His Lame Duckness spent the weekend on a “peacemaking” mission that consisted notably of bashing Iran and trying to convince the region to do something about Iran “before it’s too late.”
In public, President Bush has been careful to reassure Israel and other allies that he still sees Iran as a threat, while not disavowing his administration’s recent National Intelligence Estimate. That NIE, made public Dec. 3, embarrassed the administration by concluding that Tehran had halted its weapons program in 2003, which seemed to undermine years of bellicose rhetoric from Bush and other senior officials about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But in private conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week, the president all but disowned the document, said a senior administration official who accompanied Bush on his six-nation trip to the Mideast. “He told the Israelis that he can’t control what the intelligence community says, but that [the NIE’s] conclusions don’t reflect his own views” about Iran’s nuclear-weapons program, said the official, who would discuss intelligence matters only on the condition of anonymity.
Reckless? Stupid? Pig-headed? Yes, all of that, and yet so nouvelle politique. Remember Ron Suskind’s article in the October 17, 2004, New York Times Magazine? Truly the
motto epitaph of the era:
In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn’t like about Bush’s former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House’s displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn’t fully comprehend — but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.
The aide said that guys like me were in what we call the reality-based community, which he defined as people who believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality. I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. That’s not the way the world really works anymore, he continued. We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.