Bush: Of course we can win, but I don't think we can win, so we will win.
One of the interesting things people ask me, now that we're asking questions, is, can you ever win the war on terror? Of course, you can.Nothing surprising from George there. That seems to have been his position all along. He reiterated his stance in a July 30, 2004, speech:
I have a clear vision on how to win the war on terror and bring peace to the world.
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.
Well, he was talking about winning it in the conventional sense. That's what he was talking about. I mean, this -- you've often heard him talk about how this is a different kind of war. We face an unconventional enemy. And it's -- I don't think you can expect that there will ever be a formal surrender or a treaty signed, like we have in wars past.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch (figuratively speaking)...Bush gave a speech in Nashville to the American Legion National Convention on August 31. On the way there, at 8:45 a.m. (CDT) again on Air Force One, Scott McClellan had another chat with some reporters.
Q American Legion speech, something new we haven't heard before?(emphasis added). Yes, Bush has made that crystal clear oh so many times--except when he said "I don't think you can win (the war on terror)."
MR. McCLELLAN: I think some of his remarks will be similar to what you have -- what you heard at the Veterans of Foreign Wars. I expect there will be some new language in the remarks and some contrasts. I also expect the President will talk about winning the war on terrorism. We are winning the war on terrorism and we will win the war on terrorism. The President will make that crystal clear in his remarks, as he has many times before. And that the way -- you know, we will win the war on terrorism by continuing to take the fight to the enemy, and we will win the war on terrorism by continuing to spread freedom. And I expect he'll make that crystal clear in his remarks.
Q Do you feel like his remarks yesterday to NBC got blown out of proportion, or why does he feel the need to make it crystal clear?(emphasis added). This brings to mind my favorite Vera Carp line: "Glass houses..." FYI, Vera Carp is a character from the Greater Tuna triology, which is a theatrical treasure straight from Texas (created by Joe Sears, Jaston Williams, and Ed Howard).
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, he's done it many times before. There are some out there that are intent on trying to create a false perception.
Q Are these remarks, then, a response to that?By the way, I got the transcript from the White House web site, and the transcript says "THE PRESIDENT" instead of "MR. McCLELLAN." So, the President's speech was going to make it crystal clear that what he said in the Today interview was wrong. Or am I missing something?
THE PRESIDENT: I think that it's the President making it crystal clear that not only are we winning it, but we will win it.
According to the transcript on the White House web site, at 9:00 a.m. (CDT) on August 31, Bush addressed the American Legion:
In this different kind of war, we may never sit down at a peace table. But make no mistake about it, we are winning, and we will win. We will win by staying on the offensive. We will win by spreading liberty. We believe that liberty can transform nations from tyranny into peaceful nations. And so we'll keep our commitments in Afghanistan and Iraq. We will help them become peaceful and democratic countries that are allies in the war on terror.Wow! That Scott McClellan must be psychic! Just 15 minutes earlier he said that Bush was going to say that. Oh, wait...if McClellan is psychic, then why didn't he know that Bush was going to say something so amazingly stupid in the Today interview? In any event, the day after the broadcast of that interview showed Bush saying he didn't think we could win the war on terror, there he was saying "we are winning, and we will win."
But Georgie wasn't finished. That afternoon, he was interviewed by my favorite pill-popping hypocrite, Rush Limbaugh. Here's how Bush explained his Today comments:
Listen, I should have made my point more clear about what I meant. What I meant was that this is not a conventional war. It is a different kind of war. We're fighting people who have got a dark ideology who use terrorists, terrorism, as a tool. They're trying to shake our conscience. They're trying to shake our will, and so in the short run the strategy has got to be to find them where they lurk. I tell people all the time, "We will find them on the offense. We will bring them to justice on foreign lands so we don't have to face them here at home," and that's because you cannot negotiate with these people. And in a conventional war there would be a peace treaty or there would be a moment where somebody would sit on the side and say we quit. That's not the kind of war we're in, and that's what I was saying.Maybe I was wrong about Scott McClellan. Maybe he is psychic! I can see it now. On those oh so rare occasions when Bush misspeaks and needs help finding just the right words, he closes his eyes, clicks his heels three times, and says, "Beam me up, Scotty." Seriously, give me a break. George, in the Today interview, you never said "conventional war." You never said "different kind of war." You never said "peace treaty." You never said anything remotely close to what you told Oxycontin Boy. "I should have made my point more clear about what I meant." First of all, you should have said that in some form which is grammatically correct, and secondly, not only should you have been more clear on your point, you had the opportunity to do so as soon as you made the statements in the Today interview. Instead, you said "let's put it that way" and nothing more.
But wait--Bush had even more to say to Rush (that name now has a whole new meaning):
Really what I was saying to Lauer was, is that this is not the kind of war where you sit down and sign a peace treaty. It's a totally different kind of war. But we will win it.Again, George, you said nothing of the kind to Matt Lauer.
Go back and read what I said about McClellan's comments about conventional wars, peace treaties, and formal surrenders. Bush basically repeated McClellan's words (again). Does this mean that Bush is now saying that we never really won the war in Iraq?
So, Bush is trying to convince us that his statement that "I don't think you can win (the war on terror)" actually means "we will win the war on terror." I can only hope that anyone on this Spindletop ride walks out not feeling dizzy but like something in his or her brain has been awakened--something that allows one to see this spin for what it is: pure bullshit.