"All the ideological signposts for attacking Iran are in place. The country has been thoroughly demonized because it is not nice to women, to gays, or to Jews. That in itself is enough to neutralize a large part of the American "left". The issue of course is not whether Iran is nice or not ­according to our views -- but whether there is any legal reason to attack it, and there is none; but the dominant ideology of human rights has legitimized, specially in the left, the right of intervention on humanitarian grounds anywhere, at any time, and that ideology has succeeded in totally sidetracking the minor issue of international law." Jean Bricmont, Why Bush Can Get Away With Attacking Iran, Counterpunch, Sept 4, 2007.

Is This a Bush Sight-Gag?

Jason Reed/Reuters
Notice that Bush is not returning Petraeus's salute. Is this a Bush sight gag? Is he making believe he doesn't see Petraeus on the grounds that seeing him might render Petraeus's upcoming report on the situation in Iraq as less than an independent assessment? As irony, this means that Bush knows the report will be tailored to support the regime's goals. The two Army goons, grinning broadly, show that they get the "inside" joke.

September 4, 2007

On September 2, 2007, Bush made a surprise visit to Iraq. The press pool photographer covering the trip was Jason Reed of Reuters. The next day, the NY Times had upbeat coverage of Bush's trip. Not surprisingly, the theme was "progress." To accompany the upbeat article, the Times picked six of Reed's photos and used them sequentially in the course of the day over the same article.

The first one, named 03prexy3-600.jpg, was a bit peculiar. It shows Bush apparently saluting while standing in front of two four star Generals, one of whom is David Petraeus. But neither General is saluting. Therefore Bush, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Generals, cannot be returning a tendered salute by an inferior officer.

Is the apparent salute really an ironic pantomime meant to signal that Bush and Petraeus, to ensure the independence of the latter's report, are not supposed to see each other in advance of the report being issued? If Bush is capable of irony, then this little pantomime is an inside joke and he and Petraeus both know what the latter is supposed to say.