Thursday, October 13, 2005

George Bush...What an inspiring public speaker

I am watching right now in real time the "conversation" Bush is having with a small bleacher full of hand picked supportive troops in Tikrit.

There were technical difficulties which delayed it...I have to presume by the performance that those difficulties included not getting the back pack reciever he used in the debates, since the whole thing was shot from behind and his back was as smooth as a baby's bottom. He has an earphone in, though, you can see the dangling cord when they shoot him in profile...I don't know if that is to hear Rove or the Soldiers talking to him.

But these guys were clearly better rehearsed than the President.

This is so obviously propaganda theatre. Each soldier clearly was given a question in advance to memorize an answer, since each question was handed to a different soldier by a soldier moderator and when Bush, improvising, interrupted them, the soldiers struggled to return to the place in their script where he cut them off.

Here's an example, she seemed to be reading off a teleprompter:

(all name spelling is phonetic, remember, this was real time--also remember that this is verbatim, not cleaned up like the linked transcript below)

Lobardo: Good morning, Mr. President, I'm Master Sgt. Corinne Lobardo with the Headquarters 42nd Infantry Division from and Task Force Liberty fom Scotia, New York. First, I'd like to say that this is a pleasure to speak with you again, we had the honor of your visit to New York City on November 11th in 2001 when you recognized our Rainbow Soldiers for--

Bush: Yeah-- (He can't wait to get the chance to talk about September 11th without bringing it up himself--the interruption shakes her, it isn't in the script.)

Lobardo: --their recovery and rescue efforts at Ground Zero.
(Simultaneous--he's still riffing off-script)
Bush: Were you there? Lobardo: We began our fight against terr--

Lobardo: (alone, and starting again, looking nervously to the side) We began our...fight against the wake of 9-11 and we're proud to continue it here in North Central New York...Nor--North Central Iraq.

Bush: Let me ask you something. Were you there when I came to New York?

Lobardo: Yes, I was Mr. President.

Bush: Yeah, I thought you looked familiar.


Lobardo: Well, thank you.

(soldiers laugh some more)

Bush: I probably look familiar to you too.

(President laughs...He likes when people recognize him)

This exchange is disturbing on a number of levels.

First, of course, that something billed as spontaneous is so obviously orchestrated and rehearsed...and that they didn't think it needed more rehearsal or better preparation. But I will avoid the obvious metaphoric resonance of that.

Second, that they think the American people and the Iraqis will believe it.

Third, how they don't even try to hide Bush's arrogance now that he's been "validated" by the last election...which again, is a debatable point given all the questions regarding the validity of that validation.

By jumping the gun on the 9-11 reference and then immediately dropping it to focus on himself as an important figure...Bush clearly demonstrated the priorities of this President. Well, priority. George Bush is the only thing he cares about. Nice of him to thank the troops for being so willing to die for that. Him, I mean.

You're going to see one quote pulled from this thing over and over: "We need to stay on the offense, and we need to stay on the offense with well-trained Iraqi forces," the president said.

Here is that quote in its full original context as I have typed it from my video of the CNN broadcast, complete with brain fart pauses:

Lobardo: Together with our coalition forces we have captured over 50 terrorists as well as detained thousands of others that have ties to the insurgency. And I believe it is these accomplishements and the numerous accompliments of our task force that will provide a safe and secure environment for the referandum vote.

Bush: Well, I appreciate that. There's no question that, uh, that we need to stay on the offense...and..but, we, and we need to stay on the offense with well trained Iraqi forces....side by side...the finest...military ever...ever...uh...ever to exist...and that's the United States military.

Somewhat less inspiring, isn't it?

He is so incoherent. It is embarrassing.

But, this did two things. First it distracted anyone from considering the fact that Sgt. Lobardo had just said that the taking of thousands of detainees would help ensure a safe vote. Best not to give the American public time to ponder the impact of keeping thousands of people from voiting by detaining them and remaining questions regarding the legality and treatment of our system of detaining people who impede our progress in the region.

Second, it allowed him to quickly segue to Sgt. Ahkil, who without introduction, I have to assume that he is an Iraqi soldier.

It was like a scene out of Ghunga Din. And exactly as reassuring.

Bush: Yeah. (dismissing Lobardo with an abruptness you wouldn't expect from someone he picked out of a crowd and was able to remember through four years of international crisis and two wars) Sgt, Ahkil, thanks...uh, for joining us. Uh, I, uh, appreciate your service. You got something to say, Ahkil?

Ahkil: (heavily accented so we know he's an Iraqi and not a member of our own highly diverse American military) Good morning Mr. President. Thank you for everything. Sir. Thank you, very much. For everything.

Bush: Yeah--You're welcome--

Ahkil: I like youse.

Bush: Heh-heh, yeah, well, I appreciate that.

One of the things that drives me absolutely insane when this president speaks is that he always uses a first person pronoun when he talks as the voice of the American People. It might seem like a small thing, but only a king or a dictator, not a president, consitently refers to the nation as HIS and not OURS. He always says things like MY country, and I appreciate your service instead of WE appreciate your service. If the point of this thing was to remind the troops that they have America's support, he shouldn't only be indicating they have his support.

No matter what he tells himself, he is not the nation, the nation is not George Bush.

I just don't get how anyone in uniform can feel good about this war...or the people "planning" it. Given his polling numbers, maybe there is an awakening of understanding in our country.

And the Republicans are aware of can hear them already peppering the discussion with accusations that if the mission in Iraq fails it is because of the nay-sayers and Democrats back home.

They can read the writing on the wall as well as anyone. Iraq is a failure, and like the statesmen of the Lost Cause, these guys are not going to admit their mistaken doctrine and are already preparing to lay the blame at the feet of the people who told them this was going to be a mistake in the first place.

Remember Hitler decrying the communists and pacifists who stabbed the German Army in the back and gave the enemy a victory that could never have been won at the front?

God, did he just say "When you come back to the United States, if I'm hanging around, come by and say hello." I bet that one stung Cindy Sheehan.

And they criticized Clinton for not being presidential? They called Clinton the Hillbilly in Chief?

How about instead of a pep talk you give the troops some actual leadership? How about telling them there is more to the plan than "We're never going to back down, we're never going to give in, we'll never accept anything less than total victory."

That sounds a lot like the neo-con political strategy but not much like a good strategy for creating a democracy in a foreign land. But as we know, irony isn't dead, Republicans are dead to irony. And logic. And diplomacy.

My memory is bad, but I seem to recall a few years back a guy in a flight suit standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier with a banner reading "mission accomplished" telling me that major combat operations were over in Iraq.

So why isn't anyone, especially these ten soldiers whose lives are at risk, asking what the hell the president means when he says to them today, "We need to stay on the offense, and we need to stay on the offense with well-trained Iraqi forces"?

Please...Bush, Cheney, Rumbseld--the Doomsday Triangle--please start taking responsibility for what you are doing to our nation.

Admit your mistakes and correct them. Staying the course can only end in complete disaster. Saddam's smoking gun didn't come in the form of a mushroom cloud, and not because you prevented it...because there was no gun in the first place.

Why is America so willing to accept the consequences of your failures? Why is Iraq a good deal for us? Why is the cost in lives and dollars a bargain? Well, any idiot knows it's easier to spend on credit if you aren't worried about paying the bill, and it is either to pay when you are using someone else's money...or someone else's children.

And the CNN live broadcast of the "event"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Archie? Archie, are you there?

Listen to me Archie. You need to step away from CNN. That's right, turn the volume down. Turn the channel. Now take a deep breath.

We agree with you Archie.
We agree with everything you're saying. And we're as scared and angry and frustrated as you are.

But we don't want your eyeballs to explode anymore. And we'd like you to live to see the administration, which we truly believe will have to be Democratic.

We believe, Archie.
And we want to give you a big hug, so you will be around to believe it too. Truth telling is hard work, but just because they tell lies 24/7 doesn't mean you need to keep up the same schedule.

Please take care, because we need you.

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


We'd like you to live to see the NEXT administration, which we truly believe will have to be Democratic.

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The difference between SCRIPTED and rehearsed...that is a big difference and one that the majority of intelligent americans can just not seem to grasp. The first time this was stated was when Lara, a corespondent from CBS who was on site here in Iraq said it and since then so many have seemed to jump on the band wagon. This event was prepared for. Soldiers were told some questions that they could be prepared to answer and the soldiers knew what questions went to who based on each soldiers area of expertise. This is something called staying in your lane. A soldier knowing nothing about the training of the Iraqi Military should not answer a question and THAT is why the soldiers were questioned as to who would answer the question. Also with just one microphone it makes a lot of sense to practice handing it around so that the soldiers dont strangle each other with the cord. It seems a shame that such an amazing event, what we know as the first of its kind between the President and soldiers here, is downgraded to this filth all because people are concerned that the event seemed a little rehearsed.

12:22 AM  
Blogger Archie Levine said...

If you read my post, I was watching and commenting in real time. I had not yet seen the clip of the "coaching" and was only relying on the delivery of the soldiers and the inability to quickly and spontaneously recover from Bush interrupting them, and the way they returned to exactly the same words and phrasing that was used prior to the interruption.

I had not read any reports about the event when I made the post, because I was, as I said, watching it in real time, and this was my opinion by someone who has had 20 years of theatrical training.

Even without reading the filth you have mentioned, I could tell that this event was not what it was advertised and what you want to believe it was...a spontaneous and unrehearsed event without coaching.

I don't care what the event is, just don't tell me it is something else before it happens and then make it so obvious and easy to prove after the fact that it is not what you told me it would be.

Like the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, for example.

Sure, one microphone, one speaker, you have to pass it around. But if it isn't scripted, how did the guy with the microphone know who was going to answer the question? An intelligent American might wonder if the guy with the microphone was Sgt. Kreskin the mind reader or if he knew ahead of time what the question was going to be and who was going to answer it.

Because, jack ass, we were told the soldiers didn't know the questions the President would ask ahead of time and that it they were not going to be coached.

The thing that drives me insane is how you conservatives just decide not to question anything, no matter how obvious the contradiction to logic.

Whether that is your radical biblical literalism or your politics.

Even Jesus said let him who has eyes see.

See, you idiots, because your blindness by choice is killing people.

4:52 AM  
Blogger R said...

I love it.
I too witnessed that crap before the media announced it was scripted. Hell, Stevie Wonder could have seen that!
Three more years.
Three more years of this jackass.
Then when history makes a mockery of him (and it will) lets see VET play 'good german' then. Shall we?

12:56 PM  

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