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President Bush miffed that Iraqis aren't thanking him enough

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I nearly choked on my Wheaties this morning reading the headline: "Bush Said to Be Frustrated by Level of Public Support in Iraq."

Apparently the President met with some leading Iraq and Middle East scholars and informed them that he's "frustrated that the new Iraqi government ? and the Iraqi people ? had not shown greater public support for the American mission." Further, he was reportedly "puzzled" as to how recent anti-American protests could draw so many people.

Everybody knows he's out of touch, but wow. Just . . . wow.

This coming from a man who apparently advocates "constructive chaos" as a policy for an entire region of the world. I'm really running out of ways to be shocked by the incompetence of this administration. The leader of the free world is so clearly out of his depth that it's incredibly difficult for me to imagine his administration doing anything right -- anything at all -- in these difficult times. One despairs.

President Bush also reportedly expressed the view that "the Shia-led government needs to clearly and publicly express the same appreciation for United States efforts and sacrifices as they do in private." So he thinks that when Iraqi leaders thank him in private, they're being honest? And not, y'know, doing the usual diplomatic sucking up? His failure to appropriate plan for the war and its aftermath has ruined their entire country! Yes, many many Iraqis were glad that the U.S. toppled a murderous, despicable regime. But now Iraqi leaders think that they could do far better than the U.S., and it's hard to argue with that assessment. Shia groups especially increasingly view the Coalition presence as an inflammatory and unhelpful presence, and wishing it weren't so isn't helpful.

But is this newfound desire for alternative viewpoints going to make a difference? Will it push the administration towards more reality-based policy? Could there be some hope from a meeting like this? Uh . . .

Mr. Nasr, author of 'The Shia Revival' . . . said he got no sense that the Bush administration was contemplating a shift in its Iraq policy.
I will now stab myself in the eye.

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