Last night, the infamous G. W. Bush came to speak at what was called “The Texas of Canada” to be the guest of honor at ‘A Conversation with Bush’. So why would someone want to go to see an accused war criminal speak, excepting those who accidentally mistook the name for a spin-off series of the Vagina Monologues?
Well, unless one was a fan of the Neo-Cons, or a protester waiting to shout slogans, the only other reason could be… free tickets! Which is why we were there. Otherwise the $175+ price tag would have been better spent on, well, pretty much anything.
So, how did the event play out? To start, many protesters were outside, maybe 75-100, or so. Chanting slogans, carrying signs. The bullhorn was going. As we were entering, one of the protesters pointed at a guy two people ahead in line, saying “Shame! Shame!”. Phew, that was close. Joking aside, it was different to be on the other side of the protest line… amusing for some reason.
Upon entry to the building, there was an atrocious line-up while we waited well past the start time to get in. It zigged and zagged all over the place, looping in on itself. A clusterfuck with no exit plan… seems fitting for a night with Dubya.
Finally we got to our seats, Bush was introduced by the CEO of some oil company spewing glorious praise for the legend of GW, probably bringing tears to some eyes. Then finally, he came out. Even though we were in the 4th row, there was no smell of sulfur, so either Bush uses some new kind of demonizer-deodorant, or Chavez was mistaken.
This was when the first protester started up… laid out a blanket covered in slogans and shouted “Lies!” He was promptly escorted out.
Bush opened up with some jokes, and if he wasn’t such a war-mongering, draft-dodging, closed-minded hypocrite, perhaps he would have even got some laughs from us. One joke revolved around how now that he isn’t the President, he has to pick up dog shit, a job previously delegated. Of course, the far bigger pile of shit that is his legacy is left for others to handle.
Truth be told, he is an excellent orator. He spoke pretty much as one would expect seeing any of his other speeches. Only a few mistakes were noticeable, like saying Hezbollah comes from Iran, and a mix-up saying Iran was more restrictive than N. Korea (which he got backwards). Apart from that, his mistakes were more in the fallacies he seems to think are truth.
When asked by the moderator about withdrawing from Iraq in 16 months, Bush’s response was that we are invited there by the Iraqi government, and will stay as long as they want the US there. So, as long as the US’s propped up, phoney regime wants them to stay there, they will stay. In other words, he wants the US to stay indefinitely, which is no big surprise.
He also commended Canada for our role in Afghanistan, saying that the task of spreading democracy via violence in Afghanistan is harder than in Iraq since Afghanistan is so poor. He espoused the rhetoric about how we are spreading liberty, promoting democracy, as well as helping liberate a people, especially the suppressed women and girls living under the Taliban.
Now, all of these things are noble causes… liberty, democracy, equal rights for females. But the debate is not so much about if those things are desirable, but more about what is the best way to achieve them. Would non-violent, humanitarian efforts be more fruitful than a predominantly militarized approach? Of course. The muscles and guns should only be there to back up the cause, not leading the way, since the violence and killing of innocents only compounds the original problem.
Asked about his treatment of political prisoners, he admits to keeping them off US soil so that they don’t get rights. He justified the use of torture by stating 3 cases were it actually worked… 3 in what, 30,000? Not very acceptable odds, especially now that you’ve created now potentially created 29,997 new threats with an axe to grind. No wonder they don’t want to ever let these prisoners go.
Later on, Bush talked about a political prisoner he gave the medal of honor to. A political prisoner of some other regime. So, those tortured and abused by other country’s deserve to be honored and never forgotten, but those prisoners of the US… no medals for them, and best forgotten about, apparently.
Another protester shouted something like “War Criminal”. As well, a group was escorted out when Bush started talking about Israel. “Israel kills innocents!” one of them yelled a few times. Bush carried on seemlessly through the protests, obviously well-versed, or perhaps oblivious to anything other than what he was doing.
A few more anecdotes about Putin, one about how Putin described himself as ‘hot-blooded’, and Bush said, “No, you’re cold blooded.” Another story was about how Putin dismissed Barney (Bush’s dog) with disdain, and when Bush met Putin’s dog later it was “Bigger. Stronger. Faster.” said the Russian President.
Then, with a final shout-out to Jesus, he was off. All in all, it was a unique experience. It is just too bad that no one threw a shoe.