Pakistan, should not have to worry about legal bills or public defamation. In fact, Bush might want to give some of these public servants the Medal of Freedom at the same time he bestows the honor on Generals Petraeus and Odierno. They deserve it.
In the Bush era, the Medal of Freedom has come to absurdly represent a reward for those who carried out policy failures at the urging of the Bush administration. By this standard, the implementers of torture and warrantless wiretapping certainly qualify for such a medal.
The Wall Street Journal reported recently that the White House “isn’t inclined to grant sweeping pardons for former administration officials involved in harsh interrogations and detentions of terror suspects.” President-elect Barack Obama is reportedly unlikely to pursue criminal cases against such officials, but is said to be considering a 9/11-style commission that would investigate counterterrorism policies and make public as many details as possible.”
Bush’s “record of stonewalling inquiries into his administration’s legally questionable behavior — the torture policy that led to the Abu Ghraib nightmare; illegal wiretapping; the politically motivated firing of federal attorneys — justify concern that he may be considering pardoning officials involved in those misdeeds,” the New York Times warns in an editorial this morning. “If he wants to try to reclaim his reputation, he can start by not abusing the pardon power on his way out the door,” the Times writes.
(talk about incompetence cheerleading for the rewarding of incompetence ... and the list would be long indeed)
In any event - thus the Bush Grand Delusion Magic Circus Farewell Show goes on.
However, I will add this: in the end, it is definitely the fault of the American people for having elected Bush ... twice.
(Cross-posted from APOV)