George Bush Fesses Up

May 26th, 2006

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Yesterday, in a startling and uncharacteristic bout of honesty, President Bush admitted that he has talked tough on Iraq but that talk was totally empty.

PRESIDENT BUSH: “Sounds like kind of a familiar refrain here—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…”

Okay, so Bush confessions only go so far. Misinterpreted? Uh, no. It was interpreted precisely as he meant it—swaggering cowboy claptrap, that was meant to sound tough but in fact was just dumb. Or worse—it actually made things more difficult and dangerous for our troops, the people who had to cope with the insurgents after they’d been encouraged to “bring it on.”

But as we have been saying all along—and as he has now conveniently admitted—Bush has talked tough, but he hasn’t been smart. Our Message Memo Tough and Smart: A Winning National Security Strategy makes this point. And so does our Message Memo on the war Tough and Smart on Iraq: Getting it Right and Getting Out.

We hope you’ll take a look at them in light of this refreshing—if no doubt fleeting—moment of presidential candor.