The most impressive aspect of the recent footwear attack on President Bush was the surefire aim of journalist Muntader al-Zaidi. Surely, he must have known there was a short shot clock working against him, and even under that duress, he was able to launch two shoes from halfway across a room that would've hit their mark dead-on had Bush not been able to duck out of harm's way.
The second most impressive aspect was Bush's ho-hum attitude about what happened. Perhaps it was he who, behind the scenes, ordered the beating and torture of the outraged shoe-thrower, but at least from the outside, Bush's no-biggie reaction was admirable.
But any warm-fuzzies about the Most Despicable and Incompetent President in the History of the Universe were wiped from the slate with the publication of a nauseating Dec. 22 story in the Washington Times that told the tale of Bush's secret meetings with wounded soldiers and families of dead soldiers. It also mentioned that Bush has written a personal letter to the family of each serviceman and woman killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, told of private barbeques for wounded soldiers at the home of Dick Cheney and was syrupy-thick with talk of how emotional this grieving has been for the president and the first lady.
First of all, if these meetings were intended to be kept from the prying eyes of the press, why didn't they stay that way? The authors, Joseph Curl and John Solomon, say their story was based on “interviews with more than a dozen officials familiar with the effort,” including Bush himself, plus his wife and his vice president. You'd think that if the administration wanted to maintain the integrity of “the effort”—which we're led to believe was secret because it didn't want cynics to think it was merely a public-relations campaign—“more than a dozen officials” wouldn't have made it public. Could this be part of the ongoing attempt to gussy up the rear-view perception of the Bush years?
But the real reason the story is so appalling is that these men and women never had to die or be physically or psychologically injured in the first place. The Bush presidency gave us much to be embarrassed about: the response to hurricane Katrina, the extreme politicization of the Justice Department, the lack of oversight of Wall Street, the smear campaign against Valerie Plame, Abu Ghraib, the go-ahead for torture of prisoners and the campaign to spy on American citizens. But the ugly centerpiece of it all was the deceitful way Bush and Cheney sold the unnecessary invasion of Iraq to the Congress and the public, coupled with the unconscionable way they and Donald Rumsfeld sent American troops there without a competent plan to maintain the long-term peace.
Two weeks ago, in an interview with ABC's Martha Raddatz, Bush muttered that rank swill about how Iraq was part of the war against terrorism. When Raddatz noted that al-Qaeda in Iraq wasn't in Iraq until after the toppling of Saddam Hussein created a void for it to fill, Bush's response was “So what?”
Ladies and gentlemen, the American president.
So what? So, Raddatz just drove a tank through your whole justification, you idiot.
So what? So, these grieving families you say you're getting all emotional about gave their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers for your bullshit political cause, you deviant.
As of Monday, Dec. 22, the day the Washington Times' apologetic story was published, 4,213 servicemen and women had died in Iraq, and tens of thousands more will live with debilitating physical and mental injuries for the rest of their lives. All this misery, thanks to the con job—bogus claims about Nigerian uranium, bogus aluminum tubes, bogus links between Iraq and 9/11, browbeating of intelligence analysts by Cheney's team—that convinced the public that Iraq was a global threat.
All that grief, all that blood, all those shattered lives—it's on you, Mr. President; it's on your hands. So what? So, spare us the calculated public revelation of your “clandestine,” emotional meetings. Spare us these continued lies about how we're fighting them there so we won't have to fight them here. We all know now that no one from Iraq was coming here in the first place.
As of Monday, Dec. 22, there were just 29 days separating the American people and deliverance from George W. Bush. In our opinion, that's 29 days too many.
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