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Aug 25, 2007

Iraq Status Follies


What these newswire pics express is what a farcical exercise the supposed Iraq war re-authorization showdown has become.

In spite of buzz about troop drawdowns, I don't see Chairman Bush, absent the opposition, signing on for any change at all.  As such, the martial feel of this halo shot -- matching the ludicrousness of Bush's off-the-wall speech before the VFW -- seems completely fitting.

And then, there's the whipping boy.  The non-stop, bipartisan chorus that Iraq is sinking because Malaki can't even walk and chew gum at the same time is the most callous and yellow Washington example of "blame the victim."

Lay it on that thick, and photo editors are only too happy to comply.

(image 1:  Jim Young/Reuters. Kansas City, Missouri, August 22, 2007. image 2:  Khaled al-Hariri/Reuters. August 20, 2007. caption: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki tightens his laces during a visit the historical Umayyad mosque in old Damascus city. Via YahooNews)


If Malaki isn't leaning against that wall, he is diplaying some major coordination for a man of his age.

VFW speech - that reminds me of the fiery local reaction when Bush and Rummy spoke before the VFW in Salt Lake City. Guess Bush found more support in this year's venue.

Where is Mayor Rocky Anderson these days? I longed to hear his straight-up voice during the Utah mine catastrophe, but I suppose he couldn't use his position in Salt Lake City to speak out on Mr Murray and his Crandall Canyon plans; that could impinge on another mayor's turf. He's keeping active, debating Hannity, and running for re-election.

With the VFW symbol behind his head, Bush looks like a petulant saint. The press has been doing a lot of this kind of shot with other politicians. One of Harry Reid comes to mind....a giant halo of lights from a ceiling forming the backdrop...war of the saints, George and Harry. Lord help U.S.! Amazing, how much the VFW symbol looks like the German Iron Cross. [Onward Xian Soldiers...]

The rhetoric about ending the war, troop withdrawal, coups in Iraq to replace Malaki with Alawi, the sudden shift by the Administration toward what "seems" to be a "response" to the will of the country is highly suspicious to me. What is behind the new trend, the shift in direction of the dialogue? I suspect a PR campaign, to seem to be trying to draw down the troops because it might help the Republicans in the next election, against a backdrop of continued Presidential stubbornness, coupled with pandering to the neo-cons and their Patron Saint, Saint Dickie. [We've never seen him with a halo of light behind his head, have we? He's way overdue for canonization.]

I pity Malaki, or anybody else who might try to govern that country without the political help it needs. Guns are simply not enough to do what a reconciliation commission might have done. Is it too late for that?

They evidently didn't have a shot of Malaki exiting a restroom with toilet paper stuck to his shoe.

ref : “these newswire pics express... what a farcical exercise the supposed Iraq war re-authorization showdown has become

you state the obvious, as simple satire; ie., without making any point; or, illuminating some new aspect of the propaganda apparent; e.g. :

posting these newswire pics here expresses what a farcical exercise simply satirizing the supposed Iraq war re-authorization showdown has become

i tuned into Jon Stewart yesterday, and felt anxious laughter: it wasn't funny, anymore :-/

bite the goddam bullet, Michael: why does such obvious propaganda, work ?

...for so many; while at the same time appear ridiculous, to so many others? delve into the riddle of delusion...

...why so many Veterans of Foreign Wars themselves need ~ i daresay, allow an AWOL to stand before them in a virtual halo mask that they freely give to him, while he delivers the bitter memory of their old wars as reason for his new war?

that occupation where Win/Lose does not exist = WAR without Exit?

What is it in most of them, Michael, and so many of us, too: that WANTS TO BELIEVE, thus?

How is it that this image, as ridiculous as it may seem to you / us does also invoke such feelings of power, and pride, and home land place, in so many others?

so i say again: that this image is ridiculous to many, is obvious;
how it is that it isn't, for so many others, isn't.

The top picture makes the 7-year-old in me want to grab my pea-shooter for some action. The bottom one recalls Adlai Stevenson's shoe photo. Actually, Maliki is balancing on one foot while performing a delicate maneuver. Something, no doubt, he has to do daily to stay alive, let alone keep his job. Meanwhile, changing positions (and lies) in mid air is perfected by the POTUS. And margaret is right on with the PR campaign. Bush-sycophant Warner is not changing his mind, he's just buying more time for the republicans. 5000 troops indeed! By christmas? what heart string is that supposed to be plucking?

They can show shrub with a militaristic halo at the VFW or bumping his nose on wooden doors after addressing the Chinese General Assembly or banging on tribal conga drums and making ape sounds on the White House lawn. Any one of which would shame normal humans into introverted seclusion or some form of psychological repression.

Look what happened to Bill Clinton after the Lewinsky/cigar conversation became public. He has had a permenant aura of embarrassment about him ever since. This Bush, I just do not understand. He is impervious to the confidence suppressing, attitude changing, ego checking feedback that mortal public humiliation typically brings. And that is to the great detriment of us all.

But in a way, I feel that al-Malaki has the same laser focus, impenetrable heat-shield agenda for Shitte control of Iraq that shrub has for Neocon control of American foreign and domestic policy. It is bizarre how this personality type rises to the top in politics, but it is a natural fact.

Some good points here. Oy! I started to type, "How could a cowardly bully like Shrub have the nerve to confront veterans who had actually put themselves in harm's way rather than choosing such 'other priorities' as boozing, snorting, and skirt-chasing?" Then I realized how stupid that would have been. Shrub is completely delusional. I'd bet he really does see himself as brave and manly…and even compassionate!

As someone noted, the real question about Shrub's speaking to the VFW points the other way: Why would persons who actually served allow, let alone invite, a chickenhawk like Bush to address them? Yes, I know. Every right-leaning group is forced to adopt a double standard.

These days we should both be listening to/broadcasting Pete Seeger's "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" (substituting "little fool" for "big fool") and reminding people of Siegried Sassoon's poem "Base Details." (For those who aren't familiar with him, despite his first name, Sassoon was a British poet who was killed during WW I.)

IF I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath,
I’d live with scarlet Majors at the Base,
And speed glum heroes up the line to death.
You’d see me with my puffy petulant face,
Guzzling and gulping in the best hotel,
Reading the Roll of Honour. ‘Poor young chap,’
I’d say—‘I used to know his father well;
Yes, we’ve lost heavily in this last scrap.’
And when the war is done and youth stone dead,
I’d toddle safely home and die—in bed.

Holy Crap.

I wasn't going to comment on the top photo because out of being and nothingness there is no exit and I am filled with nausea. But something M. Gonzo wrote started me thinking: "why does such obvious propaganda, work ?" For most of August there has been an unbroken cacophony of the punditry about how the "surge" is actually working, supposedly to the surprise and delight of one and all. Even from some people (Wesley Clark) we have come to trust, at least as far as one can trust a military spokesman. One finds oneself thinking: holy crap, what if it really IS working and The W was right??? Even while all one's instincts and knowledge of the players and their past lies and repeated lies keeps saying, don't believe it for a second. We know it's not working because it couldn't possibly be working, but what if it is? Are we all becoming delusional? Are we truly like the battered wife who keeps thinking, this time he'll really change?

As for the old vets, were most from WWII? Or Vietnam. We don't know, I suppose, but I can understand the older ones I think. I have family in that generation and I was puzzled, too. The W is good at posturing and swagger, he can do a convincing, blustery swagger just long enough to make his audience forget that he is a clown. He says enough code words to bring them along with him. They want to believe, that they are still the heroes, that their life and the sacrifice of their buddies was all worth it, that they have contributed wisdom to the future. It's a nice reverie and no one can blame them for this bit of indulgence. But we can resist getting carried away with them. All we need do is to realize what a sacrifice it would be for them to realize The W's lies for what they are. To do that would mean questioning their own honor and sacrifice. To admit those doubts would indeed leave them humbled and shamed. No one can ask that of them and The W knows that. That's how he gets away with it and that's the depth of his evilness.

I don't know, maybe I've had too much coffee today.

The photo of shrub reminds me very much of Il Duce.

I don't see how this photo of Nouri al-Maliki is completely negative. The caption says he is visiting a mosque. Of course he takes off his shoes to enter a mosque every day, but even if you don't know that, he looks steady, nimble, strong, and he isn't all red-faced from the effort of balancing. And he doesn't have a speck of dust on his jet-black suit. He looks like an illustration for how to properly tie your shoes in public while wearing a suit. Kind of impressive, actually.

I don't see the photo as negative either but I can hear,
Looka here y'all Nora alla Malakee can't even keep his shoes tied.

I had the same response as Margaret, that the VFW insignia looks like the German">">German Cross. Bush, with his beaky nose and downturned mouth, looks like an">">an eagle, that fish-loving bird of prey.

re the question of "Why would persons who actually served allow, let alone invite, a chickenhawk like Bush to address them? " my father--who spent July, 1944-May 1945 in the front lines in Belgium & Germany--always pointed out that the majority of vets never actually see action: A lot of Vietnam-era vets spent their time at typewriters in Germany. Plus, vets attracted to the VFW are a select, deeply conservative group. As for the question of why propaganda works, I would speculate that people want to believe.

What strikes me about the picture of Maliki is how alien his posture is for a US viewer. He is, as others point out, well-dressed and well-balanced, but we don't see photos of people putting on shoes in public. We don't know how to interpret this behavior; We expect our public figures to stand upright. There may even be a kind of shoe-taboo/fetish thingie going on--we've discussed this before. GWB likes to wear cowboy boots. Paul Bremer wore "trademark" combat boots. There was that whole howdy-doodle over Paul">">Paul Wolfowitz's sock with hole.

I should probably hat-tip John Lucaites as well. Feet, eh!

Of course life-and-death feats of balance have a famous visual association in recent collective memory, which makes Maliki's vulnerability to falling a rather sympathetic position.

I'm thinking about the difference in image handlers. Bush has a bevy of set manipulators every where he goes, like your Camp David series last month. Poor Malaki has to make his own flight reservations.

He is fed up with being made into the stooge. Which is therefore pushing him into the open arms of Iran. Add up the oil reserves of Iraq and Iran together. Now you see why Cheney needs to bomb Iran, and quick!

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