New York

Blarney and ‘Friends’


Prepping for RNC, Bush learned that you can’t spell Ireland without “ire”

Expect a hot August: The way the Bush Error was received in Eire in late June gave a broad hint of what Dubya can expect here at the Republican National Convention. No wonder his handlers seem to be trying to scare the country into shutting up.

It’s almost funny, if it weren’t so damned tragic, that his campaign weapons are so conventional: Some of the same information on possible terrorist activity that federal officials shrugged off before 9/11 is now just stale, but nevertheless has become part of the “detail” being trotted out by the Bush regime to strike fear into post-9/11 America.

As my colleague Jim Ridgeway points out (along with The Washington Post, the families of the 9/11 victims, and others), Sunday’s “terror” alert by Tom Ridge seems to have been plucked out of the thinnest air atop the highest mountain on Earth.

The real reason for Thomas of Orange‘s stern warning is becoming clearer and clearer: Lock down Manhattan to protect Bush—not from violent protests but from talkative protesters eager to tell the world what they think when they see him in a few weeks.

Bush’s handlers no doubt studied the ruckus caused by the president’s visit in late June to Ireland, where he was met by 10,000 protesters—and guarded by 6,000 security troops. What drastic measures are the U.S. government and its Manhattan coalition of the willing going to take to ensure that Republican Square Garden won’t be deflowered?

In Ireland, it took “the biggest security operation ever mounted” there, according to The Australian newspaper. During a Dublin march, the paper said, “leaders of the Green Party handed out copies of a mock set of instructions advising protesters how to make a ‘citizen’s arrest’ of Mr. Bush if they meet him.”

Hardly likely, as the paper noted: “Eamonn McCann, a veteran socialist from Northern Ireland, raised a cheer by saying that if Mr. Bush’s reasons for war had been legitimate, ‘he wouldn’t be cowering behind rings of steel in the County of Clare.'”

But Bush was in trouble with the Irish before he even left D.C.—in fact, before he even left the White House.

Carole Coleman, Washington correspondent for Radio TelefÌÐs ÌÅireann (RTÌÅ), the Irish national radio-TV system, interviewed Dubya in his home on June 24. She didn’t bring a pen; she brought a big-ass shillelagh. (See the video; read the White House transcript.)

Harpooned by his own gaffes, Bush sounded like a Moby-Dickhead. When Coleman asked him, “Why is it that others don’t understand what you’re about?” the historically hysterical Bush riposted, “One of our greatest allies of—in the world is your neighbor, Great Britain. Tony Blair has been a strong advocate for not only battling terrorists, but promoting freedom, for which I am grateful.”

Ah, th’ British gov’mint! ‘Tis a foin, foin neighbor fer those of us who spake Erse!

Bush probably thinks the Irish Republican Army is some group of elderly American stamp-lickers named Murphy and Boyle who send out GOP fundraising letters.

The New York Times took a few words on July 4 to praise Coleman as “intrepid,” noting that after her polite but firm (assertive, bub, not aggressive) probing of Bush, the White House canceled her scheduled interview with Laura Bush. “The griping and debate about the [Dubya] interview,” noted the Times, “was a sad reminder to Americans that the White House seldom welcomes robust questioning, especially when it is most needed.”

The Q&A was tee and hee. Here are excerpts from Coleman’s questions:

  • Q: “Mr. President, you’re going to arrive in Ireland in about 24 hours’ time, and no doubt you will be welcomed by our political leaders. Unfortunately, the majority of our public do not welcome your visit because they’re angry over Iraq, they’re angry over Abu Ghraib. Are you bothered by what Irish people think?”
  • Q: “And they’re angry over Iraq, as well, and particularly the continuing death toll there.”
  • Q: “Indeed, Mr. President, but you didn’t find the weapons of mass destruction.”
  • Q: “I think there is a feeling that the world has become a more dangerous place because you have taken the focus off Al Qaeda and diverted into Iraq. Do you not see that the world is a more dangerous place? I saw four of your soldiers lying dead on the television the other day, a picture of four soldiers just lying there without their flight jackets.”
  • Q: “A hundred Iraqis dead today, Mr. President.”And here are excerpts of his answers:
  • The President: “Let me finish. Let me finish. May I finish?”
  • The President: “Let me finish. Let me finish, please. Please. You ask the questions and I’ll answer them, if you don’t mind.”
  • The President: “Listen, nobody cares more about the death than I do—”
  • The President: “I don’t like death, either. I mean, you keep emphasizing the death, and I don’t blame you—but all that goes to show is the nature of the enemy. These people are willing to kill innocent people.”

Archive Highlights