Monday, May 21, 2007

The Lesson In A Press Conference

The President held a joint press conference with Nato Secretary General de Hoop Scheffer which I believe holds a valuable lesson for the President in regards to the worlds opinion in the "war on terror".

The President did not take long to bring up this struggle when the event started. Yet the entire focus for the President and Secretary in regards to the "war on terror" had to do with Afghanistan. Performing a search in the transcript of the event for the word Iraq will not yield one single result. Let me highlight this point: not ONCE does "Iraq" pass the lips of either man in that press conference.

Of course the reason for that is that America could not get Nato backing for the ill conceived and disastrous war in Iraq. Indeed, Iraq's neighbor to the north is Turkey, which is a member of Nato. Not only did Turkey refuse to contribute forces for the invasion of their southern neighbor, they refused to allow us to use Turkey to launch our own forces into Iraq. Turkey has been a regional ally of America for decades, even allowing us to stage missles in their territory during the Cold War, until the Soviet Union bargained their removal in order to rachet down the Cuban missle crisis. Turkey's refusal to allow the 4th Infantry division to cross it's southern border resulted in that division being shuffled around the region and marched through Kuwait... mainly arriving after the invasion launched from Kuwait had toppled Saddam.

Turkeys snub followed close upon the refusal of Germany and France to back our position in the United Nations. Great Britain contributed troops to the Iraq adventure. So it was clear early on in the process that the members of the Nato alliance would not hold a uniform position in the Iraq war. This was a marked change from the Afghanistan campaign to dethrone the Taliban, and the following occupation, which has enjoyed Nato participation. Not just from Nato participants, but under the auspices of the alliance as a whole.

Thus it is that the President must focus on Afghanistan when the Secretary General of Nato comes a-calling. Iraq is a glaring example of how this President discarded traditional alliances, costing American prestige in world opinion in the most disastrous decision in American military history. Nato certainly isn't acting like Iraq is the central front in "the war on terror". They appear to be more knowledgeable about this matter than the President! The real war on terror is being fought in Afghanistan, and the war in Iraq is giving the enemy a tremendous boost in recruitment and by siphoning off resources which should be used in the real war against those who attacked us on 9/11.

The lesson from this press conference then, as far as I'm concerned, is that our President is a colossal bonehead. He must realize it too. I mean can you imagine how Bush must feel knowing that he is going to go to a press conference to talk about the "war on terror", but he can not mention the war in Iraq even once? He must have broken into a cold sweat, wondering how in the world he could pull that one off.

One final question. How is it that after years of having "the war on terror" and the war in Iraq conflated by the President and his spokestoadies, that some intrepid member of the Press corps didn't sally forth with the following question. "Mr. President, you said of Mr. Scheffer: 'The Secretary General of NATO has been a strong advocate of fighting terror, spreading freedom, helping the oppressed and modernizing this important alliance'. How do you reconcile that with the fact that Nato has refused to participate in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, which you claim is the central front in the war on terror?"

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