I watched the best news conference I've seen in a very long time yesterday morning. President Bush and President Karzai of Afghanistan, brothers in the global battle against IslamoFacism, handed the White House journalists' asses back to them on a platter. The performance was brilliant.
The twits in the White House press corp and the press covering President Karzai's visit for foreign outlets thought it would be worth a chuckle or two to ask both presidents about the war on terrorism, both in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Allow me to recap:
President Bush made the usual remarks, followed by President Karzai's remarks. May I just say, President Karzai distracts me with his spiffy attire - the hat is cool but what really sends me is the garment of purple and green that he drapes over his shirt and jacket. Anyway, after the gratitude and all the thanks to America for helping to establish a free Afghanistan, President Karzai mentioned he went to Walter Reed Hospital to visit soldiers wounded in Afghanistan to both thank them personally and on behalf of the people of his country.
Then the good stuff started:
The first twit from the Washington Post, I believe, but it may have been the New York Times, asked President Bush about the leaked classified document from the NIE that she thought proved the Iraq War was causing the jihadi terror around the world. She never saw it coming. President Bush explained how interesting is was that 42 days out from an election that the newspapers would publish a classified leak solely, obviously, for a political agenda, and how it was a naive statement from the report that she was latching on to. Then he said, in order to stop the political debate and gossip spreading, he would declassify the document and had already instructed John Negropointe, National Intelligence Director, to do so today. You could have heard a pin drop.
The best was yet to be: President Karzai looked directly at her and said terrorism was hurting Afghanistan and the U.S. "way before 9/11" with the burning mosques, killing of women and children, "forcing populations to poverty and misery" in Afghanistan.
The headline answer: "Do you forget people jumping off the 80th floor when planes were hitting them?" "Should we wait for them to come kill us again?" "They were attacking America around the world before they came here on 9/11." President Karzai was so articulate that it put the press to shame, if they could be shamed. He crystalized the argument for being on the offense in this global war.
I watched this press conference play out in amazement. Finally. I took notes so I would not forget the best parts. I felt as though I would leap to my feet and cheer outloud.
President Bush did a good job, but President Karzai rocked my world.