Sunday, February 17, 2008

Bush in Africa: Vipi mambo, y’all

A suicide bombing kills 80 at a dog-fighting match in Afghanistan. I think I’ll move on before I say something that gets me in trouble.

Chant at anti-Bush rally in Dar es Salaam: “Evil is not a foreign policy.”

Bush is in Tanzania. He held a joint news conference with President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, whom he greeted thusly: “Vipi mambo. ... For the uneducated, that’s Swahili for, ‘Howdy, you all.’”

“Vipi mambo.” “Don’t even think about putting that hand on my butt.”

A note to whoever does these transcripts: that would be “deprivation of basic social and economic services,” not “depravation of basic social and economic services.”

Asked why he was only showing interest in Africa at the end of his time in office, Bush said he was interested in Africa “since day one” and related this remarkably unlikely dialog he claims took place early on with Condi: “And she asked me whether or not I really cared about Africa and my answer to her then is the same answer I will give to you now: Absolutely, it’s in our national interests that America help deal with hopelessness; and it’s in our moral interests that we help brothers and sisters who hurt.”

“Moral interests,” a phrase he’s used several times this trip, is kind of an odd, indeed contradictory, concept.

He issued a stern, to say nothing of offensively condescending, order to Congress about his African AIDS program: “stop the squabbling and get the program reauthorized.”

HE’S THE REMINDERER: “As a matter of fact, I’m going to Liberia as my last stop on this very important trip, to support the President, the first elected woman President on the continent of Africa, and to remind her that the U.S.’s help will be constant and enduring.”

Bush refused to say whether he’d recognize Kosovo’s independence, telling the reporter who asked the question, “I suggest you study the Ahtisaari plan. Not to be like the, you know, grumpy guy.” That will go down in history as the American president’s response to the birth of the newest nation.

Which brings us to an announcement: This blog, “Whatever It Is, I’m Against It,” hereby recognizes the independence of Kosovo and wishes it vipi mambo.

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