Monday, January 19, 2009

January 20th, 2009

Today, I will take the entire late afternoon off and watch one of America's brightest days live on German television. The financial crisis and violent conflicts around the world will be forgotten - at least for a day. Many people all over are going to reflect on the time period that stretches from the day another unforgettable African American spoke in D.C. to the moment Obama is going to get sworn in.

For many citizens around the world the excitement will be twofold: Today will mark the beginning of something great, something new and unexpected (no matter how the Obama administration deals with the problems in the U.S. and around the world) and the end of something that can easily be described by your choice of different variations of this word.

The bush years will be hard to forget, even on a day like this. One reason for the never before seen excitement about an incoming president is the way the old one misused his power.

I had a hard time making up my mind about whether the Iraqi journalist hurling a shoe at the president displayed a totally inappropriate behavior or whether he fulfilled a secret fantasy of mine.

Thanks to my new addiction to Netflix documentaries I happened to watch several Iraq and 9/11 related documentaries in the days leading up to the shoe incident. I realized that I had forgotten about a lot of the stuff that was going on in the Bush administration. All these unbelievable events even seem more ridiculous looking back now after all these years. Check out this Frontline-documentary. I watched it again (in parts) after the "shoe incident". The documentary reveals the weird dynamics and little personal fights that where going on in the White House, the State and Justice Department and the CIA in a way that I have never seen before. I think it's worth watching just to make sure we don’t forget why the guy threw a shoe.

The documentary brought back memories of how a handful of people play destiny. The two-part documentary makes me want to hurl shoes not only at Bush, but also at the rest of the goonies:

CHENEY (a high heel) for making the case for WMD, knowing that it was a baseless one and his involvement and stance on torture even though Palin begs to differ. (During the Nuernberg Nazi trials the chief prosecutor for the United States, Robert H. Jackson, said in his opening statement, that even your enemies have to be submitted to the judgment of the law - one of the the great rules of international human rights. What has become of the once noble leadership of the United States was on display this week, when 4 Guantanamo detainees where released after beeing held for several years without any charges. Over 50 are to follow in the upcoming days. Rumsfeld who was charged by a U.S. group in Germany over the Prison Abuse Scandal probably will never have to see a court room from the inside.)

RUMSFELD (a muddy army boot) for going to war without ANY “after-war-strategy” but with a “victory strategy" instead. And an extra shoe for his stand-up desk comment, revealing an unbelievable inhumanity.

WOLFOWITZ (a shoe with a hole) for arguing that the U.S. occupation in fact ended the day Paul Bremer (than the head of the CPA) left Iraq.

TENET (a slipper) for his slam dunk remark. His attempts to set the record straight in his book are excuses of a man who realized later what he'd done or what he should have done...

LIBBY (a KGB Spy Shoe with Heel Transmitter) for you know what.

ADDINGTON and YU (one shiny black leather shoe each) for stretching the law to fit their bosses ideologies and demands.

BREMER (two Iraqi shoes) for deciding to disband the Iraqi army which left thousands of Iraqi military personnel without a job, out of control and with a weapon in their hand and his debathification decision which basically destroyed Iraq’s executive/administrative apparatus and education system

ROVE see Libby.

BOLTON (sneakers), a critic of the U.N., for accepting the post as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. – in my opinion a total disregard for the institution (when I was working for the German Mission to the U.N. last year, my boss told me about working with Bolton in the 5th Committee. He described him as on of the biggest [insert the German word for dick in plural] he has ever met).

RICE (a slipper also) for not living up to her responsibilities as National Security advisor to the president and not weighing in on the weak CIA intelligence and the case for war coming from the vice president’s office

GONZALES (a shoe worn by one of this week's released Guantanamo detainees) for disregarding the position of the head of the justice department in an attempt to become Bush’s most loyal buddy.

And (I hate to say it) COLIN POWELL (a small one - size 7 1/2) for delivering the U.N. speech and not refusing to give a speech that was basically prepared by Cheney’s office (the documentary shows how he attempts to amend the speech but finally relies on Tenet’s wrong assessments. He must have known that the administration used him – the only one with credibility in the rest of the world – to make its case).

Even though people visiting the Inauguration celebrations haven't forgotten about the Iraqi journalist and are not done with Bush, yet, it is important to look into the future. However, we must not forget about the past.

Europe envies America for the new president ("Where is our Obama?") and America once again is seen as the land of opportunities. Let's hope that we all will have the opportunity to keep our shoes on in the following years. Congratulations America!


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