Once again, reading the news doesn't exactly help. As many of you know, the President held a press conference on his way out the door for vacation. Nevermind that he is the most vacationed President in history, and that given what his war is creating for some 160,000 troops, perhaps he could skip his vacation this year. Nevermind.
Some of his comments were actually reasonable. Suggesting (even though I thought he was an ass about it) that congressional earmarks are a problem to be solved before raising taxes for infrastructure projects is not a bad idea. After all, one of his own party is famous for things like the famous "bridge to nowhere."
But much of the rest was more proof that Bush is delusional. Or worse. When asked about accountability--and reminded that he made that a part of his campaign--and asked how that squared with commuting Scooter's sentence and still employing Al Gonzales, he responded in the way that only Bush could respond:
THE PRESIDENT: Lewis Libby was held accountable. He was declared guilty by a jury and he's paid a high price for it.Bush is the only person who thinks that Gonzales has done nothing wrong and one of the minority who actually thinks that Scooter actually paid much of a cost at all. Who can forget the check he wrote to pay his fine--casually. But I am sure the probation is just eating at him.
Al Gonzales -- implicit in your questions is that Al Gonzales did something wrong. I haven't seen Congress say he's done anything wrong. As a matter of fact, I believe, David, we're watching a political exercise. I mean, this is a man who has testified, he's sent thousands of papers up there. There's no proof of wrong. Why would I hold somebody accountable who has done nothing wrong? I mean, frankly, I think that's a typical Washington, D.C. assumption -- not to be accusatory, I know you're a kind, open-minded fellow, but you suggested holding the Attorney General accountable for something he did wrong.
And as a matter of fact, I would hope Congress would become more prone to deliver pieces of legislation that matter, as opposed to being the investigative body. I mean, there have been over 600 different hearings and, yet, they're struggling with getting appropriations bills to my desk.
Q If I could follow -- sorry. Given the decision to commute the sentence of Libby and given the performance of Iraqi leaders, is it fair for people to ask questions about your commitment to accountability?
THE PRESIDENT: I would hope people would say that I am deliberate in my decision-making; I think about all aspects of the decisions I make; and I'm a fair person.
As for Gonzales, seriously. Who could watch that man testify, lie, repeat, and think he did a good job outside his mother? Gonzales is an idiot and a liar and willing to do whatever Bush asks him to do. Sigh.
Of course, as Eugene Robinson suggests:
"At least now maybe people will understand what I've been saying for months, which is that Bush doesn't care what anybody else thinks.You really have to wonder how his mind works. If it does.
But my favorite part was this followup question on interrogation techniques:
Did you get that? We don't torture. Except we do. And have and do. The VP himself said that waterboarding was a "no brainer." And the Red Cross report? Yeah, it isn't good:
"Q Red Cross report? THE PRESIDENT: I haven't seen it. We don't torture."
"Congressional and other Washington sources familiar with the report said that it harshly criticized the C.I.A.’s practices. One of the sources said that the Red Cross described the agency’s detention and interrogation methods as tantamount to torture, and declared that American officials responsible for the abusive treatment could have committed serious crimes. The source said the report warned that these officials may have committed “grave breaches” of the Geneva Conventions, and may have violated the U.S. Torture Act, which Congress passed in 1994. The conclusions of the Red Cross, which is known for its credibility and caution, could have potentially devastating legal ramifications."
But as long as the President says we don't, I am convinced. Nevermind.
Update NPR newsblog caught this little gem in the New Yorker article on the Red Cross report describing some of the interrogation techniques and their origin:
"It starts with isolation. Then they eliminate the prisoners' ability to forecast the future -- when their next meal is, when they can go to the bathroom. It creates dread and dependency. It was the K.G.B. model. But the K.G.B. used it to get people who had turned against the state to confess falsely. The K.G.B. wasn't after intelligence."I guess why the hell not. Bush and Cheney have turned America into a country that uses former Soviet Gulags to hide prisoners. Why not use the interrogation techniques of the KGB. That won't undermine our moral standing in the world, will it?