In a politically-charged speech this afternoon at the Heritage Foundation, President Bush brazenly attacked congressional leaders for not immediately granting him all the funding he has requested for the Iraq war.
Lawmakers should stop listening to “Moveon.org bloggers and Code Pink protesters” and start listening to the “warnings of terrorists like Osama bin Laden,” Bush said to a rousing ovation:
When it comes to funding our troops, some in Washington should spend more time responding to the warnings of terrorists like Osama bin Laden and the requests of our commanders on the ground, and less time responding to the demands of MoveOn.org bloggers and Code Pink protesters.
Bush hardly has a leg to stand on when urging others to heed the warnings of bin Laden. More than six years after 9/11, bin Laden roams free and is “stronger than ever.” His administration allowed bin Laden to escape at Tora Bora, shifted resources away from the search for bin Laden in 2002, dismantled the CIA unit charged with locating him, and on top of all that, claimed it didn’t really matter if Osama was captured:
Bush: “So I don’t know where he is. You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him. … And, again, I don’t know where he is. I — I’ll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him.” [3/13/02]
Additionally, Bush is creating a false urgency around the need for Iraq spending. “The money doesn’t run out until the end of the year,” said Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA). Congress is planning to pass $50 billion to $75 billion in interim spending which should carry delay consideration of the full spending request until next year.
With his anemic presidency on the rocks, Bush has resorted to battling with bloggers and war protesters for relevance.