Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Au Revoir, George

Personally, if I had been the most disastrous president of the United States in living memory, I think I would have foregone a European tour. A quiet retirement to my Texas ranch where I could have busied myself assembling my Presidential Library of cartoon pop-up books and chatting with God occasionally would have done me.
Or had I been Britain’s most expensive premier, I would have serenely spent my days shuttling between my mansions, most of which appear to have been subsidised by the British taxpayer, and quietly counting my ill-gotten gains.
But world leaders seem loth to abandon the spotlight. Which is, I suppose, why I was not cut out to be a world leader, nor, as I see, to even be recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours yet again.
However, I am applying for a cleaning job with the Speaker of the House which should take care of that for next year.
President Bush arrived at London’s Heathrow Airport, apparently unaware of what a disaster area it was, since he turned down the offer of a military base, and brought with him a carbon footprint almost as big as Texas. To be honest, I haven’t the foggiest idea of what a carbon footprint is, but, as it seems to be the phrase du jour, I thought I’d throw that in.
In France, President Sarkozy had welcomed him, Gallic tongue in cheek, and, secure in the knowledge that he was only in power for a few more months, assured him of France’s friendship with America. Why America should doubt that, I have no idea. George Washington’s forces were 50 per cent French and the War of Independence had been largely subsidised by French money.
In Britain, Brown was probably equally relieved to say au revoir.
But during his visit, Bush said that Iraq was now free and life for the Iraqis was now infinitely better than before.
I beg to differ. I am currently working on a book concerning the exploits of the British military in Iraq and in particular, the deed that won Corporal Hayden of the RAF Regiment, the Military Cross. The incident, in which one of his men was killed, was known as the battle of Al-Wiki Market, an incredibly fierce gun battle – and just one of the many that are a daily occurrence for British and American troops in the region.
It was several years ago that Bush, complete in Mickey Mouse uniform, landed on the deck of a US carrier and, backed by a banner declaring ‘Mission Accomplished,’ declared the war to be over
If this is the sort of peace that the United States brings to the world, Heaven help us.
Let us hope that the next president is less myopic.


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