Of course, Bush is always saying shit live on CNN, but this time he really said "shit". Worse yet, he did it with his mouth full of food while slagging off Kofi Annan and the UN and revealing his extraordinarily simplistic attitude to international diplomacy:
“I don’t like the sequence of it,” Mr Bush said to Mr Blair before the G8 leaders sat down to lunch. “His attitude is basically ceasefire and everything else happens.”Think Progress has the video.
“What they need to do is get Syria to get Hizbollah to stop doing this shit and it’s over,” Mr Bush said. “I felt like telling Kofi to get on the phone with [Syrian president Bashar al-] Assad and make something happen.”
And that's only part of it, unfortunately... There were other embarrassing segments too:
In another segment in which the president was apparently speaking to an aide who asked about his plan for upcoming remarks, Mr. Bush said, “I’m just going to make it up, right here — I’m not going to talk too damn long like the rest of them.” […]So here is a person who is - nominally at least, the most powerful man in history - and he is at a crisis meeting of world leaders, but he is not prepared to waste time talking, because he has more important things to do???! Like what???!
At another moment, Mr. Bush was clearly itching to return to the White House, saying to someone, “Good job, gotta keep this thing moving — I gotta’ leave at 2:15 — you’ll want me out of town so to free up your security forces.’’ .
“Gotta go home. Got something to do tonight,” Mr. Bush said, then, apparently turning to Mr. Hu, adding, “How about you? When are you going home?”
Who said Cowboy Diplomacy is dead?
UPDATE: From Juan Cole:
Bush thinks that Nasrullah of Hizbullah takes direct orders from Damascus. And he thinks that if Bashar al-Asad orders Hizbullah to stop firing its little katyushas and give back the two Israeli soldiers, everything will suddenly settle down.And some good insight from a TPM reader:
It is an astonishingly simple-minded view of the situation, painted in black and white and making assumptions about who is who's puppet and what the Israeli motivations are. Israel doesn't appear as a protagonist. It is purely reactive. Stop provoking it, and it suddenly stops its war.
Since Israel is just being provoked and has no ambitions of its own, in this reading, it is useless to begin with a ceasefire. That treats the two sides as both provoking one another. Here, only Hizbullah matters, so you lean on Syria to lean on it, and, presto, peace breaks out.
It is a little window into the superficial, one-sided mind of the man, who has for six years been way out of his depth.
I come away from it shaken and trembling.
... this brief clip captures a president who does not look emotionally or intellectually capable of leading in this crisis.It's also worth bearing in mind that this open microphone could have been a set-up by people who are sick and tired of working with this clown, and want to see his idiocy exposed.
In a world where our media is incapable of directly stating that view, clips like this exist as a proxy for honest analysis. It's news because of it stands for what the media feels it cannot say.
UPDATE 2: BBC has the full transcript of the main segment:
Bush: And thanks for the sweaters - I know you picked em out yourself...Blair should be just as embarrassed as Bush by this.
Blair: Oh yes absolutely - in fact I knitted it!!!
Bush: What about Kofi Annan - he seems alright. I don't like his ceasefire plan. His attitude is basically ceasefire and everything sorts out.... But I think...
Blair: Yeah the only thing I think is really difficult is that we can't stop this without getting international presence agreed. I think what you guys have talked about which is the criticism of the [inaudible word). I am perfectly happy to try and see what the lie of the land is, but you need that done quickly because otherwise it will spiral.
Bush: Yeah I think Condi's [US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice) gonna go soon.
Blair: Well that's all that matters but if you... You see at least it gets it going.
Bush: I agree it's a process...I told her your offer too.
Blair: Well it's only if she needs the ground prepared as it were. If she goes out she HAS to succeed whereas I can just go and...
Bush: You see the irony is what they need to is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's all over...
Blair: Dunno... Syria....
Blair: Because I think this is all part of the same thing...
Bush: (with mouth full of bread) Yeah
Blair: Look - what does he think? He thinks if Lebanon turns out fine. If you get a solution in Israel and Palestine. Iraq goes in the right way
Bush: Yeah - he's [indistinct]
Blair: Yeah.... He's had it. That's what all this is about - it's the same with Iran
Bush: I felt like telling Kofi to call, to get on the phone to Assad and make something happen.
BUSH: [indistinct] blaming Israel and [indistinct] blaming the Lebanese government....
UPDATE 3: One of the informed comments at Juan Cole's blog cites this incident as the spark which pre-dates the retaliatory Hezbollah capture of two Israeli soldiers:
Elite commandos mounted Israel's first arrest raid into the Gaza Strip on Saturday since the Jewish state withdrew a year ago, detaining two suspected Hamas militants in an apparent change of tactics.While this June 24 incursion marked the first arrest raid since the Israeli pullout from Gaza, Israeli air strikes had already killed 15 civilians. Those air attacks were supposedly aimed at militants firing rockets at southern Israel. Of course, the rockets were justified by Israeli aggression... And on and on it goes, with all sides endlessly justifying their violence.
The father of the men said he awoke to see Israeli soldiers scaling the walls of his compound in southern Gaza. He said they handcuffed and beat him and then searched his home, confiscating his computer and detaining the two sons.
The army said the men were Hamas militants who had planned to carry out an attack on Israel in the next few days...
UPDATE 4: From SMH:
When Bush learned the microphones were on, he asked what he had said, and after being shown a transcript "he rolled his eyes and laughed," White House spokesman Tony Snow said aboard Air Force One returning to Washington.
UPDATE 5: WaPo waters the whole thing down by posting a bland CNN interpretation that concludes:
A White House spokesman says while President Bush's private comments may be more blunt, that they are consistent with what he has said publicly in calling for peace in the Middle East.Nothing to see here, folks...! Bush's bad manners, wildly over-simplified interpretations and crass indifference to world leaders are consistent with his public image. All hail to the chief!
UPDATE 6: Dan Froomkin does the round-up, including this segment not fully transcribed above:
" The camera is focused elsewhere and it is not clear whom Bush is talking to, but possibly Chinese President Hu Jintao, a guest at the summit.And from the Guardian:
"Bush: Gotta go home. Got something to do tonight. Go to the airport, get on the airplane and go home. How about you? Where are you going? Home?
"Bush: This is your neighborhood. It doesn't take you long to get home. How long does it take you to get home?
" Reply is inaudible.
"Bush: Eight hours? Me too. Russia's a big country and you're a big country.
" At this point, the president seems to bring someone else into the conversation.
"Bush: It takes him eight hours to fly home.
" He turns his attention to a server.
"Bush : No, Diet Coke, Diet Coke.
" He turns back to whomever he was talking with.
"Bush: It takes him eight hours to fly home. Eight hours. Russia's big and so is China."
Other less pivotal but nevertheless revealing moments from the transcript include the US president hailing the British prime minister with the words 'yo Blair' and calling Bashir Assad, the Syrian president, 'Bashad'."UPDATE 7: James P. Rubin at HuffPo has some good analysis of what was actually said by Bush and Blair. Such analysis is sadly lacking in other media reports of this leaked conversation. But I think he falsely assumes that Bush actually even cares about resolving the current Israeli-Hezbolla conflict.
Bush says he is not going to waste people's time by talking for long. He's gotta leave by 2:15. He's got a plane to catch. He's got "something important to do tonight".
What could possibly be more important than this G8 meeting in a time of crisis? By Bush's reckoning, just about anything: he didn't really expect an outcome from the meeting, he was just going through the motions as a cheerleader head of state.
Bush is quite happy to let Israel pound the shit out of Arabs any time they like. He doesn't care that the whole Middle East is on the verge of war, because it gives the USA a good excuse to remain engaged. And it helps Big Money Bush supporters like Halliburton keep making money hand over fist.
So that's why Bush uses Annan as a scapegoat. That's why he rejects Blair's offer of assistance. That's why he is stuffing his face rather than seeking real solutions.
Also at HuffPo, video of Bush groping German Chancellor Angela Merkel.