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Laura Bush's Disastrous Diplomacy
Here's how the first lady's briefing on Burma concluded:
Q. "Is it true there is an altar of limestone --"
Mrs. Bush: "That's right, the President told that this morning on ' Good Morning America.' This was his idea, to build this beautiful limestone altar, and it's the Texas limestone -- the same that our house is made out of -- from a local quarry, and they're the ones that made it -- "
Q: "Is he more nervous or are you?"
Mrs. Bush: "Neither one of us are nervous. I'm very, very excited. It's a very interesting passage of life when you get to that time in your life when your child, first child is getting married -- and we're getting, for us, our first son. So it's a thrill and we're very happy about it."
Q: "When some grandchildren come will they be named George -- "
Mrs. Bush: "George or Georgia -- Georgina. Georgette. (Laughter.)"
Adding More Insult to Injury
President Bush this morning added to his wife's incitement of the Burmese junta, publicly signing a bill granting the Congressional Gold Medal to Burmese democracy activist and Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
"This is a fitting tribute to a courageous woman who speaks for freedom for all the people of Burma, and who speaks in such a way that she's a powerful voice in contrast to the junta that currently rules the country," Bush said.
Then he added: "Burma has been hit by a terrible natural disaster. Laura and I and members of the Senate and House here express our heartfelt sympathy to the people of Burma. The United States has made an initial aid contribution, but we want to do a lot more. We're prepared to move U.S. Navy assets to help find those who've lost their lives, to help find the missing, to help stabilize the situation. But in order to do so, the military junta must allow our disaster assessment teams into the country.
"So our message is to the military rulers: Let the United States come to help you, help the people. Our hearts go out to the people of Burma. We want to help them deal with this terrible disaster. At the same time, of course, we want them to live in a free society."
Dana Milbank writes in The Washington Post with "Dispatches from the twilight of a presidency":