Given 2008's inevitably ramped-up analysis of the Bush Legacy by the very serious traditional media, there's one aspect of the president which, staggeringly though not surprisingly, won't be covered. In fact, it's never been covered to my knowledge. The traditional media has never really challenged the president on his grotesquely inappropriate reactions to serious issues -- especially Iraq.
His uncomfortably ridiculous smirks and smiles illustrate his inadequacies as a leader: his fugacious attitude; his vacant stature; and, most strikingly, his apparent inability to grasp the reality of his decisions. It's all right there on the screen -- underlined by those tiny baby teeth.
So as a reminder to the traditional media, I'd like to present the Most Inappropriate Bush War Smirk of 2007. But first, some runners up.
The date: October 17, 2007
The place: The White House Press Briefing Room
The hilarious quote: "But this -- we got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel. So I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding [grinning] World War III [end grinning], it seems like you [begin giggling] ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge [end giggling] necessary to make a nuclear weapon."
The date: April 3, 2007
The place: The White House Rose Garden
The hilarious quote: "That's precisely why I sent more troops into Baghdad."
The date: January 14, 2007
The place: 60 Minutes
The hilarious quote: "There's not enough troops on the ground right now to provide security for Iraq and that's why I made the decision I made."
And now, for the historical record, The Most Inappropriate Bush War Smirk of 2007:
The date: January 16, 2007
The place: PBS's NewsHour With Jim Lehrer
The hilarious quote: "If I didn't believe we could keep the egg from fully cracking, I wouldn't ask 21,000 kids -- additional kids to go into Iraq to reinforce those troops that are there."
Soon after this smirk, the president, as part of his euphemistically nicknamed New Way Forward, ordered an additional 21,000 soldiers into Iraq with the goal of providing military cover for a political solution to the civil war there.
During the intervening 11 months between the above smirk and today, 6,796 American soldiers were either killed or wounded under the president's hap-hap-happy command.
The political solution for which these soldiers gave their lives... never happened.
I don't know who he thinks he is or what he thinks he's grinning about, but for the Commander in Chief of the United States armed forces to smile and giggle while discussing warfare of any form or magnitude is an insult -- not just to the soldiers who followed his orders into battle, but also to basic decency and human morality. From his zany "those WMDs have to be around here somewhere" sketch to his shit-eating grin whilst comparing warfare to wacky-yet-delicious breakfast foods, this extends far beyond the necessary objective distance of a military leader and into the realms of madness.
This is the Bush Legacy, Traditional Media. Please consider this in the coming months. President Bush injected a psycho bomb into the Middle East without any real grasp of the consequences and, nearly five years into the conflict, is so affectless about these consequences as to smirk and laugh at it all.
Or maybe there's an hilarious joke in there somewhere and we're all just dumb about it.