President G.W. Bush’s secret flights to Iraq began and ended with two stunts. The first was a real turkey; the second delivered to Bush the symbolic Arab shoe insult out the door of history.
Bush flew into Iraqi International Airport for a brief 2.5-hour photo op to praise the troops and pass the cranberries at a 2003 Thanksgiving Day dinner celebration, the first after his mission in Iraq was “accomplished.”
All Michael Moore-onic diuretic surges to judgment aside, our fearless president, ducking in and out of Baghdad before anyone in the growing Iraqi insurrection might take a pot shot at Air force One, was a “real” Turkey holder. The bronzed and perfectly glazed bird was not plastic, as Moore and other Donkeycrat blogs enthused. It “was” too good to be eaten, though, because it was cooked by US contractors as a decoration plate, commonly adorning the mess eateries of US forces abroad.
Don’t think that I’m clearing the name of a Lame Duck turned a turkey on that opening clandestine junket to Iraq. Have you ever had a surprise guest come over to your feast, get a little too excited, wanting to show off, grab a large dinner decoration off the table and start wandering about your guests: a little too much “Ho, ho, ho,” happy “Hollandazed and confused”?
That’s what the Bush Turkey from Texas did. He traipsed around less for the guests — the 600 soldiers in the makeshift Iraqi Airport cafeteria — far more as the lightning rod for flashes of press cameras. Out stuck his proud chest, wide cracked his Joker “V” of a grin in full bemused fool mode, arms hugging the trophy turkey tableau he pinched from the main table to goof and swagger with it around the serried ranks of libating and masticating soldiers. Shucks! What a great idea!
Advance five Holiday Seasons ahead. Hurdle with the speed of Air Force One jet engines as fast as you can past a legacy of 4,500 coalition force fatalities, another 1,000 sometimes-Turkey decorating US contractors, 30,000 US military wounded and 2,000 more wounded contractors. Get some distance and altitude to hop over turbulent memories of over a half million dead Iraqis, and untold Iraqi injured, or untold thousands imprisoned and tortured by coalition troops or Iraqis becoming hostages for ransom by Sunni and Shia insurrectionists, or al-Qaeda. Fly, you turkey, fly into Iraq International Airport for one more photo op: the signing ceremony with Iraqi’s Prime Minister al-Maliki for that agreement that in earlier years Bush swore he’d never scratch with pen: a fixed and binding scheduled binding withdrawal of US forces out of Iraq by 2011.
Up came al-Maliki and Bush to their respective podiums for a press conference and off came an Iraqi journalist’s shoes hurled at Bush. The president showed he still had his artful dodging politician and former Yale cheerleader dance steps and blow avoiding ways. Shoe soles seasoned with the open sewered main mean streets of Baghdad just missed the mark, but the stunt by a well known Iraqi TV journalist, someone whose family and person were directly impacted by the consequences of US occupation, was celebrated across Islamic countries of the Middle East. Anyone who has lived in Arab lands will tell you that even crossing your legs in a chair to show the bottom of your footwear is a major insult. Throwing your shoes is THE WORST insult in Arab culture. It is not only filthy but also the supreme gesture of un-manning disrespect of the target.
The journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi who works for Al-Baghdadia channel broadcasting from Cairo, flung them with an Arabic invective that translates to: “It is the farewell kiss, you dog. This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.”
Those on the path of meditation and self-awareness will tell you that being the target of such incidents will reveal more than a person’s true character. When undergoing a shocking event, people can reveal their true potentials — the depth of their heart and souls.
The most powerful man in the world, the man who unilaterally invaded a country which caused the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis had a moment to speak intelligently with compassion on the lingering and abject anger seething in the country even the world court considers he illegally occupied. This is the very same anger people hold for Westerners who talk democracy but kill Arabs they earmark for liberaton by the hundreds of thousands. Bush has been consistently clueless how to address the anger that feeds al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups the Muslim men fighting and killing Americans.
Bush had a moment if his soul could use that dedicated idiotic mind to respond to an act so socially heinous that symbolically before the televisions of the world tied Bush as equal to the hated dictator he overthrew. The people of Iraq in 2003 beat the fallen statues of Saddam with their shoes. Now a man throws his shoe in 2008 at the liberator and has become an international hero. What sage response in gesture or thoughtful word could this president do or utter, to acknowledge this anger and pain, and transcend it? Bush needed to come up with a Barack Obama speech like the one the president elect delivered during the primaries to take the subject of racism beyond his mentor Rev. Wright’s racist hatemongering. Did Bush have it in him, after ducking the shoes, his own Obamanian phrase or two that would deftly deflect Arab peoples from shoe slapping Saddam statues as synonymous to shoe popping him?
Iraqi security guards beat and dragged al-Zaidi out of the room leaving a trail of blood. They closed the doors of the press room and continued to pummel the man outside who had survived being a hostage of Iraqi Shia terrorists a year before. Witnesses outside reported that the guards took his cell phone and used it to threaten al-Zaidi’s family.
You could hear his screams beyond the door as Bush, smirking and bobbing his head at the podium collected himself and quipped, “That’s what people do in a free society, draw attention to themselves.” Then he grinned and added, “If you want the facts, it was a size 10 shoe that he threw.”
He further off-handedly trivialized the incident afterwards in interviews adding: “I don’t know what the guy’s cause is… I didn’t feel the least bit threatened by it.”
“The guy wanted to get on TV and he did.” (Chuckle, wink, smirk).
Thus spoke a candidate for Nostradamus’ Antichrist. He is among the most prominent candidates, including Saddam Hussein (Antichrist as the classic Stalinist-Hitlerian dictator), Usama bin Laden (Antichrist as the religious extremist) and then there’s George Bush.
In a chapter on Bush for my newest digital book MABUS, I wrote the following:
“If, and I stress again, ‘if’ Bush is indeed the Third Antichrist then he will contribute a new attribute, or the crystallization of a kind of evil unanticipated. The signs of this are again divulged by a deeper understanding of the anagram MABUS. Some of my readers have pointed out that Mabus rhymes with the French ma buse, meaning ‘my blockhead’ or ‘my dolt.’ Arabic television news networks, such as al-Jazeera, coming out of the Middle East would allow many a straight-faced news anchor man or woman to address Bush as President abush. I am told it means ‘idiot’ in Arabic. Nostradamus certainly was French and his prophecies evidence a working understanding of Arabic. He also loved to lace his prophecies with wicked puns. Perhaps the term Mabus implies that the Third Antichrist is evil incarnate as an idiot brandishing ultimate power. He’s akin to a wooden-headed puppet of Nostradamus’ day, like Punch and Judy, his strings pulled by other invisible political forces, puppeteers.”
(16 December 2008)