It is hard to know what is the most contemptible part of President Bush's press conference (ongoing as I write -- and as I listen to it, on a Cspan internet feed, in Shanghai). But it's going to be hard to top what he just uttered: the most blatant attempt so far to blame everything that went wrong in Iraq on the advice of the military.


Don't have the transcript in front of me now, but the point was: Hey, I asked Tommy Franks if he was ready to go -- including the postwar phase; and he said Sure, no problem. So (says the President), Don't blame me! I was listening to the experts!


Yes, as Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz so notably listened to Gen. Eric Shinseki. And yes, the president's laser-like assessment of Gen. Franks' shortcomings must have lain behind his decision to give him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Talk about "personal accountability" and "supporting the troops." (Franks does deserve a good share of the blame, and so do other military commanders -- but not for reasons the President apparently even grasps.)


Close second in the most-contemptible derby, half way through the press conference: Catechism-like repetition of the idea that we have to "fight them in Iraq so we don't fight them here." I wonder if anyone has ever dared challenge the logic of this to the President's face. (Ie, what are you talking about??? Why should people bother to plant bombs in Baghdad if they thought they had a chance of planting them in DC?) My oh my.