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Bush's Day / Not More Osama!

Friday, Sept. 07, 2007 10:11 AM

It's not a stunning revelation that President Bush isn't the brightest bulb in the drawer.

But he scored a trifecta of gaffes at the APEC summit in Australia.

- He called it the 'OPEC Summit,' then corrected himself. (And then called more attention to his blunder by joking that Australian Prime Minister Howard had invited him to the OPEC Summit next year ... neither the U.S. or Australia are members.)

- He called Australian troops 'Austrian' troops. That one was corrected in the official transcript on the White House website.

- Upon concluding, he headed offstage in the wrong direction, almost stepping off a sharp drop; Prime Minister Howard and other guests directed him to the stairs.

Bush's speech was delayed as APEC staff hustled people from the balconies to the main floor, to create the illusion on-camera that the speech was well-attended.

The APEC security people also barred the presidential press gaggle from entering, even though the reporters attached to the president have been screened by the Secret Service.

But then, the APEC security team isn't exactly scoring big.

An Australian comedy troupe ginned up fake security credentials, piled into a limo, and were waved past two security barriers before deciding they'd gone far enough. One member of the troupe was dressed as Osama bin Laden.

Today, three members of the group put in an encore appearance, this time walking around in cardboard boxes painted to look like limousines.

"We wanted to make it easier for the security people to identify us," a member of the troupe said.

One more uncomfortable moment for Mr. Bush.

In a meeting with South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun, the foreign leader asked Mr. Bush when America would declare the Korean War to be at an end. (The Korean War ended in 1953 with an truce, not a formal treaty.)

Bush answered that it ends when North Korea gets rid of its nuclear program in a verifiable fashion.

Which has nothing to do with the original conflict or the original treaty, so President Roh asked Mr. Bush to 'be clearer in his statement.'

Bush shot back, "I can't make it any more clear, Mr. President."

Makes you wonder about that whole moral clarity thing when he makes a muddle out of history and comes close to insulting a foreign leader on top of it.

And the media is all gosh-a-gollawog about the supposed 'new tape' from everyone's favorite Mad Wahabist on Dialysis, Osama bin Hidin'-in-a-Cave.

Pundits are calling everything from taunting the U.S. to telling his followers he's still out there, still in the game. And the astute observation that he appears to have dyed his beard.

Well, duh. And whodafugg cares if he's dying his gorram beard or not? (I'd care if he appeared to have the shakes, or his left eye had gone cloudy, or he was significantly thinner than when we last saw him, but the color of his freaking beard?)

I mean, come on, people, what do you really expect Osama bin Laden to say? Defy America? Rally the troops? Announce his surrender? Repent?

Of course, on the other side, there's the usual grim observations and ominous mumblings about 9/11, followed by the 'but there's no credible evidence of a threat'.

For all that some conservatives whine about how the terrorists take heart from all the negative press and defeatist liberal bloggers and forum posters out there, the terrorists have to really be having a field day watching our entire nation squirm at the mere hint that Osama has a new tape out.

Come on, people. We know who the enemy is. We know their goals. It's time to stop wigging out over chalk arrows in parking lots, blinking lights advertising cartoon shows, and Shari'a coming to your neighborhood. (Really. That comes up a lot, and the truth is that even if the federal government was replaced with a Shiite theocracy tomorrow, they'd have to fight street-by-street, inch-by-inch, across the lower 48, then row their asses to Hawaii, to have the burkas-in-the-town-square that certain conservative columnists seem to think is lurking around the corner. Get real! We have people who file friggin' lawsuits because President Bush didn't use the word Christmas on the White House Christmas Card last year! We file suits to include God and exclude God everywhere from the classroom to the courthouse steps. And somehow, this translates into America meekly asking, "Hey, is it time to pray yet? Which way is East?"

The sheer ridiculousness of that concept shows how stupid our fear has made us.

Let's spend our time and effort on being smart, so we can be secure.

Because being afraid isn't going to do it.

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