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Bush's Press Conference - thoughts, opinions?(28 posts)

Bush's Press Conference - thoughts, opinions?Me Dot Org
Mar 6, 2003 10:12 PM
Well, nothing unexpected here. I got the feeling that the President had some talking points:

1. Stay On Message, regardless of the question.

2. Appear calm, with patient, reasoned statements. Don't want to be perceived as "trigger happy."

3. Remember, the decision to go to war has NOT been made. War is a last resort.

4. We are still working with our friends at the United Nations.

5. Stay away from colorful cowboy metaphors that can be picked up by the European Press. (i.e., "We smoked him out, and now we got him runnin'...)

He reminded me of Tom Sawyer at a cotillion.

The thing I really found disturbing was the softball questions from the press. (Sorry for the sports metaphor.)They seemed almost deferential. Whatever your opionions are about the war, the press is supposed to be contentioous and vigorous. Tonight they weren't.
I think they shot him up with Valium.OldEdScott
Mar 7, 2003 5:29 AM
Jesus. What's this Zombie George act? That reeeaaaaallll caaaaalllllllmmmmm presentation of a totally vacuous argument convinced me -- as nothing else has to date -- that this is a wrongheaded war. It was the first time I've heard him make his case without Texas zingers and crazy arm flapping, and its weaknesses were laid bare.

This despite the fact that the reporters reminded me of nothing more than lame sheep. Hell, they made Dan Rather in his limp-d!cked Saddam interview look like the Grand Inquisitor.
Agree! My first thoughts were, "is he drunk?!?" And theRhodyRider
Mar 7, 2003 5:37 AM
repetition level bordered on robot-like, too. Very strange.
Weaknesses?Captain Morgan
Mar 7, 2003 7:01 AM
"Weaknesses laid bare"?? The only weakness is that the idiotic liberals cannot understand the dangers of WMD in Saddam's hands. All 15 countries who approved 1441 seemed to understand the dangers, not to mention the previous 16 resolutions on Iraq. We (the U.N.) gave him one last chance, and he did not comply. Gee, perhaps we should back down AGAIN. We backed down from al Qaeda several times during the Clinton administration, and look where that eventually got us.

Also, if you are insinuating that Bush is not a great public speaker, I have no quarrel with that. Also, there definitely was no liberal bias in the media last night.
The dangers of WMD in Saddam's hands?PdxMark
Mar 7, 2003 7:46 AM
The dangers to whom? Iraqi Kurds & Shi'ites? Hapless Iranian infantry? Where besides GWB's cowering head is there an actual threat by Iraq against the US? WMD in Iraq's hand are only a threat to the US if there's an actual threat to use them against the US.

The possibility of a threat is not the same thing as an actual threat. Those weapons have been in Iraq for 20 years. If you're such a smart conservative, please explain what imminent threat Iraq poses to the US. Imaginary terrorists getting Iraqi WMD don't count. Point to actual threatening gestures or changes in Iraqi postures showing a willingness to pass the weapons to anyone other than his own forces. If you can't, I suppose you can rely on imaginery terrorists. Hell, say Iraq will give them to Al Qaeda, GWB keeps trying that one.

As for this puffed up sanctimoniousness over UN sanctions, puhleeze. Other than providing a veneer of legitimacy to GWB's war of paranoic aggression, GWB and his conservative sheep couldn't care less about the UN, what it stands for, what it says, or tries to do.

To illustrate for you what a real threat is, let's consider North Korea. GWB's bellicose down-home cowboy diplomacy is working wonders there. We are expressly being threatened with NYC, Chicago, and Washington being nuked. N. Korea has nukes and submarines and possibly a missle that can reach the Western US. Hell, a rust bucket freighter puttering into any harbor in the US is all the delivery vehicle NK needs. Which is the real threat?

Of course, GWB is refusing to talk with NK. Talk is for pansy liberals and pompous French. So what's GWB great solution? He's demonstrating to the world that he'll launch a war regardless of what anyone anywhere thinks. NK can see that being played out in all its embarrassing detail. I at first assumed NK was just being its regular paranoid self with its saber rattling, but maybe they are actually being the reasonable ones in a world with GWB running loose.

Stupid brinksmanship is still stupid. A war without clear justification is a moral outrage.
Our alliesCaptain Morgan
Mar 7, 2003 8:35 AM
You liberals can't even see past your own pacifistic rhetoric. They admitted they had 8,500 litres of ANTHRAX. Tell me what good use is there for having that much anthrax?? How about one and a half TONS of VX nerve gas? Is he planning on using that for some productive use? Pa-lease.

Threat? Gee, what threat? He PROMISES not to invade any of his neighbors any more, gas his own people and his neighbors any more, or lob any more scuds into Israel and American military barracks any more. Liberals are so gullible.

NK is a different story. It just so happens that SK has a city with a population of 10 million people situated just 15 miles from where NK has amassed thousand of pieces of artillery. This is a perfect example of the hypocritical liberal stance. Bash Bush when he takes the reigns; Bash him when he doesn't. Its a no-win situation with you guys. He is allowing SK, Japan, and China to take an active stance in this situation.

GWB running loose? There is more support than you liberals let on. You can add U.K., Spain, Austrailia, Italy, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Israel, Kuwait...

You not supporting a war with clear justification is a moral outrage.
So you're saying Iraq is not a threat to the US?PdxMark
Mar 7, 2003 9:03 AM
Citing past invasions and murders of civilians does not prove a threat to the US, it proves that he's a menace to his region, but that's not why GWB says he wants this war.

What's the threat of anthrax if we have vaccines? It's not.

How does VX get delivered to the US and spread in a significant way? It can't. It could be used in a small scale Tokyo style attack, but Iraq doesn't ahve the aircraft or artillery to threaten the US with the VX. You're back down to your imaginary terrorist.

So you are saying this war is to be fought to spare Iraq's neighbors another invasion? We are sending 300,000 troops to protect Iraqi civilians? Those are the reasons for the war? You are confusing reasons with rationalizations.

As for SK/NK, SK and Japan are both asking us to talk with NK in the bilateral talks that NK is asking for. Cowboy George, after first refusing any talks, is now refusing the talks our allies are asking us to do.

There is a difference between engaging and attacking. GWB is disengaged from NK and planning to attack Iraq without justification.
So you're admitting he has WMD?Captain Morgan
Mar 7, 2003 10:58 AM
Res. 1441 says he had to decare those weapons, and he didn't. Why did the U.N. pass 1441 if they didn't want him to stick to it?

Also, you're admitting that the anthrax is a threat, but not VX because it can't be delivered here. Well, antibiotics can be successful in fighting anthrax IF it is caught in time. Look at the previous deaths that occured in the U.S. - they were diagnosed and they still died. Additionally, there is already recent evidence that Cipro may not be effective in fighting anthrax.

Is it a litmus test for you that a rogue state can have WMD as long as they can not have the means to deliver them to the U.S.? That would be a dangerous policy to have.

Regarding NK, Bush is trying to use diplomacy in conjunction with SK and Japan:

Why do you criticize Bush for NOT using diplomacy in Iraq and for USING it with NK? That seems awefully hypocritical.

Do you liberals actually know what bin Laden's goal is? It is not to kick Americans out of the Middle East. What is his mission (and the Taliban's)?
CNN!? Spare us your liberal propaganda!czardonic
Mar 7, 2003 11:12 AM
Let's not confuse an agreement to "talks" that stipulate absolutely no compromise on behalf of the US as "diplomacy". The most diplomatic thing that Bush could do is keep his idiot mouth shut and stop provoking these otherwise reclusive nuts. We wouldn't be in this mess with Noth Korea if not for the implicit threat Bush made against North Korea in his "Axis of Evil" statement.

As it is Bush's "diplomacy" has served no purpose other than to a) provoke North Korea b) illustrate Bush's diplomatic impotence and c) send a message to the rest of the worlds nut-job dictators that the only way to protect themselves from US agression is to develop nuclear weapons ASAP.
Its all Bush's faultCaptain Morgan
Mar 7, 2003 11:21 AM
If it weren't for Bush, North Korea would be a thriving economic powerhouse living in the mainstream of the free world. Their 1.1 million strong military, missile program, and nuclear program all derived out of concern about Bush's speech. They have a right to be concerned about "US agression." Our 47,000 soldiers are probably planning on overtaking their 1.1 million army any day now! I never really made the connection, but I think you're on to something!
When you are President, the buck stops with you.czardonic
Mar 7, 2003 11:35 AM
North Korea has indicated that they will concede their nuclear program if the US signs a non-agression treaty. If that doesn't make the connection for you, I give up.
They HAD a treaty!Captain Morgan
Mar 7, 2003 11:44 AM
NK was a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. THEY were the ones that backed out! If you think that there is ANY semblance of rationality with the childlike NK regime, I give up.
There is an obvious (to most) difference.czardonic
Mar 7, 2003 12:02 PM
Did the "Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty" protect North Korea from military action by the US? No. In fact, it mandated a lopsided situation where North Korea was prevented from mounting a credible deterent to nuclear backed US agression. Any rational nation would have abandoned that treaty at the first rattle of the US sabre.
I don't buy it.Captain Morgan
Mar 7, 2003 12:12 PM
NK has China backing it. I don't think NK feels threatened by us. They are telling their citizens that the US is planning an attack so that they unite against the US. I would hardly call NK "rational."
With Soeul 15 miles away...Captain Morgan
Mar 7, 2003 12:20 PM
NK has us by the b@!!$, and they know it.
Mar 7, 2003 2:18 PM
Between their proximity to our allies, their formidable military apparatus and their backing by China, Bush is in no position to dictate terms to them. They are an object lesson in the bankruptcy of Bush's cheap bluster. He bluffed and they called it, and provided proof to the world that the United States can be deterred.

Its not Bush's fault that North Korea is too strong to be strong-armed. But it is his fault for not recognizing it and pushing a stand-off towards crisis for no other reason than to add rhetorical symetry to his "Axis of (completely unrelated and un-allied) Evil".
I will START this time by admitting I haven't read the entiresn69
Mar 7, 2003 7:14 PM
thread. ;-)~

That said, there are a couple of issues related to the Korean contingency that bear being mentioned.

First, China does not support NK. In fact, since 1972 the government of China has increasingly pulled away and distanced themselves from Il and his father for various reasons. Primarily, however, China has become so economically interdependant on other nations (both in the region and abroad) that they can no longer afford Maoist-like unilateral support for NK. Furthermore, their economic interests in the region are only further destabilized when Il rattles his sabre (which he does quite frequently). ...Now, that's not to say that China (and Russia) haven't sold weapons to NK. Business, after all, is business, and it's worth noting that Germany, France, Israel and South Africa have also sold them weapons and associated infrastructure over the past 25 years.

Second, SK's populace centricity to the DMZ and the border do not factor in as much in our regionalized strategy as you might think. The predominant issue is the initial tactical advantage that advancing NK forces would have by merit of surprise, overwhelming numbers and terrain that is in their favor (they would be advancing down from the high ground into the lowlands). Thus, the regional strategy forwarded by PACCOM (formerly CINCPAC) and 7th Fleet is unchanged since 1948--essentially a measured fall-back to the Pusan perimeter while the 1st Cav. and Kitty Hawk battle groups sacrifice themselves to buy time for mobilized forces from 3rd Fleet, 2nd MarDiv and CENTCOM. SK's capital is a loss...initially. The NK's don't have us by the b@lls or any other genitalia per say.

In spite of what I just said, NK is not particularly strong. Their Army quite litterally supplements their food rations with locally grown farm sustinence, and it's reasonably estimated that the majority of their expendible munitions are at or beyond their shelf lives. They do not have a thriving (or even subsisting) industrial base with which to resupply, and it's highly unlikely that China would provide much of anything from the rear.

The Japanese also factor into the equation, which is something typically overlooked by many. For the past 10 years, the JMSDF has been quietly acquiring Aegis/SPY1 AAW capability to provide more than ample theater balistic missile defense. Additionally, their Air Force combined with that of SK's would quickly establish air supremacy over the South in the face of an invading force. Going back to the Pusan fall-back strategy, that's where the measured retreat bit comes in. Rather than a paniced route as in the Korean War, this one is designed to be a tactical withdrawl to suck in the NK Army and strain its logistical infrastructure so that it's vulnerable to air and SOF attack (again, pending resupply from mainland US).
So, what DO these pesky NK's have that's so bad-a@@?sn69
Mar 7, 2003 7:34 PM
Well, for starters their IADS (Integrated Air Defense Network) is an amazing piece of analog architecture with overlapping fields of acquisition and engagement. Very little of NK proper lies unprotected. Likewise, the very nature of the antiquated computers make much of it relatively hardened against EM pulse weapons. By way of comparison, the Iraqi IADS in GW1 was highly digitized and had one central relay node that was wiped out by Apaches on the first strike of the first night. After that, the systems couldn't share info and were essentially operating blindly.

While the NK's system is admittedly archaic in terms of what defines current state of the art, it's still worth noting that a 20 foot long SA-2 or 15 foot long SA-5 slamming into your aircraft at speeds in excess of mach 5 is still enough to ruin your day. ...And they have a LOT of them. The issue that we can only make educated guesses about, however, is that a great many will probably explode on the launchers. They are simply THAT old. Likewise, NK lacks anti-stealth capability (even the Bosnians and Yugoslavs had some of that in limited capability).

The NK army is still nonetheless huge, and one can only guess what type of motivational factors are used on them internally. Frankly, 40-50 DIVISIONS streaming down from the north would be enough to cause any sizeable counter-force to fall back. Momentum alone will account for the first three days of any conflict. The 1st Cav's unfortunate job is to be as big a speed bump as they can be to slow the advance. Furthermore, as Nikita once noted, quantity has a quality and such....

On a more siniter note, NK has maintained a robust SOF capability since the first war, and they have been willing to use them in flagrant acts of covert aggression against SK, Japan and even China. SOF infiltrations are regular occurances in the rocky coastlines of SK, and NK SOF units have also operated on Honshu, Sakalhine and within China (probably seeking nuclear material in the latter two). The 4-5 divisions of NK SOF represent their most deadly, long-term weapon. Likewise, their bases of operation would likely be the first areas slicked by TLAM and SLAM attack from the Kitty Hawk BG.

Subs? Yeah, they've got a bunch, but most of them are rusting, beyond-obsolete Soviet Novembers and Romeos (roughly analogous to American WW2 Tang and Gato class boats with slightly younger compters circa 1954). The problem is that NK strategy "procured" from "sources" dictates that the subs be used as single-shot weapons, suicide torpodoers of sorts, waiting on the shallow approaces of the South China Sea for the KH BG to approach. Their premise is that each boat will get off a torp or two before the S-3s, P-3s and SH-60s pounce and send them to kimchee hell. Will it work? Who knows, but it's a kamikaze tactic and that's scary unto itself.

Nuclear weapons, ICBMs and whatnot. They have bio/chem munitions. We know that. They might have enough weapons grade plutonium for two devices (at least that's what unclassified documents attribute them with). Delivery systems are still in work, although fitting a groundburst device to an artillery shell or dumb bomb is not terribly insurmountable.

Czar made an intersting point with regards to the Prez and other dictators' seeming provoked quest for nukes. There might be a measure of truth to that, but it doesn't account for the simple fact that these weapons WILL proliferate as a function of access to analytical technology and nuclear power. With the former, number crunching was once the limiting factor, and one either needed a vast talent pool of nuclear physicists or a lot of huge reel-to-reel computers. The average Dell or Gateway has all the power one needs any more, and basic weapons physics are easily obtainable on the internet. With regards to the latter, reactors can be designed to breed plutonium from energy-grade uranium. Ours don't because such reactors a
And yet more from LCDR Goofball....sn69
Mar 7, 2003 7:51 PM
Ours don't because such reactors are also inherently unstable, dangerous and prone to meltdowns. For example, there's also a substantial DOD contingency in works in case NK's reactor suffers a China Syndrome event as a result of Il's quest (although it'd probably be more of a North Carolina Syndrome).

What's compelling is that with or without provocation from a cowboy president (uh-oh...did I just say that?), this is an inevitability. The weapons will proliferate over time. What I find more compelling for a diplomatic solution is the need to persuade NK to keep their grubby cr@p to themselves, and NOT to sell it to the highest bidder....such as Osama.

Why, then, have we approached this side of the axsis so differently? Some will argue that it's an oil issue, blah blah blah. Frankly, I think the most compelling, pragmatic truth is that between the two, Iraq will be easier to spank. There's also a substantial difference between the psychology of both leaders in question, and containment/appeasment/engagement has historically worked with measured success with Il. None of those strategies have yet to work with Hussien. (Please, Czar,...I'm not arguing about why we're doing what we're apparently headed for in the Persian Gulf.)

Most realistically, I think--actually I know 'cause I've read a lot of the RAND and CNA studies--that the NK Contingecy will actually result in a lot more civilian casualties. Vengance SCUD strikes against Israel notwithstanding, the population centers of the Middle East are simply far enough apart so as to minimize the threat of mass civilian casualties in a retaliatory theater ballistic missile strike. (Also, Saddam doesn't have nearly as many short to medium range BMs as NK.) By way of comparison, NK has all of SK, all of Japan, Vladivostok, most of China's centralized population centers, Singapore, Indonesia and the Spratlys within its sights. In the not-too-distant future, NK will also have Australia, India, Thailand, New Zealand, Guam and Hawaii. Now we're talking power projection and now we're delving into the concept (yet again) of strategic deterrance.

And the cycle of human stupidity continues.

What it boils down to from the CAREER diplomats (as opposed to the elected or appointed temporary help), is that NK is best solved diplomatically with prudence paid towards subtly bolstering local defenses just in case. Is Il really trying to engage us in an anti-aggression treaty? We've signed them in the past, you know, yet NK never halted their SOF infiltrations and Naval actions against SK or Japan. Is he trying to get attention? Some dimplomatic profilers have labled him as a bipolar with a severe personality disorder. Is he sore because he isn't the center of attention (not likely in my opinion)? Is he trying to help his country in order to draw them out of the pit of despair he and his pop put them in? (Again, I find that unlikely too.) Is he reacting to an American administration that he sees as being decidedly antagonistic? Perhaps, but the Chinese don't and they are our closest peer competitor in terms of strategic capability. (Then again, they're economically interdependant on us as much as we are on them. Been to Hong Kong lately? I have....)

I don't think, and I fervently hope, that we don't rehash the Korean War. I value those people niether more nor less than the Middle Easterners, but I forsee more of them dying in the event that NK comes south. Likewise, I'm not convinced that more appeasement AS IT WAS DONE LAST TIME is in order. This is a solution probably best left to proxy, assuming an interested third party like China or Japan is willing to even talk to Disco Pimp Il. One thing is for certain, at least in my muddled and admittedly inferior mind; if we mobilize in the Korean theater like we're doing in the Gulf, Il will jump, his troops will fly south, and millions will die before we take him out.

Rant complete
Hey, Saddam might give WMD to right-wing militias!czardonic
Mar 7, 2003 11:00 AM
And I'm not talking about the Taliban! Right-wing American terrorist groups are the only ones threatening other Americans with Anthrax of late. Maybe the Baa'th party should consider donating funds to Bush's re-election campaign. That seems to be a sure way to get your terrorist ties back-burnered.
The US has Anthrax.sacheson
Mar 7, 2003 12:11 PM
Should someone be attacking us?

If not, then why is it OK that we harbour it and other countries can't?
We do? Where and in what type of weapon?sn69
Mar 8, 2003 8:14 AM
The truth is we do not have any biological weapons in the current stock pile and almost all of our remaining chemical weapons have been destroyed. Ever been to Baker Island in the South Pacific? I have--that's where they are taken and disposed of in the word's largest and quite possibly hottest incinerator facility.

I understand the reasoning behind your argument, but the logic is flawed. You suggest (at least I think) that we are being duplicitous in regards to our forced policy that is hell bent on stemming the tide of WMDs while we retain an ample stock-pile of nuclear weapons, many of which are at the ready. Granted...that's a valid point.

We do not, however, have biological weapons and our chemical stockpiles remaining from the Cold War are almost completely destroyed. We admittedly retain research facilities like that at Ft Dietrich to develop cures and counter-tactics to protect our troops and humanity on a larger scale...but that's because "the poor man's nuke" is becoming increasingly common throughout the world. ...And it has been proliferating long before GWB--thus, one cannot conveniently blame that on his policies that are otherwise offensive to so many.

Likewise, we've never used a chem or bio weapon against an enemy or against a civilian populace. Point blank...we haven't. We used nukes twice and never again...and hopefully that track record will remain unchanged until DOD finally persuades the NCA to rid ourselves of the remaining stockpile of strategic nuclear weapons. (Yes, DOD is openly lobbying for a vast reduction far beyond the upper end limitations imposed by START and SALT.)

The thing is, this crisis continues to engender a selective blindness of sorts. The right automatically drinks GWB's purple koolaid and believes everything he says without adequately judging the merits of his arguments. At the same time, the left would be against anything he was to say because he is so vitriolic and hard to respect, and, more compellingly, because (right or wrong...doesn't matter), they feel he is not the fairly elected leader of this land.

Balance, as always, lies in the details...details that neither side is openly disseminating because it would show the situation to be a quagmire of conflicting crises. Both sides are seeking an easy answer to a tough problem.

In the meantime, we do not have a stockpile of biological weapons. Not in artillery pieces, not in aerosol bombs, not in missile warheads. We learned through years of simulation during the Cold War that chem/bio weapons are not controllable beyond the initial use of area denial. If you'd like to learn more from an admittedly left-leaning but nonetheless analytical site, I suggest .
Clinton did it! (Squawk!) Clinton did it! (Squawk!) Clinton....Dale Brigham
Mar 7, 2003 10:14 AM
This reminds me of that great old Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper song, "Elvis is Everywhere," wherein all things are attributed to Elvis, and which has the call-and-response verses:

Who built the pyramids?
Who built Stonehenge?
Who discovered America?

So, how about these, in the "Clinton is Everywhere" theme:

Who lost the Twin Towers?
Who made Saddam strong?
Who let Bin Laden go?

C'mon kids, let's have a few more verses! It helps to take our minds off the current occupant in the White House.

re: Bush's Press Conference - thoughts, opinions?mickey-mac
Mar 7, 2003 6:56 AM
I caught only the tail-end of the conference on radio. However, I didn't find the following exchange very reassuring:

QUESTION: What can you say tonight, sir, to the sons and the daughters of the Americans who served in Vietnam to assure them that you will not lead this country down a similar path in Iraq?

BUSH: It's a great question.

Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament.

In order to disarm, it will mean regime change. I'm confident that we'll be able to achieve that objective in a way that minimizes the loss of life.

No doubt there's risks with any military operation. I know that. But it's very clear what we intend to do. And our mission won't change. The mission is precisely what I just stated. We've got a plan that will achieve that mission should we need to send forces in.


Oh, all right, so we have not only a clear mission but a very clear mission. That makes me feel so much better. I have no reason to think we're headed into a prolonged Vietnam-like conflict (we may be headed into another type of prolonged conflict), but shouldn't our president be better able to explain how the current situation differs from what we faced in Vietnam? Does anyone feel comforted by the simple statement that we have a "clear mission"?
It's a Conspiracy!!!!Jon Billheimer
Mar 7, 2003 8:29 AM
The CIA is orchestrating this whole thing. They've got Dubya drugged and have implanted a mind control chip in his...cranial cavity.
Mar 7, 2003 8:32 AM
You guys would have a lot more credibility if you focused on substance, not vitriolic personal attacks. I know you and others did sprinkle a little substance in there, but the message some of you send repeatedly is not much more than "I don't like Bush, and I'll take every chance I get to poke fun or attack him." Over and over, same message. Sure, feel free to do that all you want, sometimes it's actually humorous. For the most part, though, all it does is rally up your cohorts into similar attacks, totally obfuscating any legitimate, substantive remarks you might score some points on.

Nonetheless, who really cares? I have to keep reminding myself, too, that this is just a silly internet forum... :-)

Mar 7, 2003 8:41 AM
I'd say the primary focus has been on lack of substance.
He seemed WAY vague, and used the same answers...cory
Mar 7, 2003 9:26 AM
I missed the beginning of it, but he seemed very vague, like he couldn't understand the questions or was grappling for answers. Personally I think he doesn't even know there ARE questions, but this was beyond that--he almost did seem drugged, as somebody else said. Maybe they're trying to give an impression of thoughtful consideration, or something. And he seemed to have only three answers, no matter what the question: My Job is to Protect The American People; Weapons of Mass Destruction and Regime Change. He did that so often I was embarrassed for him. Almost.