In just one speech at the Naval War College yesterday, the President managed to suggest that Israel is a good model for Iraq and to appear to make light of the possible death of Fidel Castro.
Bush cites Israel as model for Iraq
NEWPORT, R.I. — President Bush held up Israel as a model for defining success in Iraq, saying Thursday the U.S. goal there is not to eliminate attacks but to enable a democracy that can function despite violence.
..."Our success in Iraq must not be measured by the enemy's ability to get a car bombing in the evening news," he said. "No matter how good the security, terrorists will always be able to explode a bomb on a crowded street."
He suggested Israel, the frequent target of terrorist attacks and a country in a decades-long, intractable and often violent dispute with Palestinians, as a standard to strive for.
"In places like Israel, terrorists have taken innocent human life for years in suicide attacks," Bush said. "The difference is that Israel is a functioning democracy and it's not prevented from carrying out its responsibilities. And that's a good indicator of success that we're looking for in Iraq."
It was likely to be controversial — and possibly even explosive — for Bush to set out Israel as a model for a Muslim Middle Eastern nation.
Then, later in the speech, the New York Times reports on Bush accidentally encouraging "laughing and clapping" at the prospect of the death of Fidel Castro:
President Bush on Thursday raised the anticipated death of the dictator Fidel Castro as an opportunity to push for democracy in Cuba, which he called the “one nondemocracy in our neighborhood.”
“One day, the good Lord will take Fidel Castro away,” Mr. Bush said during remarks here at the Naval War College.
The audience reacted by laughing and clapping at what seemed to be a wink from Mr. Bush. But, in an apparent effort to dispel the notion that he was making light of Mr. Castro’s health, he hushed them, saying, “No, no, no,” and continued, “Then, the question is, ‘What will be the approach of the U.S. government?’
With a diplomat like this in the Oval Office, who needs the State Department?