Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Listen carefully...

Listen carefully whenever the Bush administration says something.

Today, Bush said that, "To the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility".

Did he say "I am to blame"? No.

Did he say "I was responsible, ultimately, for the failures of the federal government"? No... close, but no cigar.

No, he said that he takes responsibility - not blame, but responsibility - for the "extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right". Not even responsibility for the failures, but for places where the government was "not fully doing the job right"

This could mean that he was responsible for the failures, but if so, why wouldn't he say that? He is, after all, praised as a plain speaker, right?

What I think he means is that he is, going forward, going to take responsibility for the situation, and prevent future failures. Words like "I'm sorry", "I was wrong" and "I made a mistake" seem to stick in this man's throat... so he doesn't say them, and we have no reason to suspect he means them.

He's a slick one, this President... he says that the Guantanemo detainees are not covered by the Geneva Conventions - that is, the conventions simply do not apply at all, but then claims they've been treated in accordance with those conventions.

This is like saying you're not speeding under California law, while you're driving in Idaho. California speed limits don't apply in Idaho... you can be driving 120 in a 35 zone, and not be speeding under California law.

Keep your ears and mind open. When listening to any politician - Democrat, Republican, or other - talk is cheap. Look to the actions.

Was Bush saying the Guantanemo detainees were being treated as well as POWs would be, under the Geneva Conventions? No. He carefully avoided saying that.

And did he say "The buck stops here; I was in charge, so I was at fault?"

No.

Now listen to his supporters. I can guarantee you that some of them will lambaste people like me for saying that Bush's "apology" wasn't enough. They'll pretend that I (and people like me) hold Bush to an impossible standard... but all I want to hear is an admission that, yes, there were failures, and yes, George W. Bush was the man who was supposed to prevent those failures.

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