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Mar 27, 2006

The Invasion Two-Step


Leave it to the White House, and the preponderance of more dramatic news (U.S. getting dragged into Iraq civil war; Washington immigration fight bringing people into the streets) to water this down, but the "Downing Street memo" is a real bombshell.  The NYT has disclosed a memo, written by a top aid to Tony Blair, confirming Bush's decision to invade Iraq before playing out his U.N. charade. 

In recognition of the fact, I thought I would lift these two clowns out of their "meet the press" moment to highlight both the swagger and the synchrony.


As much as I've been critical of The Times, the choice of photo here is simply masterful.  First, it lines up exactly with events, showing GW and TB strutting their cocksure stuff immediately following the reported "going to war, wink-wink" meeting.  Also, the body language at the time makes you wonder -- -- with the two men in perfect lockstep --how strongly Blair expressed any real reservations about Bush's intentions.

(hat tip: Steve)

(image: Doug Mills/The New York Times.  January 31, 2003.  Washington, D.C.  via


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That's a great photo, and it's great what you did with it. I was looking at it, trying to figure out who was who, and I decided that it was Bush on the left and Bliar on the right - but I had it backwards. Which says something about how they're so similar.

Since it's taken from an angle lower than usual, the two of them look like they're sort of leaning back - or trying to catch their balance because they're ready to fall.

As for the memo, I think it's been covered more in the British press - but even if the American media covers it, will anybody care? I don't know what it would take to actually get people riled up about something.

The deceptive duo, in your face, strutting their faith based fervor
The artless Emperor, his articulate Sidekick in symbiotic step
Rigid in form and fidelity, a righteous mode of mutual perversity
Shared furrows of brow and steely eyes, two Hatreds in a hurry
Vicarious warriors, and grandiose fools of Shakespearean order
They will not be maimed, killed, lose children or relatives
nor tried in International Court for chemical"white phosphorous" weapons and "depleted uranium" or for commanding a massive industrial killing machine that so far counts at minimum for a 100,000 murders.
How will God or the Prince of Peace judge such scoundrels ?
And when will the Christians who follow them stop participating in this unwarranted, illegal and immoral behaviour ?

Pathological liars, have made a pact to deceive the people. And then, as now, they are ready to face the cameras with glassy look in their eyes, that shows no care about the consequences of their false words. These two have the power of decision to start "preemptive" wars, and to go further to start the mushroom clouds...
Masters that stir the hate in people's hearts and minds and bring out the paranoia of fear and patriotism...Lame words, yet so much support one is asking how could they dupe so many!?

I've always thought it comical how the chimp struts with his arms away from his sides, as if unaffected by gravity. I think it's to give the impression that his arm muscles are so pumped up that they won't hang straight. what a doofus.

They look like soldiers. It's normal in such circumstances. The body talks. What a waste...

Its like they are doing a Men in Black or 1964's The Killers approach to the podium.

Does no one actually pay attention anymore? President Bush was committed to taking out the Ba'athist regime in Iraq before he became President in 2001. You can find campaign speeches where he talks about it. The reason that this isn't covered in America and no one cares is because it's not news. Everyone except Old Media and those in its bubble already knew this.

P.S. I will note once again[1], not that any one here pays attention, that overthrowing the Ba'athist regime in Iraq was the official, legal policy of the USA starting in 1998, passed by bi-partisan majorities in both Houses of Congress and signed in to law by then President Bill Clinton. Why should Bush not carry out that policy? He would have been derelict to do otherwise.

moral relatives, all

To Annoying Old Guy:
If the rationale for the war would have been presented as some bill passed in Congress, internal and external support would have been nil (imagine TB trying to convince Great Britain for necessity to go to war because the US Congress passed a bill). As for how demanding Congress bills are for the Government, I thought they've also decribed the Darfour's situation as "genocide" more than a year ago, and nobody jumped to decisively correct that.
With respect to the photo, the lock-step was a good observation, but there is a 40-50% chances it was simply random (both entered the room in the same time, have approxiamtely the same height, etc.). Thank you though for the reference to the memo. I've been living in a bubble lately, and haven't noticed that.

It wasn't deriliction of duty to ignore the former administration's knowledge of alQuaida and its intentions to attack the US?

cherry picking?

AOG, The concluding paragraph states:

"Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize or otherwise speak to the use of United States Armed Forces..."

What I read into this document is the typical CIA strategies which usually don't see the light of day until twenty years after the dirty deeds have been done.

The upward camera angle and easy backwards lilt … Zap Comix, 1967 Keep on Truckin' …[1]

Oh look, AOG is trying to kill my buzz. Hey man, when the President gave Saddam and his spawn 48 hours[2] to get outta town he cited UN Resolutions 678 and 687, he cited an overwhelming vote by the US Congress, he cited UN Resolution 1441, he cited the sovereign authority of the US to use force to defend itself. He said, "This is not a question of authority, it is a question of will." He did *NOT* mention Bill Clinton or any 1998 resolution.

It was WMDs, man. Keep on Trucking …[3]


Bush and Blair are walking in a stiff and defensive way. They know they're about to tell a lie. They look like the night-zombies from Night of the Living Dead.


Quite correct, which is why the actual invasion required an additional, explicit authorization by Congress. Personally, I think that the declaration of war in 1991 was all the authorization needed, as that war never ended and therefore the state of war between the USA and Iraq never ended either.

black dog barking;

Uh, isn't the very point of this post that Bush had decided on war and was simply using WMD as an excuse? Your claim is that Bush wasn't lieing about WMD in Iraq and really believed in them?

Bag, your presentation on this post and recent/previous has been really good and quite interesting.

The cut out figures leave ghosts of the men who presented the world this farce & folly.

When someone air-poops in our house and no one wants to fess up to it we all blame Clinton.

AOG said: "Does no one actually pay attention anymore?"

I thought the whole point of this blog was to learn *how* to pay attention.

AOG also said: "President Bush was committed to taking out the Ba'athist regime in Iraq before he became President in 2001."

So what? That's not an argument for anything, especially since Bush wasn't actually elected in 2000 (as you yourself are careful to say, he "became president"). In other words, no one in the country (except perhaps Donald, Dick, Condi, and Karl) actually *voted for* Bush's so-called commitment to take out the Ba'athist regime in Iraq in 2000. You can make that an argument only if you're in high post-9/11 revisionist mode. Gimme a break.

If you want to argue that Bush is following U.S. legal policy (established by Clinton) to the letter, you *have to* know by now that's weak, given Bush's track record for adherence to ANY legal policies, foreign or domestic. The guy (and that's really all he is — a guy) is neither a lawyer nor has he any respect for law (other than to break it).

If you want to complain that this story is reheated leftovers, fine. But place the complaint where it rightly belongs. The NYT is running the story now and presenting it as fresh, not as reheated leftovers.

Hey AOG,

I think the point of the BAG's post is to "highlight both the swagger and the synchrony" of our elected leaders striding out to look us in the eye and bullshit us. The similarity between the President's posture and that of the R Crumb cartoon characters is quite striking to my eye and reminds me of parallels between the present and Vietnam era America.

My claim is the President used WMDs to justify pre-emptive war, let's take him at his word. 1998 resolutions or ambiguities with the ending of the 1991 Gulf War are distractions, not relevant. (Did you forget the USS Stark?[1])

Take another look at the picture. That is what our President looks like when he's bluffing.


WEISSEHARRE comments "moral relatives, all": profound !
Should you have the inclination, interest or time consider critiquing this speech;

Would you define it as cognitive relativism or moral relativism ?

No swagger and no lockstep in this photo essay with song:

Following a link on the above page yields a page which links to the same song with a different photo essay:

Tracy, thanks for posting the links.
Seems like we are all in this together and have responsibility... to work hard to stop the suffering.
The feeling of helpnessness is overpowering.

The BAG has made brilliant use of "negative space" — the space surrounding the objects of a composition — as a way to see these particular objects more clearly.

Thanks also to Tracy and jt for the valuable, must-see links.

Two tipping points?

As in falling backwards in unison over a cliff?


The forced perspective makes the men seem larger than life, but it also makes the room taller and more imperial. There is a vast gulf between us mere "little people" and these prometheans. Evven the chairs are knee high to these august majesties. If it wasn't for the Presidential seal over the doorway, this could be a palace in Britain.

America now has a ruling class of strutting shuttlecocks led by a bantam-weight and the photographers aid the illusion of majesty by constantly shooting from the ground. In the image at hand, we can say that the photographers are in a pit under the microphones so they don't obstruct the view... but what about the deck of the Lincoln when Bush declared Mission Accomplished? There was no hole for the photographers there, but they were still shooting from underfoot.

(the image is also notable for showing how obviously he packed his codpiece)

It is usual to match stride if a couple has walked some distance... we don't even think about it until the short-legged person complains. ;^) Bush's elevator shoes help him to keep up. To match so closely in such a small distance from the doorway was probably a deliberate act by men determined to present a united front.

One thing which is really subtle about this photograph. The distortion caused by a wider angle lens makes everything taller, but if the men were centered, they would not have been tilted backwards into ridiculousness (especially Bush, being so far to the right). The photographer chose to have the men off-center when he took the image. Was he simply striving for a good composition or saying something about balance?


As to following Clinton's policy to the letter, how're we doing here?

Section 4 Assistance to Support a Transistion to Democracy in Iraq
B "The aggregate value (as defined in section 644(m) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961) of assistance provided under this paragraph may not exceed $97,000,000."


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