“You become responsible forever…
for what you have tamed." From the New York Times:
“It’s not the first time, by the way, where people have showed up and expressed their opinion about my policies,” Mr. Bush, looking tired at the end of a grueling trip, said with a smile. “But that’s what happens when you makes hard decisions.”
Mr. Yudhoyono gave only the most gentle prod to Mr. Bush, talking about a “triple track solution” to Iraq that included a “proper timetable” for withdrawal from Iraq. But when pressed, he adopted Mr. Bush’s view that the timetable had to be linked to national reconciliation in Iraq and the training of new security forces.
When Mr. Yudhoyono was asked specifically whether he had urged Mr. Bush to begin a withdrawal of American forces from Iraq, Mr. Bush interjected: “I’ll be glad to answer it for him — no, no he didn’t. But he can answer it for himself.”
Does Bush really believe that he can make it through the next two years echoing the same, tired platitudes about democracy "bein' hard" and how "people don't like people who kill innocent civilians," and "we'll succeed unless we quit"? It is evident to everyone else on the planet (including Henry Kissinger) that Bush is merely stalling for time; he has no plan to withdraw troops from Iraq because he has no intention of facing the hell that withdrawal will unleash before he leaves office, thus shifting the responsibility onto whomever succeeds him. He is beyond the point of caring, and is perfectly content to have someone else clean up his mess. Again.
Mr. Bush flew right into Jakarta airport, but never ventured into the city, where protests involving several thousand people were on the way. Instead, he stayed behind the fenced wall of the palace compound all day, save for his helicopter ride from and to the airport where Air Force One was standing by. Protesters were kept well away by troops and rolls of barbed wire. In Jakarta, the authorities appeared to have jammed some cellular telephone lines.
So this is what it comes down to: Bush is selling this idea of a democratic Middle East to his only customer these days — himself. He doesn't bother to edit his script to keep up with current events (so much for adapting to win) and his enablers create these tender, fuzzy "Thomas Kinkade-Meets-Potemkin Village" moments so that the icy cold hands of reality don't reach out and clock him right on the sweet spot above his ear. Like the Conceited Man in Saint-Exupéry's "The Little Prince", Bush cannot survive the criticism and scrutiny outside the barbed wire fence encircling his lonely little sphere.
By the way, there was no word on whether he waved and smiled from his helicopter.