The President Emboldens Me

A few notes about tonight’s Presidential Press Conference…

* This was only Bush’s third prime-time press conference in which he took questions from the press. The last one was a year ago, shortly before the Iraq War began.
* Bush used the word *embolden* twice. _Embolden: to render bold or more bold; to hearten, encourage_ (OED)
* Saying something doesn’t make it so. When Bush says he “honors” the troops who have fallen, it doesn’t actually perform any honoring. Unless you’re a priest saying “I pronounce you man and wife,” your words don’t actually perform any actions. For Bush to really honor the American soldiers and civilians who have lost their lives in Iraq, he needs to do something more than just saying he “honors” them. Allow their caskets to be photographed by journalists (rather than hiding the fact of their deaths). Attend their funerals.
* Bush is allergic to apologies. When he was asked directly whether he should apologize for his handling of the War on Terror, Bush dodged the question.
* Bush said “I believe that freedom is the deepest need of every human soul.” Two words: Patriot Act.
* Bush sees the transformation of Iraq from dictatorship to a democracy with free elections as central to the greater transformation of the Middle East. Bush is only promoting the rhetoric of democracy, however. What about Saudi Arabia? Any U.S. policy geared toward a democratic Middle East must address the problems of Saudi Arabia, a repressive monarchy whose citizens have very few civil liberties. As long as Saudi Arabia is our ally (in other words, supplying oil), the United States will overlook this black hole of democracy in the Middle East.