Friday, May 26, 2006

Q Mr. President, you spoke about missteps and mistakes in Iraq. Could I ask both of you which missteps and mistakes of your own you most regret?

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, and so I learned from that.

--from yesterday's joint appearance with Tony Blair

Why did he throw in "dead or alive"? That was typical Bush faux-cowboy swagger, but the pronouncement wasn't irresponsible -- we do want bin Laden dead or alive. The only misinterpretation involved was that people thought he actually meant it.

And "bring 'em on" wasn't a mistake because of the risk of cross-cultural mistranslation -- it was a mistake because Bush was inviting enemy forces to kill Americans (and, of course, he'd never sent over enough troops to resist those enemies).

He still doesn't get it.

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