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March 27, 2003 5:30 PM   Subscribe

Unless you take long breaks from your busy internet-trolling schedule to read print media, you did not see this chilling litany of stupidity from Elsa Walsh's 3/24 New Yorker profile of Bandar bin Sul "The meeting was scheduled to last twenty minutes, but Bush and Abdullah talked for two hours. At one point, the Crown Prince handed Bush the photographs of the dead Palestinian children. Do you think it's right? he asked. Bush appeared surprised by the photographs and his eyes seemed to well up. One person familiar with the conversation summarized Bush's comments: "I want peace. I don't want to see any people killed on both sides. I think God loves me. I think God loves the Palestinians. I think God loves the Israelis. We cannot allow this to continue." At one point, Bush told Abdullah that he believed Muslims and Israelis were all God's children and that God didn't want to see children from either side die." (Link via Atrios)
posted by crasspastor (22 comments total)
Before beginning to eat, Bush bowed his head and reached for Saud's hand. "Let us pray," he said. A look of panic came over the Crown Prince, who was unfamiliar with the Christian custom of saying grace before meals. "What is he doing?" he whispered to an aide sitting nearby. "What should I do?" Powell also looked stricken, as if he couldn't believe what Bush was saying in front of his Muslim guests.
posted by Espoo2 at 5:36 PM on March 27, 2003

Read it on the flight from Seatac back to Narita...that "look of panic" line is comedy gold.

Or it would be, if the context weren't so heart-wrenchingly morbid. This feeble fount of sentimentality is the President of the United States of America.
posted by adamgreenfield at 5:48 PM on March 27, 2003

Is it too early to order an advance copy of Powell's memoirs? Because even if he tries to be kind, it's gonna be one helluva book.
posted by 2sheets at 5:57 PM on March 27, 2003

Navin: Good Lord - I've heard about this--cat juggling! Stop! Stop! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Good. Father, could there be a god that would let this happen? How much do you want?
posted by goethean at 5:58 PM on March 27, 2003

I thought the New Yorker profile of Bandar bin Sultan was a very interesting read, regardless of whatever spin can be derived from its contents.
posted by mcwetboy at 6:03 PM on March 27, 2003

After reading the excerpts, I question how either of the words 'litany' or 'stupidity' could be ascribed to Walsh's writing. Walsh may have only presented a single perspective, but I did not find it repetitious and it seemed rather well informed.

As for its portrayal of Bush, it is just tossing another twig on the bonfire.
posted by mischief at 6:40 PM on March 27, 2003

I don't think those words are being applied to Walsh's writing; they're being applied to the subject of his writing (Bush's behavior).
posted by mr_roboto at 6:54 PM on March 27, 2003

So what's to discuss? The Big News is that Bush is religious and he should be in the "special olympics"? (to quote the weblog)

Come on.
posted by hama7 at 7:27 PM on March 27, 2003

the "saying Grace with Muslims" thing reminds me of the famous Woodward-Bernstein anecdote of (Quaker) Nixon asking an appalled (Jewish) Kissinger to get down on his knees and join the President in a prayer
posted by matteo at 7:39 PM on March 27, 2003

So Bush, then, is Chauncey Gardner?

He seems to mean well, despite the wastrel ways of his youth - wine, women, going AWOL, blowing up frogs..........

Somehow I cannot bring myself to hate or loathe him, although I am very sad that he is president of the most powerfull country on Earth.
posted by troutfishing at 7:54 PM on March 27, 2003

I cannot bring myself to hate or loathe him,

Don't worry. I have enough loathing of that ass for the both of us.
posted by Wulfgar! at 8:17 PM on March 27, 2003

Coulda been worse. At least Bush jr. didn't throw up on the guy.

The disquieting feeling about how both sides practice their respective religions is mutual. A couple weeks ago there was an anti-war parade thing in downtown Dallas. Just before it started, I witnessed about a dozen or so muslims line up just a few feet away from the parade, facing away from it and towards their Holy Land and they went into their praying routine. Stand, kneel, stand, kneel, prostrate, kneel, stand, etc. It was touching but also just.. eerie.

So a Muslim showing such uncertainty at a Christian's dinner table is understandable. Still, so far as I can recall, Muhammed the Prophet didn't separate the god of Moses or Jesus from his own. If there can be only one God, then Jehovah & Allah are the same guy. Disagreements over how to worship Him are ultimately just arguing over semantics.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:40 PM on March 27, 2003

Disagreements over how to worship Him are ultimately just arguing over semantics.

Unfortunately, those semantics can be a real bitch, to put it mildly.
posted by pitchblende at 9:31 PM on March 27, 2003

Bush is an absolute fucking moron. A reminder is always appreciated.
posted by ghastlyfop at 10:25 PM on March 27, 2003

Naiveté and sentimentality are powerful weapons in politics - underestimate them at your peril.

Bush is an unwordly, well-meaning conservative politician. He's also a successful one. Perhaps those who can't stand him would be more effective in opposing him if they dealt with the sources of his success - and the real possibility that a lot of what passes as his "dumb" image is perhaps a result of clever stage management.

Innocence and resolute simple-mindedness are often disarming and, in international politics, can be brutally effective. And frightening.

[For the record, I like and respect Bush, although I too am sometimes discomfited by his simplistic manicheanism.]
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:54 PM on March 27, 2003

What a boring and useless post... :-(
posted by zerofoks at 11:54 PM on March 27, 2003

I keep hoping for actual signs of total mental collapse on Bush's part. Like reports of ordering puppies to be sacrificed to ward off future terrorist attacks, fiddling in the Oval Office every time they drop one of those 2,000lb bombs, or hell, even just some good old cross dressing. 'Cause if he were certifiably insane (not that there's anything wrong with cross dressing, mind you), the aftermath of all this crap would be a lot easier to deal with, I think.
posted by kaibutsu at 12:11 AM on March 28, 2003

We shouldn't be so outraged at Bush's "stupidity" so much as we should be outraged at the absurdity we are told about "our president". Why should anything ever from a president of the United States be allowed to fall into the "absurd category"?
posted by crasspastor at 2:01 AM on March 28, 2003

"What a boring and useless post... :-("

I second that emotion.
posted by darren at 6:13 AM on March 28, 2003

I thought this article was fascinating when I read it last week. I am again horrified at the shortsightedness of the Bush team. They have managed to offend and insult our enemies and allies everywhere. And this article just reinforced that knowledge.
posted by aacheson at 6:25 AM on March 28, 2003

Perhaps those who can't stand him would be more effective in opposing him if they dealt with the sources of his success

It's nice how the "don't attack the President but deal with the reasons of his success" Conservatives were nowhere to be seen when their fellow Conservatives in Congress were busy chasing (and probably sniffing) stained dresses instead of dealing with more important issues.

Anyway it's pretty easy, Miguel: here's the reason of his "success" (we'll see in november 2004, btw)

It's thanks to 9-11 that Bush can be taken seriously (for now) at least as commander-in-chief of the war on terrorism (let alone that he approved a crappy strategy, losing too many men, that's why the Pentagon had to move an additional 100,000 soldiers to help out in Iraq), Osama is nowhere to be seen, same for the anthrax letter guy): the economy is in terrible shape and recovery is nowhere to be seen, the SEC is a joke, the Enron thing was very embarrassing, the tax cuts have destroyed the huge Clinton-era surplus and America is back to deficit-spending (Bush Dad knows very well what that means)

With success like this, who needs failure?

Without 9-11, Bush would be in the low thirties voter approval

I'm not surprised that he prays very often: he needs all the help he can get, because when/if the terrorist scare won't be the number one worry of the voters anymore, well, who knows what's going to happen at the polls
posted by matteo at 7:49 AM on March 28, 2003

I thought it was the ritual duty of us Metafilter lib'rals to slam bush for being overly sycophantic to Saudi solons. I'm not quite sure what to make of slamming him for being arrogant toward them. Or of cheering the foreign ambassador of long standing whose position is owed to blood relations with an hereditary and absolute monarchy for yelling at the vice president of a democratic republic. Good theater, one supposes, but good politics?

I am sure that Crown Prince Abdullah has been, in the name of his brother Fahd, endowing hundreds if not thousands of spiffy new mosques in many Christian countries, while in Saudi Arabia religious freedom is forbidden: there may be no Christian church; even a Bible is contraband, and prayer meetings in private homes are dicey. Thus, I remain baffled that our purpose is to demonstrate our magnanimous tolerance in the (literal) face of the most tightly regulated religious state on the planet. I am also quite sure that Crown Prince Abdullah is a cultured and well-traveled man, by almost any standard, and this can't be his first encounter with the Christian ritual of grace at table. If I were a traveller in a distant land, invited to dinner, and a moment of spirituality arose that did not fit my tradition, I would politely and respectfully await its completion.

I'm reminded of the story of the German priest who arranged a meeting with the most prominent Muslim cleric in his city (I can't locate a link, but this happened around 6 months ago). The cleric insisted that his distinguished Christian visitor take a handsomely calligraphed and engraved copy of the Koran; he was doing his religious duty of dawa to the dhimmitude {proselytizing}, after all. When the priest warmly returned the favor and handed the Imam a sumptuous Bible, the latter recoiled in absolute horror. To accept a Bible, you see, would be apostasy. Couldn't the priest understand that?

In a word, I will be mightily concerned about this state of affairs when there's sufficient evidence that the tolerance goes more than one direction.
posted by dhartung at 12:00 PM on March 28, 2003

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