Subdued and understated, the two politicians most responsible for beginning a war now highly unpopular with both their publics acknowledged sour notes during a news conference at the White House on Thursday night, possibly their last joint appearance. Bush displayed almost none of his trademark backslapping bonhomie. Blair looked dour even when reporting hopeful signs from his trip to Iraq this week.Bush even admitted that his 'Bring 'em on' taunt was a big mistake:
Both men were euphoric in victory when their military juggernaut dethroned Saddam Hussein. The three years since then have been costly, and both leaders talked remorsefully about mistakes made.
A bit late, you fool. But maybe we should blame the fools who elected you.
At a joint news conference with Blair, after three years of war that has killed more than 2,400 Americans and thousands of Iraqis, Bush said that remark was "kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong message 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," he said.