A Kick in the Pants
February 23, 2005
By Sheila Samples
It's unfortunate that Bush doesn't understand what is happening
in the world he so arrogantly believes he owns. The European trip
he's on now is a barely concealed attempt to strong-arm support
for his upcoming invasion of Iran. An invasion, according to former
UNSCOM weapons inspector Scott Ritter, that Bush has already approved,
and is slated for June 2005.
Although the mainstream media is steadfastly refusing to investigate
or report this startling news, Ritter, speaking on Feb. 19 to a
packed house in the Capitol Theater in Olympia, Wash., maintains
that "an official involved in the manipulation" was his source.
In a release from United for Peace of Pierce County, Wash., reporter
Mark Jensen wrote that Ritter said this announcement would "soon
be reported by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist in a major metropolitan
magazine - an obvious allusion to The New Yorker reporter
For those who expect the media to interview Ritter - the man at
the top of their "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" list for shouting until
he was hoarse before, during and after the war that there were no
weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq - it could be a long wait.
However, it's been scarcely a month since Hersh laid out the entire
nasty scenario in his piece, "The Coming Wars," in the January 24-31
issue of The New Yorker.
Hersh was told by a former high-level intelligence official, "This
is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign ... Next,
we're going to have the Iranian campaign. We've declared war and
the bad guys wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last
hurrah - we've got four years, and want to come out of this saying
we won the war on terrorism."
According to Hersh, a government consultant with close ties to
the Pentagon told him that "in order to destroy as much of the military
infrastructure as possible," the administration "has been conducting
secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran since at least last summer."
Since Bush's hawkish handlers refuse to allow him to negotiate,
the plan, Hersh says, is to "act" once it becomes clear that the
European-negotiated approach cannot succeed. To act? What does "to
act" mean? Does Bush actually believe this is some deranged Punch
and Judy puppet show; that once the curtain falls on his last hurrah,
the hundreds of thousands - perhaps millions in four years - of
maimed and dead will rise up, brush themselves off and go out for
The point, then, of Bush's trip across the pond this week must
be to admonish the doddering members of "old Europe" to get their
act together; to suck it up and admit they were wrong about the
Iraq war, and fall in behind him as he heads for Iran - because
he's moving out and he's the leader.
And, they've been warned. Bush's visit follows Secretary of State
Condi Rice's whirlwind trip, wherein she swept through Europe lecturing,
scolding and warning European leaders if they don't toe the U.S.
line, they're in danger of being put back into "time out" or worse
because, as they have been reminded ad infinitim, all options
are on the table.
About the only thing both Bush and Rice are proving is that they
don't have a clue. They seem to be completely oblivious to the fact
that the trans-Atlantic alliance is at the breaking point. Although
the Christian Science Monitor is reporting that NATO Secretary-General
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer "is set to announce" that the alliance's 26
members are signed on to helping in Iraq in some capacity," William
Pfaff writes in the International Herald Tribune that the
alliance's George Robertson says, "NATO will provide no further
help to the United States in Iraq - meaning that the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization's principal European members refuse to let the
alliance do so."
Pfaff said he has recently attended several European conferences
of political specialists, policy analysts, and past and present
officials from both sides of the Atlantic who were concerned about
current affairs as well as the future. He said, "In every case,
wherever it started, discussion quickly turned into a debate about
how to cope with the Bush administration's new America, seen as
a disturber of world peace and a risk to the security even of its
According to Pfaff, the conferences were attended by Washington
neo-conservative officials whose speeches were celebrations of American
power and victory in Iraq. He said these officials were "implicitly
condescending," and they said that Europe needed to "grow up" and
face the terrorism threat." They demanded apologies from the Europeans
for having failed to support the United States. "They still were
saying that if you didn't agree, you are 'irrelevant,'" Pfaff
In his wonderful 1941 novel, HM Pulham, Esquire, John P.
Marquand gives us Bojo Brown, a "Dubya" character who has thrown
his weight around since he was a little schoolyard bully who possessed
"qualities of leadership." The protagonist, Henry Pulham, is completely
under the sway of an adult Bojo, unchanged since his boys' school
days, but Pulham's friend Bill King isn't fooled for a minute.
"Some day," King said, "someone is going to stop that
bastard. He ought to get a kick in the pants."
Pulham said, "As a matter of fact, there are lots of nice things
"The trouble with you is," King said, "you always play the
"Well, what's wrong with playing the game?" Pulham asked.
"Because you're old enough not to be playing it," King said.
"He's a bastard. And he's never had a kick in the pants."
The US media is out there, playing the game. Each word "Bojo"
Bush utters is cast before the European audience like pearls before
so many swine. The media boasts that Bush plans to "go beyond" the
European leaders and seize the opportunity to chat with the "peoples"
of Europe. The thousands of protesters are "disappeared" as if they
didn't exist, and there is no mention of the iron bubble surrounding
Bush as he rolls around in what is reported to be an unprecedented
security lockdown. How do you talk to a guy in a bubble while a
sniper on a rooftop has you in his sights and you're being shackled
If the crude and ill-mannered Bush is aware of the strain he has
caused throughout Europe; if he cares that the "peoples" of every
corner of the world see him not only as a danger, but as a threat
to their very survival, it doesn't seem to matter to him or to his
pantleg-humping media courtiers. Bush continues to slyly warn Iran,
Syria, North Korea, China, et al, that some of the options on his
table could be for them if they don't behave. And, later this week
when he meets Vladimir "You call me President Bush and I'll call
you Pootie-Poot" Putin, Bush will put him on notice that he will
not tolerate any further backsliding in Russia's democratic reforms.
But, at least Bush seems to be enhanced with France. When asked
if he would invite French President Jacques Chirac to his Texas
ranch, he joked, "I'm looking for a good cowboy."
The Bush/Chirac handshake was shown so many times from so many
angles on CNN that it's surprising someone didn't suggest the two
leaders get a room. Bush was so eager to prove he was ready to forgive
Chirac for his past sins, he pointed to Chirac and blurted out to
the media, "I'm having dinner with him. The fact that he's the first
man I've eaten with in Europe since I was re-elected oughta tell
Yeah. It tells me that the tiger George Bush is riding is getting
hungrier by the minute. No way I'm calling the President a bastard,
but if he somehow manages to dismount - and survive - at the very
least, he ought to get a kick in the pants.
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma freelance writer and former civilian
US Army Public Information Officer, and a regular contributor for
a variety of Internet sites. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.