MR. LEHRER: Just today, another 35 people were killed in bombings; 80 over the weekend.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Yeah, there is a difference between - look, death is terrible - but remember, some of these bombings are done by al-Qaida and their affiliates, all trying to create doubt and concern and create these death squads or encourage these death squads to roam neighborhoods. And it's going to be hard to make Baghdad zero - to make it bomb-proof.
All together now, please. Q is for al-Qaida, it's good enough for me. al-Qaida starts with Q, should be good enough for you. The bulk--"bulk" here meaning "damn near all"--of the violence is due to Sunnis and Shia blowing each other up. The bazillion-ton elephant in the room is Muqtada al-Sadr, who, as we have noted before, has Maliki's government by the balls, short hairs, and every other dangling appendage in between. The administration's proposed escalation via embedding sticks our guys into Iraqi government units, which means sticking them directly into the sectarian violence... on the side of the same guys being propped up by Iran right now.
As a matter of fact, in 2005, I thought - I mean, in 2006, I thought I'd be in a position to remove troops from Iraq, in other words, hand over more of the authorities to the Iraqis so they could take the fight, and then this sectarian violence that you described broke out.In 2006? In 2005? The violence actually broke out then, or he just didn't notice it until then?
MR. LEHRER: Let me ask you a bottom-line question, Mr. President. If it is as important as you've just said - and you've said it many times - as all of this is, particularly the struggle in Iraq, if it's that important to all of us and to the future of our country, if not the world, why have you not, as president of the United States, asked more Americans and more American interests to sacrifice something? The people who are now sacrificing are, you know, the volunteer military - the Army and the U.S. Marines and their families. They're the only people who are actually sacrificing anything at this point.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, you know, I think a lot of people are in this fight. I mean, they sacrifice peace of mind when they see the terrible images of violence on TV every night. I mean, we've got a fantastic economy here in the United States, but yet, when you think about the psychology of the country, it is somewhat down because of this war.
Jesus Christ. We "sacrifice peace of mind?" This from the guy who says no, actually, he sleeps great at night. The economy's great, he goes on to say in the interview--go read it; I can't bring myself to cut and paste more of it here--and to raise taxes now, at a time when the psychology of the country is somewhat down because of this war, well, that would simply be too much. Because people need to be able to feel their lives are moving forward.
La-la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you is a great approach in a world where you get to create your own reality; it's the old Star Trek episode where you think something and *poof* it becomes real. $400 billion and counting for new ways forward, always forward, never stopping to clean up the messes that makes along the way, billions for ammo but none for patching together the broken psyches of the guys who come home, spend more on shopping but not a dime more in taxes to pay for this metastasizing disaster. Move forward. Nothing to see here.