Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bush in Africa: Don’t come to the continent feeling guilty about anything


Bush greeted the independent nation of Kosovo. And then the Reminderer undermined it: “And it’s important for us to remind Kosovo -- which I have just done -- that they must honor their commitments to support the rights of non-Albanians, non-Kosovars’ rights inside the country.” “Non-Kosovars,” as if ethnic Serbs are not proper citizens of Kosovo.

Here, for your captioning pleasure, are some pictures from yesterday of Bush’s trip to a girls’ school in Tanzania.






Then it was on to Rwanda.


Where he held a press conference with President Paul Kagame.

ALSO, HE’D LIKE TO SEE THOSE ELEPHANTS FUCKING AGAIN. BUT MOSTLY THE MISSION OF MERCY THING. “You know, people say, why would you want to come to Africa at this point in your presidency? Because I’m on a mission of mercy, that’s why.”

WHAT’S IN OUR NATIONAL INTEREST: “I want the American people to understand that when it comes to saving lives, it’s in our national interest. I firmly believe that”.

WHAT HE’S FRANKLY NOT INTERESTED IN: “I’m frankly not interested in, you know, spending taxpayers’ money on governments that end up pocketing the money and not helping citizens live.”


On Castro’s retirement: “I heard the reports, several ways -- one, reporters yelling it at me, and then of course I was briefed.” And very well briefed indeed, because he came forth with this stunning insight into the resignation of a man who ruled for 50 years: “So I view this as a period of transition”. That sort of analysis is why he’s the president, and you’re not.

On the need to promote instability in Cuba: “There will be some who say, let’s promote stability. Of course, in the meantime, political prisoners will rot in prison, and the human condition will remain pathetic in many cases.”

WHAT HE RECOGNIZED IN THE RWANDA GENOCIDE MUSEUM: “You can’t help but walk in there and recognize the -- you know, that evil does exist and, in this case, in such brutal form that babies had their skulls smashed.” Also, the gift shop sucks.

WHAT HE LEARNED IN THE RWANDA GENOCIDE MUSEUM: “And I came away with two lessons -- I’m sure there’s many more. One was, we’ve got to work to prevent it from happening in the first place... And secondly, that when you -- when the people decide to respond, that you go in with enough force that has the proper mandate.”

WHAT HE CAN’T IMAGINE: “I just can’t imagine what it would have been like to be a citizen who witnessed such horrors, and then had to try to gather themselves up and live a hopeful life.”

IN OTHER WORDS: “[A] clear lesson I learned in the museum was that outside forces that tend to divide people up inside their country are unbelievably counterproductive. In other words, people came from other countries -- I guess you’d call them colonialists -- and they pitted one group of people against another.” Shiites, Sunnis – ring a bell at all?

IN OTHER WORDS: “I would urge [my successor] to treat our -- the leaders in Africa as partners. In other words, don’t come to the continent feeling guilty about anything.”

Later, he opened the new US embassy in Rwanda, “because guys like me always like to cut ribbon”. Is that some sort of metaphor?


He thanked Americans working in Rwanda: “And when we see the hungry, we feed the hungry -- not because of its -- you know, it’s, like, we want to establish undue influence; it’s because we all believe we’re children of God.”

TO WHO: “Finally, I do want to end by saying this: To who much is given, much is required.”

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