Tuesday, August 31, 2004

What a difference a day makes

Two items to note in this post:

a) It's getting a lot of play in the major media, so I'm going to write about Bush saying we can't win the war on terror in an interview with Matt Lauer. Here's an excerpt from the interview:

"Lauer: “You said to me a second ago, one of the things you'll lay out in your vision for the next four years is how to go about winning the war on terror. That phrase strikes me a little bit. Do you really think we can win this war on terror in the next four years?
President Bush: “I have never said we can win it in four years.”
Lauer: “So I’m just saying can we win it? Do you see that?”
President Bush: “I don't think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world –- let's put it that way. I have a two pronged strategy. On the one hand is to find them before they hurt us, and that's necessary. I’m telling you it's necessary. The country must never yield, must never show weakness [and] must continue to lead. To find al-Qaida affiliates who are hiding around the world and … harm us and bring ‘em to justice –- we're doing a good job of it. I mean we are dismantling the al-Qaidaas we knew it. The long-term strategy is to spread freedom and liberty, and that's really kind of an interesting debate. You know there's some who say well, ‘You know certain people can't self govern and accept, you know, a former democracy.’ I just strongly disagree with that. I believe that democracy can take hold in parts of the world that are now non-democratic and I think it's necessary in order to defeat the ideologies of hate. History has shown that it can work, that spreading liberty does work. After all, Japan is our close ally and my dad fought against the Japanese. Prime Minister Koizumi, is one of the closest collaborators I have in working to make the world a more peaceful place.

So. . .Bush says we can't win the war--in the same breath that he spells out how he will fight a war that results in rousing the terrorists from their preferred locations, and leads to the spread of democracy. Which, to me, sounds like a plan for victory in the war on terror.

Listen, was it a silly thing for him to say? Absolutely. But it is defendable (both in terms of content and context) just as it is attackable. Again, not the face I personally would like the President to put on in public during convention week. . .

Item #2: sometimes during my days off I am sort of not-watching whatever shows might be on the TV. Today it was "the View"--hey, don't blame me, I just live here! Anyhow, one of the guests was Rudy Giuliani, and I gotta tell ya': as good as he was last night, he was overmatched today. To be fair, the surroundings were entirely different and he was getting grilled by two people (Star and Joy--I'm ashamed to know their names) who barely let him get in a word edgewise. He clearly got flustered, as can happen when a guest spot on a show suddenly turns into a humor-free roast. He did make some good points, such as getting Joy to grudgingly admit that Lincoln's reasons for fighting the civil war were worthwhile. But the point wasn't allowed to sink in before Star came back from the other side of him with some other brouhaha-stirring accusation. Now in the big picture of things, I'm sure the viewership of The View isn't likely to be swayed one way or the other by what Giuliani said or didn't say today, but it would have been great for the hero of last night to go into the other side's lair and at least trade blows with them.


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