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If the Shoe Fits

Well, we haven’t talk about President Bush and Iraq in awhile. In fairness, even the Republilcans tried to make us forget Bush was President and Iraq barely surfaced in the presidential election. Bob Gates is staying on in the defense department and Obama is ready to lead us forward. So why worry about Bush — we’re down to the last 40 days. He just has to stay out of trouble.

Then the shoe dropped. Then another.

Personally, I wish I had a dollar for every time some TV network was showing the clip of Bush being attacked by the shoes. Ir’s amazing how TV news can bombard you with a single image repeatedly. But the shoe incident seems the perfect bookend piece to the infamous “Mission Accomplished” banner from 2003 on the aircraft carrier. Both incidents, marking the beginning and end of Bush’s involvement in Iraq seem to underscore just how clueless the man is.

Then comes this shot from an ABC News interview with the President in Iraq:

“Reality-based observers have long known that the Bush administration’s attempts to connect al Qaeda with pre-invasion Iraq have been nothing more than a campaign of misinformation. Al Qaeda had no presence in Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion, and even afterward, the so-called “al Qaeda in Iraq” never amounted to anything more than a “microscopic terrorist organization” with “850 full time fighters.” But regardless of the facts, one theme has been constant from this administration. The presence of al Qaeda, terrorists, “special groups,” and foreign fighters (typically from Iran) is sold as justification for the invasion and occupation, when it is actually the result of the invasion and occupation.

That’s what makes this part of the interview between President George W. Bush and ABC News’ Martha Raddatz so extraordinary:

BUSH: One of the major theaters against al Qaeda turns out to have been Iraq. This is where al Qaeda said they were going to take their stand. This is where al Qaeda was hoping to take-

RADDATZ: But not until after the U.S. invaded.

BUSH: Yeah, that’s right. So what? The point is that al Qaeda said they’re going to take a stand. Well, first of all in the post-9/11 environment Saddam Hussein posed a threat. And then upon removal, al Qaeda decides to take a stand.”

Wow. “That’s right. So what?” That’s how Bush admits that the repeatedly mentioned links between the September 11 attacks, al Qaeda, and Iraq were just manipulations? al Qaeda didn’t go into Iraq until we were there.

Meanwhile, we face an uphill battle in both Pakistan (trying to find Bin Laden) and Afghanistan. You can’t help but wonder how much further ahead we would have been by deploying more forces to Afghanistan in 2003.

So the shoe-throwing incident is the perfect closure for the Bush administration in Iraq. One more piece of the sad, surreal circus. The President just doesn’t get it. He never did.

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