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George Does Baghdad: Bush Video Massages War from "Front" PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Tuesday, 13 June 2006 14:59
George Does Baghdad: Bush Video Massages War from "Front"

PEJ News
- C. L. Cook - George W. Bush paid a surprise visit to the latest "leader" of Iraq today. So secret was the mission, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was told of his patrone's arrival only five minutes before "looking him in the eye."



George Does Baghdad:
Bush Video Massages War from "Front"

C. L. Cook

PEJ News
June 13, 2006

Al-Maliki was scheduled to sit in, via video-conference, with Bush and a gathering of his cabinet advisors currently meeting at the presidential retreat at Camp David. But Bush turned the tables, flying the six thousand miles to Iraq overnight to chair the meetings from Baghdad. Some of those attending at Camp David, Bush's closest advisors, were also kept in the dark about the mid-night flight. It's a curious trip, considering the pat platitudes Bush mouthed by way of its explanation. But of course, what is served for public consumption by this most demonstrably false administration seldom reflects the truth of the matter.

So, why?

Why bother flying half-way around the world and back to chair a meeting convening at the site of your embarkation? Recent "developments" in Iraq, combined with current operations there, and ominous others portending, may reveal what was behind the president's decision to trot the globe in 24 hours.

The Hand of Rove

Though not confirmed by the U.S. Attorney's office of Patrick Fitzgerald, Karl Rove's legal council has announced Rove free and clear on the infamous Valerie Plame leak case. Fitzgerald's seemingly interminable investigation into the scandalous affair, wherein Plame, a reputed deep cover CIA agent, was "outed" by highly placed insiders at the White House three years ago, had focussed narrowly on Karl Rove's possible involvement in those illegal revelations. Fitzgerald has reportedly interviewed Rove on five separate occasions, leading many to speculate charges would be forthcoming. If what Rove's attorneys are now saying is true, and he's out of the woods, then he'll be back in the fold, pulling Bush's PR strings. And, high profile aerial stunts are one of his specialities.

The Finger of Doom

With an eye to the November mid-term elections, the Bush team knows (rigged voting machines, etc. aside) the Republicans stand a good chance of losing their majorities in both houses of congress. His current public approval ratings have him polling somewhere between the Ayatollah Khomeini and Charles Manson; (luckily for George, neither are Democrats). Should the Republicans lose even one of those majorities, it would grant the Democrats the means to empanel congressional committees of investigation that could, finally, begin to examine the failures of this, perhaps the most perfidious of all administrations. Those failures too are not limited to human frailty, bad luck, or the lack of reliable intelligence. Once these kinds of committees get going, there's no telling where they'll lead. Though not legally able to run for a third term, the prospect of leaving the White House party early, a la Nixon, has George W. Bush intensely interested in the outcomes of the November polls.   

Saddam's Gun, Zarqawi's Head

As were millions around the world, late last week I was treated to the death's head of Abu Musab Zarqawi, reputed leader of the shadowy 'al-Qaida in Iraq' terror outfit, as displayed on the front page of my local newspaper. My city's sole daily paper is in fact a small facet of a grand, international media conglomerate, a fragment of the mighty, CanWest Global Inc. The demise of whomever's head adorned page one here was simultaneously, figuratively impaled upon the media pike everywhere; across all known communications mediums, the Global Village was witness to a gruesome, gleeful, self-celebratory display more suiting a medieval audience. Knowing George's delight in killing and taking trophies, (stories say he possesses one of Saddam's personal pistols, and has been known to wave it around to impress people) it would not surprise should Bush leave Baghdad with an extra carry-on. Perhaps something destined to fill a vault beneath the initiation chambers of the 'old alma mater' at Yale, 'Skull and Bones;' right there, next to Geronimo's pate?

More likely the reason George had to be there to look al-Maliki in the "eye to eye" was to set him straight on a couple of things. It seems the boys from Pennsylvania Ave. aren't all happy with the puppet PM's impolitic remarks in wake of the publication of several massacres lately conducted against Iraqi civilians. Though only a few of the many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of outrages already endured, these recent cases seem to have rekindled the fire of hatred against the occupation and its collaborators. In light of these clearly grotesque acts, crying out to all humanity, poor al-Maliki had to say something: Big mistake!

Freedom Lovers and Home Fires

While George clowned for a select collection of Green Zonians, (no word if Turkey was served) he reminded the 'boys' they were there to insure security for their brother Iraqis, bringing to them all the gifts the Great Democracies have to offer, protecting the Homeland, etc. But, he brought with him another message: There is to be a "new" program in Baghdad; a program said necessary now due to feared 'al-Qaida in Iraq' retribution attacks, including: more soldiers; more roadblocks; more house raids; more of the same. These "new" measures were delivered to the weary people of Baghdad without an expiry date. 

Away from the capital, the citizens of Ramadi, an identified "hotbed of the insurgency," are and have been, fleeing the city in anticipation of a Falluja-like assault. American forces first warned citizens, then began shelling the city of about 400,000. So as in life, so too in death: Zarqawi promises to keeps on killing.

Barely noted amid the myriad atrocities meted out through the agency of America's military might, "Zarqawi" was not the only casualty of the "heroic" bombing of the house he reputedly inhabited, others were also killed; women, children, passers-by, and probably livestock and family pets too. Sad, but these things happen, and happen, and happen in an open-ended 'War against 'Terror.' 

Damning the Carrot

A side benefit of this moonlit side trip is its symbolic punctuation of the point Bush has iterated ad nauseam: there is no "too low" America will go. Military activity has stepped up in recent days, dragging with it the inevitable rising civilian body count. In fact, Hibhib, site of Zarqawi's last stand, the town recently made devoid of a number of its citizens, sacrificed to carry forward America's progress in Iraq, just the week before Zarqawi's corpse showed up was victim to an "accident." The Pentagon's story is: an artillery practice drill went awry when one of its shells strayed twenty miles or so, landing in the middle of town.


Hibhibians can perhaps take comfort they don't live in neighbouring Baquba. The Baqubans today witnessed an American military incursion, culminating in an air-strike the Pentagon says was aimed at "terrorists." Naturally, "terrorists" are a sociable lot, so a bunch of other "terrorists" died too, including seven members of one family. Ironically, the chain of events leading to the bombing was apparently triggered by a neighbourhood guard who opened fire on a group of U.S. soldiers he mistakenly identified as "terrorists." Small differences it seems have great effects. 

Bringing it Home

Whether for war trophies, hopes to bolster sinking opinion poll numbers, keeping al-Maliki on-side, getting the troops' blood up, or just letting the Iraqi people know: His arrival is a terrible omen, (so if they don't wish another "thief in the night visit" they better behave) Bush's Iraq odyssey visit means a lot more than he'll admit. At home, the continuous stream of repugnant revelations emanating Iraq, and elsewhere are becoming a torrent whose force could wipe out Republican hopes in November, leading to who knows where for Bush and his collaborators.

With Rove's toes seemingly out of the fire, and the big Bush machine firing on all cylinders, these next months could prove a make or break gamble, both on the stumps of the Homeland, and in the streets of Iraq. 

Chris Cook
is a contributing editor to PEJ News, and hosts Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. You can check out the GR Blog here. 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 June 2006 14:59

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