The “Tone” Was The Least Of The Problems, Sir

On some level, I almost feel sorry for President Bush. It’s almost as though he physically lacks the kind of self awareness that the rest of us take for granted. You get the feeling that he really does believe that God chose him to be the President of the United States, and as such, he cannot be asked to accurately gauge his own human fallibility.

Chatting with the Times of London, Bush rued his image as someone who wanted to go to war:

President Bush has admitted to The Times that his gun-slinging rhetoric made the world believe that he was a “guy really anxious for war” in Iraq. He said that his aim now was to leave his successor a legacy of international diplomacy for tackling Iran.

In an exclusive interview, he expressed regret at the bitter divisions over the war and said that he was troubled about how his country had been misunderstood. “I think that in retrospect I could have used a different tone, a different rhetoric.”

Phrases such as “bring them on” or “dead or alive”, he said, “indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace”.

Of course, there has been much, and I mean MUCH condemnation regarding Bush’s rhetoric. Not only did his “Texan” demeanor complete with swagger made him seem as though he was itchin’ for a fight, but at times, usage of words such as “crusade” made him seem hamhanded at best, and dangerously ignorant at worst.

But the tough talk wasn’t what sealed the deal. Condemning as it was, the talk paled in comparison to the steps that were taken to actually bring us to war with Iraq*. The way the intelligence was sexed up, while dissenting opinions were stifled. Incredible sources such as Chalabi and Curveball were given far too much weight when perhaps skepticism would have bore more useful fruit.

Just as was the selling of the Iraq war far more indicative of how much Bush wanted to go to war with Iraq than merely his tone. From Colin Powell’s speech to the UN, to the, “smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud,” to the constant conflation of Osama bin Laden with Saddam Hussein, it was a full court press on the minds of the American public and the world at large that put us in Iraq.

Not Bush’s tone.

As a quick digression on the point of conflating threats, I find it interesting that Bush uses “Wanted Dead or Alive” as one of the examples of his offending tone. That quote was not delivered anywhere near Iraq, or our invasion thereof, but was instead spoken on September 17th, 2001, in reference to Osama bin Laden. Years after the fact, he simply can’t stop doing it.

Fact of the matter is, the tone was regrettable, you’ll find no arguments here. But the tone alone doesn’t fix the intelligence and sell the war to the public, and with those items added into the equation, it’s really hard to look at Bush as a “man of peace.”

More at Memeorandum: Political Radar, Tammy Bruce, the talking dog, Buck Naked Politics, The Political Carnival and Sadly, No!

*corrected.  H/T icruise

2 Responses to “The “Tone” Was The Least Of The Problems, Sir”

  1. Mark Adams says:

    The guy bought that stupid, useless “ranch” (something that usually requires some livestock to qualify for the term) just to nurture his faux cowboy image. It’s a deliberate facade, always has been.

    Clearing brush doesn’t make you a cowboy, except in the minds of the Village Press at Versailles on the Potomac.

    How can he regret his tone when he’s the most tonedeaf man on the planet. Jerk.

  2. icruise says:

    “But the tough talk wasn’t what sealed the deal. Condemning as it was, the talk paled in comparison to the steps that were taken to actually bring us to war with Iran”

    I think you mean “Iraq” there.

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