Abu Whaa???

· Geopolitics

How do you pronounce “Abu Ghraib”? I’ve heard a few different variations. I use a long “A,” as in the word “brake.” Regardless of what is most correct, anyone who has discussed the prison abuses there has by now settled on a way to say it.
So why was the President still trying to figure it out in the middle of his nationally televised speech the other day? This may seem nit-picky, but if you think about it, it’s yet another disturbing indication of how frighteningly detatched this president seems to be.
Salon referenced the audio and if I find the URL I’ll append it later. But I heard it live, and I was amazed to hear him stumble over it. It was not an inadvertent stumble or spoonerism or using the wrong word, which can happen to anybody. The man was trying to sound it out on the fly!
How can this be the biggest issue of the last few weeks and possibly the biggest embarrassment of his administration to date, helping to drag his approval rating to an all-time low with an election looming, and the guy still hasn’t even spoken the words “Abu Ghraib” enough to feel comfortable saying it? We already know he doesn’t like to read. But doesn’t he even like to speak about the issues? You know, like with his advisors? Or hadn’t he heard the phrase hundreds of times before giving his speech? Or didn’t he at least run through the speech once and find the offending term and bother to ask someone, ‘Hey, what’s this here Ay-boo Gr.. Gray-ib thingie here?”
Is the guy really that detatched, or just really lazy, or what? I repeat for emphasis: the President of the United States of America was sounding out “Abu Ghraib” as if for the first time in a live speech to the world after everything that has happened. What reasonable explanation could there possibly be for this?