On President Bush’s recent visit to the Netherlands, some youths had a rare, unscripted opportunity to ask questions that some Americans might want to pose if given the chance. Per usual, Bush reverted to memorized rhetoric and even campaign stump speeches. As a public service, we’ll decode them for you:
MISS MADELINE HOFFMEISTER (phonetic): I have a question — concerning the terrorism. And you made many laws after 9/11, many — many laws and many measures. And I’m wondering, will there be a time when you drop those laws and when you decrease the measures?
PRESIDENT BUSH: No, I appreciate that question.
[Because I’m never asked it and I get to practice my post-election liberty and freedom rhetoric.]
Look, a free society such as ours, obviously, must balance the government’s most important duty, which is to protect the American people from harm with the civil liberties of our citizens.
[And it’s come to my attention that the more civil liberties the citizens have, the less safe they are, amazing coincidence, really.]
And every law we passed that was aimed to protect us in this new era of threats from abroad and the willingness for people to kill without mercy has been scrutinized and, of course, balanced by our Constitution.
[Which is a quaint old document anyways.]
But the question really is, can a transparent society openly deal with a debate about civil liberty versus the tension of protecting ourselves. And I believe we have done so in good balance in America. But we’re constantly reevaluating law.
[Sneak and peek warrants? Vaguely defined new category of information that is exempt from release under FOIA? Reclassifing previously declassified information? Fooey on that kind of talk, this is Transparamerica!]
The Patriot Act was passed.
[Have you read it? Our legislators sure didn’t.]
It was a very important measure to enable our law enforcement officials to share information which they weren’t able to do at times, to be able to protect ourselves.
[No really… have you read it? I didn’t read it either but I hear it’s awesome.]
And yet, Congress is now evaluating certain aspects of that law.
[They started reading it.]
That’s what happens in democracies, and stands in stark contrast, by the way, to societies that are closed and non-transparent, where people don’t get to determine the course of action.
[Try not to grin, try not to grin, try not to grin.]
And so, to answer your question, it depends upon what Congress says and whether or not I agree with it, because I have the right to veto any law, as well. Of course, they have the right to override my veto.
[My veto button is broken, but don’t tell anyone.]
But I feel comfortable in telling you that we’ve been able to successfully balance the civil liberties of our citizens with the necessary — the necessity to protect ourselves.
[I always feel comfortable after I take a big dump, and hoo boy did I just unload some bullshit on you.]
Listen, one of the interesting things about September the 11th that I want you to understand as we have this discussion is that I fully understand that for some, September the 11th was an important moment and a terrible moment — and we appreciate the condolences of the people of The Netherlands — but for us it was a change of attitude.
[We realized a lot of people hate us because we are so free, duh… and our airport security really sucked. One of those items has been rectified.]
I mean, it changed a lot about how I looked at the world, and a lot of Americans, it changed how they looked at the world.
[USA = good; rest of world = crazy foreigners]
I mean, it was more than just an attack; it was a whole mind-set. And that’s why your question is really relevant — did that mind-set, did that change of attitude cause us to then begin to take away certain civil liberties, and I would argue, it did not.
[And our airport security… ok, you got me, we rectified the freedom thing. Wow, my bowels… cleansed to the max!]
PRIME MINISTER BALKENENDE: You’re convinced by the President? (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT BUSH: Don’t put her on the spot. (Laughter.)
[Oh snap, I know your little pot-smoking, legalized-prostitution, dyke-walled-in country didn’t just besmirch my integrity! En garde Holland, prepare to be liberated!]
» President Participates in Youth Roundtable in the Netherlands [WH] (via Wonkette)
» National Security [BushSecrecy.org]
» Presidential Vetoes [US House Clerk]