Saturday, January 17, 2009
This cartoon is from the Guardian's Steven Bell. I especially like the shoe. Bush gives Blair Presidential Medal of Freedom. The story itself has a distinct sit-com, after-school special or made-for-TV movie feel to it. George Bush giving out medals in the name of freedom, democracy, human rights and peace; four things he has proven his utter contempt for. Now Tony Blair accepting one of these medals (There's reportedly quite a decent dark chocolate underneath the realistic foil wrapper.)is funny enough, but then learning that he was standing alongside John Howard, former president of Australia, and Álvaro Uribe, the current president of Colombia. The three men were ostensibly given these medals, "for their efforts to promote democracy, human rights and peace abroad". What an absolute farce! Four men that wouldn't even recognize actual freedom if it waltzed up and started nibbling on their bums.
This is one of those special moments in history when the farce becomes so thick that the grand illusion is in danger of falling apart and the veil in front of our eyes starts to slip. It's like when Bush pulled the weapons inspectors out of Iraq and told the UN to fuck off and mind its own business and then no weapons were ever found, the lies instantly forgotten. Or when Kissinger got the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 after being almost wholly responsible for wiping out millions of peasants across former French Indochina, where they are still plagued by birth defects and unexploded ordinance over forty years later.
It's like Arnold Schwarzenegger giving out medals for humility to Pamela Anderson, Bill O'Reilly and Chris Tucker, except it's a lot more ominous.