Saturday, May 27, 2006
Bush's Shades of Grey
Thursday night George Bush reluctantly admitted,
"...saying "bring it on," kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong signal to people. I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner -- you know, "wanted dead or alive," that kind of talk. I think in certain parts of the world it was misinterpreted, and so I learned from that. And I think the biggest mistake that's happened so far, at least from our country's involvement in Iraq is Abu Ghraib. We've been paying for that for a long period of time."
This was a significant statement and a watershed moment for a man who has refused to publicly consider ever being wrong. But it was not significant for the reason many pundits said that it was. It was not a man finally coming to grips with the reality that his actions had added fuel to the proverbial fire that he was the arsonist for in the first place. He was not apologizing to the families of fallen soldiers after he boasted, "Bring it on!" Nor was he admitting that he was not up to the task as Commander and Chief when he stated, "Wanted dead or alive". His mention of Abu Ghraib in no way included his responsibility for creating the conditions that caused it.
To see Bush's intent all you need do is look at how he made these so called admissions. What he admitted to was making these statements in an "unsophisticated" manner, that they were "misinterpreted" and in the case of Abu Ghraib he only regretted the result of the scandal not he torture itself.
What this episode proves is that Mr. Bush still doesn't get it - and I would say probably never will. It was clearly a calculated act. His "Texas Cowboy "routine wasn't moving his poll numbers in the direction he liked - so he tacked - in a desperate attempt to find better political wind.
It was significant for this reason.
Up until now all George had going for him was his "Conviction", his unwaivering "faith" that he is right - on every decision - on every issue. As Stephen Colbert put it, "He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change; this man's beliefs never will."
Well that is not the case anymore. With these clumsy statements, the "Decider" has now admitted that everything in his world is not black and white - good versus evil. His faith in his judgment just buckled and he has opened the door for even his most ardent supporters to question his actions. As a result, everyone including his most conservative base now must face - Bush's shades of grey.