Anyone who has watched Diane Sawyer's extended interview of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over the last few days knows that the Iranian leader is a sensitive soul. Not only is he in search of new ways to love people, but just today we discovered that he is frequently given to tears.
It goes without saying that we wouldn't want to provoke such a person -- it could harm his self-esteem. Unfortunately, President Bush doesn't seem to have gotten the message. But thank goodness for David Gregory. As luck would have it he turned up at today's White House press conference to convey the message to the president: stop provoking poor Mahmoud!
Gregory began by observing: "A lot of critics say that you are using the same quality of intelligence about Iran that you used to make the case for war in Iraq . . . and that you are doing that to make a case for war against Iran. Is that the case?"
View video here.
President Bush reiterated to Gregory what he had said earlier in the press conference: that there is no doubt that the Quds force has provided sophisticated IEDs to forces within Iraq, and that Quds is a part of the Iranian government. Whether the highest level of the Iranian government had ordered Quds to do so, the president couldn't say.
That wasn't good enough for Gregory. As the president began to take a question from another person, Gregory interrupted: "Are you using faulty intelligence to provoke Iran?"
President Bush: "I heard your question, and I told you I was confident that the Quds force, a part of the Iranian government, was providing weaponry into Iraq. And to say that it is 'provoking Iran' is just a wrong way to characterize the Commander-in-Chief's decision to do what is necessary to protect our soldiers in harm's way -- and I will continue to do so."
Uh-oh. Mahmoud is going to need a hug.
Mark was in Iraq in November. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org