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Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Cringing during the press conference

President Bush is having a press conference tonight, only the first major one since Dec. 15. I have an incredibly difficult time watching him, but I force myself out of sheer morbid curiosity, a touch of patriotic duty and a childlike delight in watching him operate off-the-cuff.

Growing up, my father (a card-carrying Democrat) would always shush us children when the president was speaking, regardless of party affiliation. I think he did it out of respect for the office, and so I will bite my tongue when W says something stupid, like "We've had a tough week (in Iraq)." But it will be hard. Responses like that make me want to give the guy a paint shaker. He brings out a real aggressiveness in me and I'll have to mutter my tart remarks under my breath so my children grow up respecting the office, if not the man.

There are so many questions to be asked. First among them? How are we going to get out of Iraq and to whom are we going to turn the country over? Editor & Publisher has a list of 13 questions that are good for starters. Let's hope the media holds Bush's feet the fire tonight. And, just for giggles and grins, let's hope he strays off the talking points.

Meanwhile, I'm sure that somewhere, someone in the Bush administration is tracking a number in hopes it stays below 1,000 and I'm not talking about the president's approval rating. It's the number of US casualties.

If you'd like an interesting perspective on what's happening in Iraq by one who is actually there, visit Ayad Rahim's blog "A View from Here." Ayad presents in interesting perspective on everything from food to hostages, and relationships with his family and the relationship between Americans and Iraqis. Don't be dismayed by his many dashes and halting writing style. I don't know Ayad well, but I've talked to him a few times and he writes the way he talks. He's very engaging. My son, Patrick asked me just last night if I knew anyone from Iraq. I told him about Ayad and he was earnest and focused when he asked if I would find out what it was really like in Iraq. He's very interested in what's happening with the war. He's also the kid who, as I tucked him in to bed the night of Sept. 11, 2001, asked me if he had to forgive the terrorists. I couldn't respond...

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