Saturday, November 29, 2003

Riverbend on Bush's visit to Iraq. 

In my view, the only opinions worth hearing, as far as relates to Bush's visit to Baghdad on Thanksgiving day, are the Iraqis. From Riverbend, posted on Saturday, November 29:

Everyone here sees it for what it is- just a lame attempt to try to look good. We actually expected him in Iraq during his Asia tour- he was bound to stop by for a good gloat. I just think the whole thing could have been a little bit less transparent (and I expected it would occur closer to elections).

Seeing him on tv was amusing- so why did he have to sneak into and out of Iraq with such secrecy? Why didn't he walk the streets of the country he helped 'liberate'? Why didn't he at least *hover* above the country he 'liberated'? He constantly claims the situation is much better now than pre-war, so why isn't he taking advantage of our excellent security situation?! We all sat there, watching him garble out the usual stream of words and shook our heads… he's just as much of an ass in Baghdad as he is in Washington.

I am curious about how the troops felt about his presence though… I'm sure the hand-picked group in the airport were elated, but I can't help but wonder about the troops stuck in Tikrit, Najaf, Falloojeh or Mosul… I imagine they'd much rather be at home.

And from the same post by Riverbend, as she attempts to comfort a woman in Baghdad whose entire family was killed in their car by American soldiers at a checkpoint :

A part of me knew that being there, sharing Eid with her, was the right thing to do- the proper thing to do. Another part of me felt like we were committing some sort of terrible sin and that it was just unforgivable to be sitting there, talking about rain and explosions when this woman's life had fallen apart on a black day in April. I couldn't decide which was worse- to see the agonized look in her eyes during moments of remembrance, or to see the vague, void look of indifference she'd sometimes wear when she disappeared inside of herself.

As we were leaving, I leaned down and hugged her, whispering "Akhir il ahzan…" and as I pulled away, she simply looked at me, shook her head and said, "Of course it'll be the last of my sorrows- there's nothing else to mourn because nothing else matters…"