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Saturday, May 07, 2005

You want him to go away, but it's so embarrassing when he does

Some quotes from today's NY Times article on Bush's visit to a hotel on Baltic Avenue:
"Look, I fully understand there is a lot of anger and frustration involved in the three Baltics countries about the occupation," Bush said. "I've expressed that to President Putin, but he didn't need me to tell him. He fully understands there's a lot of frustrations and anger about what took place. My hope is that we will be able to move on past that phase of history, the phase that is embracing democracy and free societies."
Of course, I'm completely clueless about the frustration and anger of the Palestinians and the Iraqis about those occupations.
"The American people will never forget the occupation and communist oppression of the people of the Baltics," Bush said.
It would be interesting to see a poll of Americans on that question. My guess at the results? Haven't forgotten the occupation and communist oppression: 2%. Have forgotten: 5%. What are the Baltics? 93% (including Bush, at least until yesterday).

Of course, aWol didn't keep the inanities all to himself:
Daniel Fried, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, went further with reporters on Air Force One, saying that the only "true narrative" of World War II is "ours" and that what the Russians "don't like to remember is what they were doing from 1939 to 1941."
You mean supporting the Nazis, like Bush's grandfather did, and not just until 1941? You mean occupying other countries on false pretenses against their will? And ours is the only true narrative of WWII? That the war started with Pearl Harbor, and the war in Europe started with D-Day and ended when US troops liberated the concentration camps? (For the record, the war in Asia started in 1937 or even earlier, depending on how you define it, and the war in Europe started in 1939. The biggest concentration camps like Auschwitz and Treblinka were "liberated" by Russian troops, not Americans.) Russians were killed by the millions and their country ravaged by war for three years, and we're the only ones who know about it? (Actually, we're probably about the only ones who don't.)

We've probably all run across slightly crazy Abe-Simpson-like old men who tell us amazing stories, based partly on things that actually happened to them, partly on things they saw in movies, and partly on pure imagination. That's got to be what our "leaders" seem like to much of the world. The only difference is that the Abe Simpsons are basically harmless, while these maniacs control the most powerful military in the history of the world.