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September 4, 2007

Wallpaper Roll Out: The Magic Kingdom

Bush-Disneyland

I don’t know why more isn’t made of the White House tactic of hauling off — in effect, kidnapping — the traveling press on these thoroughly-scripted Iraq dog-and-camel shows.

In the style of other engineered “forced disappearances,” converting the visual media into a literally captive audience during these so-called “surprise” detours does, however, offer a choice opportunity to survey this Administration’s main product — plasticized and surreal impressions that misdirect the public mind.

In this case, for example, the President is not secreted away for a few hours in a runaway, force-occupied country with young and expendable flesh-and-blood soldiers.  Instead, in line with all the supposed improvement in his war of liberation, the Commander – And – Chief Mouseketeer has spirited off to Disney World to tout his gains with the shiniest and most effervescent children he could pick out of the melting pot.

(image: Jason Reed/Reuters.  September 2, 2007.  via nytimes.com)

  • Gahso

    All smiles, except one. There’s one face (on Bush’s shoulder) that’s looking right at the camera and refusing to play along.
    Otherwise, this is a purely staged, political photo of nothing at all..

  • jtfromBC

    All smiles is George as he relives the glory days as *head cheerleader* at Phillips Academy.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/ExpatAsia/ ExpatAsia

    There was an AFP photo on the front page of the International Herald Tribune yesterday (4 Sept). I figured on seeing it discussed here. It shows Bush walking outside with a soldier, passing a sign stating “Danger, Stay Back” in large print (complete with Arabic script). The soldier is fully outfitted, next to a casually dressed president. Maybe it’s just too obvious.

  • narodar

    “with the shiniest and most effervescent children he could pick out of the melting pot.”
    The striking thing to me isn’t that the soliders are smiling, but actually the wide array of reactions. Is this is the best they could so for a staged photo op – some of these soldiers are clearly not happy.
    The guy immediately behind the President who clearly and pointedly ISN’T smiling. Like a ghost hovering over his shoulder, changing the nature of the photo every time we look at Bush – because he’s right there next to him.
    The guy immediately next to him doesn’t look all that happy, either.
    Then there’s the “hi mom” smile – perhaps a little uncomfortable – with the soldier to the left of the President.
    And the “yeah, I’m waving” attitude of the guy to the left of her.
    Behind him, the guy pushing his head up to get into frame.
    And the people clamoring to get into the frame.
    Why are these people smiling? These people all want to have their picture taken with the President, of course. Why? Because they know if they get their picture taken with the President it will be shown back home.
    And if it’s shown back home, then their friends and family know one very important thing.
    They’re still alive.
    Today.
    And yet two of them very close to the President aren’t shiny happy people. And even the front row are doing their best “school picture” smiles instead of looking *really* happy. All this is inside a 13-mile defensive perimeter.
    That’s the best they can do.

  • http://www.groupnewsblog.net Hubris Sonic

    Why are these people smiling?
    They’re smiling because they are stationed at Camp Cupcake. A bad day for them is the laundry not getting their starched uniforms back for them. I can almost guarantee there is not a single Combat MOS in that crowd.

  • Patricia

    No one has mentioned Bush’s stretched false smile and lifeless looking left arm. I thought of Howdy Doody when I saw his smile.

  • http://www.woodka.com donna

    Probably promised them all they could go home early if they smiled nice and played along….

  • http://www.thehuffingtonpost.com Chomsky

    Like a cigar store Indian. Repulsive, disgusting… the common adjectives don’t go far enough in this instance. He is the most skilled good-ol’-boy gadfly you are likely to ever encounter, and that includes car salesmen and real estate brokers. It is humanly impossible to be around him and not get momentarially sucked in to that frat-friendly act. He has honed the skill for 57 years. And that is all he wants, a moment of goodwill for the camera, then he trots off to plan war on Iran, and the suckers (soldiers, reporters, public, politicians) go back to hating him.
    “What the_____ , what just happened? I wanted to say this and that to the b’tard and my moment of opportunity was just gone.”

  • http://home.comcast.net/~sfs73/index.html MonsieurGonzo

    ref : Mr. Bush visits al Anbar in IRAQ
    easy enough to pooh-pooh this news -not- news event as yet another example of Mr. Bush failing to command American troops, while shamelessly using them as photo-op props in his chosen rôle as cheerleader -in- chief.
    otoh, BAGistas ~ this was brilliantly timed, quite effective propaganda:
    (1) the retreat while under fire of British forces from Basra was effectively covered by Mr. Bush’s event ~ at least, it was so in The States, where the ignominious British withdrawal (if it was mentioned at all) was knocked from HEADLINE NEWS item 1 to “mere mention” news item 2, 3… most Americans would be shocked to be told directly that the ~5,000 remaining British troops are now gathered in defensive posture at the airport, slowly executing their final Misson = to exit airlift out of IRAQ.
    (2) though Secretary of Defense Gates does mumble, “the dynamic of Sunni tribal leaders accepting American $$ aid, turning against the al Qaeda -type anarchists & criminals in their midst ~ pre-dates the ‘Surge’ by several months” ~ through the usual dissembling and verbal mashups, as well aided by the stenographic “echo journalism” of the American media ~ President Bush has effectively joined in the American mind and media the entirely bogus idea that “the ‘Surge‘ is responsible for some sort of pacification process taking place in al Anbar province.”

  • PTate in FR

    You are exactly right that it looks like Disneyworld–the Mickey Mouse Club, in particular, with the Mouseketeers…
    “Hi, I’m hispanic and female!”
    “Hi, I’m a white male!”
    “Hi, I’m an Asian male!”
    “Hi, I’m a black female!”
    M.I.C….”See you real soon!”
    K.E.Y…”Why? Because we like you….”
    M.O.U.S.E…
    This president, in addition to being a very powerful man without a clue who is doing great harm, is an embarassment.

  • PTate in FR

    …though maybe not Asian male. Maybe Latino?

  • MonsieurGonzo

    Mickey Mouse Club? ie., infantalization of the American military? or…
    …militarization of the American infants?
    imho: worst. president. ever. meets worst. soldiers. ever.

  • lytom

    Such an opportunity to have a picture with a criminal in chief.
    They would not only smile for him and with him, but even kill for him, on his orders! What patriots!

  • Cactus

    A very subversive photo. Troops are commanded to appear and be happy to meet the CIC. Most of them are, shall we say, overly enthusiastic. Even W is grinning like a cheshire cat. The two guys on the right are ‘cuddling’ up to the other soldier a bit too much methinks. But hey, I won’t ask if they don’t tell. And note the guy directly behind and to the left of The W. Standing at attention, yessir! He got his message across, loud and clear. I wonder if he is on his way to Fallujah today.
    BTW, M.Gonzo’s #1 was my first thought when I heard about W’s visit, but then I listen to BBC; Faux viewers, I’m sure, do not. I didn’t see that covered anywhere on MSM.

  • Doctor Jay

    “They would not only smile for him and with him, but even kill for him, on his orders! What patriots!”
    Stop it. They are soldiers. Under orders. They will kill because it’s their job. They are not responsible. Do not blame them. It is very important to our nation that the soldiers submit to the chain of command, and follow orders.
    I know quite a few soldiers these days, including one deployed, with a young wife and newborn baby in Germany. They are not much more than kids, a few years older than my own. Their leadership may have failed them, but that’s not their fault.
    Yeah, the thing that caught my eye was how forced Bush looked in that photo. None of the soldiers look especially forced, but he is “standing extra tall”, with a limp arm and a forced smile. He looks like a little boy told to smile for the camera.

  • lytom

    Frankly, Dr. Jay I do not understand what I should stop?
    I do not think that the so called justification of “under orders” should clear soldiers of their guilt of killing or torturing civilians! I do not consider it “a job” to kill. The soldiers have brains, I hope, and can think and have moral values. That is one of the few things commander in chief cannot take away from them!!
    I assume doctors have also a duty and hope it is not to kill under orders!?

  • http://home.comcast.net/~sfs73/index.html MonsieurGonzo

    ref : “They will kill because it’s their job
    ..!
    you are as apparently clueless as to what “being a soldier” is, as these Mouseketeers are: soldiers are not executioners.
    in your misguided attempt to defend them, sir ~ you succeed only in degrading them, debasing their profession.

  • Clinton

    Arrghhh.
    What is it with Bush and the pretty young woman? Why does he have to touch them? Many of you mentioned the limp left arm, but I hope it’s not immature sounding to say: Where is his right arm?
    He is constantly inappropriate and probably has been his entire life. I can’t stand him. But regarding this specific picture (visual commentary): don’t just look at the hand you see, you also have to worry about the hand you don’t see.
    (And lots of clean uniforms free of sweat, blood, and dust, i.e. free of the reality of Iraq for the other millions not inside said defensive perimeter.)

  • Enoch Root

    It’s A Small Empire After All.

  • http://molly.douthett.net momly

    They’re shiny cuz it’s hot in the desert.
    Watch out, plastic people. The heat will melt you.

  • ItGirl
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