Assessing President Barrack Obama's overseas trip, ABC's George Stephanopoulos proposed it was “a real test for the President” and, no surprise, decided “he passed it pretty easily” since “he was confident, he had a sense of command in his personal and his public diplomacy, forged strong relationships with his European counterparts...” Furthermore, Stephanopoulos admired Obama's “strong” unannounced visit to troops in Iraq, touting how the President “capped off” his travels “with this critical visit to the troops. When you've got American troops fighting on two fronts, you have to end that visit with a strong visit with the troops, and he did.”
Asked by anchor Charles Gibson to list some minuses, Stephanopoulos acknowledged “good feelings with your allies don't guarantee agreement,” citing Obama's inability to secure help in Afghanistan and with North Korea, but the host of ABC's This Week wrapped up with how the White House is pleased with the trip -- as if it were possible they wouldn't be: “They feel this trip went exactly as they planned. They couldn't be happier. Now they're going to come back home and focus again on the economy.”
Hard to imagine how they could be any happier with the media's reverential coverage.
Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter hit all the expected pro-Obama marks in an interview on Monday’s night’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. He disparaged George Bush’s "good versus evil, us versus them" foreign policy, marred by "Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and the war in Iraq, it’s understandable why the Muslim would would get this message – that the United States did not wish them well."
As for his own personal foreign policy, Alter advocated a much softer tone with our enemies. Ultimatums don’t work, so "I personally favor much closer relations between the United States and Iran because, as Obama said during the campaign, you have to talk to your enemies." Here's how it unfolded:
OLBERMANN: It seemed so radical to hear an American president say United States is not and can’t be at a war with Islam. Is that a clarification that needed to be made? And is there any way to gauge how much it needed to be made?
ALTER: It absolutely had to be made. This was a huge and extremely important do-over for the United States in the Muslim world. You know, under Bill Clinton, we had pretty good relations in that part of the world.
CBS's Bob Schieffer devoted about half of his Face the Nation interview, with President Barack Obama, to Pakistan and Afghanistan, but on Iraq he failed to point out Obama's opposition to the surge as he hoped: “Are things going well enough there now that you may consider speeding up the withdrawal of troops from Iraq?”
On violence in Mexico, Schieffer pushed a blame America first line, suggesting more regulations on guns: “It's my understanding that 90 percent of the guns that they're getting down in Mexico are coming from the United States....Do you need any kind of legislative help on that front? Have you, for example, thought about asking Congress to reinstate the ban on assault weapons?”
Schieffer concluded by wondering if, like Thomas Jefferson, Obama is finding the presidency to be a “splendid misery” and quoting Jefferson, who once said “the presidency had brought him nothing but increasing drudgery and a daily loss of friends,” commiserated: “Have you lost any friends yet?” Certainly not in the news media.
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams offered this brief update on Wednesday's newscast: “We learned today there's no more Global War on Terror -- at least it's been renamed by the Obama administration. The Pentagon will now call the ongoing U.S. military effort the 'Overseas Contingency Operation.'” That presumes the war, I mean “effort,” will continue.
But not even the NBC News graphics staff bought the new name , or at least couldn't fit the longer name into a graphic. As Williams spoke, NBC displayed “FIGHTING TERROR.”
The short item from Williams came right after he pointed out “a stunning turn of events in Iraq” as “the level of violence in Iraq has thankfully fallen sharply.”
Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC's “Morning Joe”, showed her father's aptitude for foreign policy this morning.
The daughter of one of the Carter administration's chief foreign policy wonks started by scolding Robert Gibbs' knee-capping response to former Vice President Dick Cheney's CNN interview, saying that:
BRZEZINSKI: I would have probably wanted to take that on in a big way because many would argue that Cheney made the country more dangerous. Cheney is the one who put us in the position we're in and now has al Qaeda reconstituting around the world. There's some good answers to what Cheney said.
Many would, and they would be proven wrong by that very statement. It was Cheney's policies that destroyed Al Qaeda to the point that they had to “reconstitute” at all. It was Cheney's policies that stopped a long string of al Qaeda attacks. It was indeed Cheney's policies that put us in the position we're in - winning, and safe at home. Apparently, Brzezinski's idea of a better response would have been to attack the policies that have made us safe in the first place.
On World News Sunday, ABC correspondent Terry McCarthy filed his first report in a weeklong series, "Iraq: Where Things Stand," which will give a progress report on the six-year anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom's beginning. After anchor Dan Harris introduced the story by relaying that McCarthy had found "optimism" in Iraq, McCarthy began his report by informing viewers of some positive effects of the country's lower violence levels, and that Iraqis are now more concerned about the economy than security. The ABC correspondent continued: "Iraqis are slowly discovering they have a future. We flew south to Basra, where 94 percent say their lives are going well."
The current “money mess” is “primarily because we've spent or authorized more money on the Iraq war (its sixth anniversary is next Thursday) than we're putting into the stimulus program,” USA Today founder Al Neuharth contended in his weekly “Plain Talk” column on Friday. While “many Democrats as well as nearly all Republicans in Congress gave Bush” the authority to go to war in Iraq, “by contrast, the votes on President Obama's recovery or stimulus plan to clean up the mess that Congress helped create with the Iraq misadventure” were not so bi-partisan.
After citing how 246 Democrats House Democrats, but zero Republicans, and 56 Democratic Senators, but only three Republicans, voted for the “stimulus” package, Neuharth scolded Republicans: “Both parties got us into this mess, but only one is trying to get us out of it.”
Did a liberal on TV ever declare they wanted Bush to fail in Iraq? Well, here’s one from the Fox News Channel. On the December 27, 2002 edition of Your World With Neil Cavuto, during a discussion with left-winger Ellen Ratner on expectations the economy would grow and the stock market would go up in 2003:
BRENDA BUTTNER: You’re basically saying he’s [Bush] going to get re-elected. I mean essentially.
ELLEN RATNER, FNC political analyst: Well, unless the economy tanks –
BUTTNER: The economy could. That’s what people vote on.
RATNER: Well, unless he messes up the war [with Iraq]. My hope.
BUTTNER: Your hope?!
RATNER: Well, I don’t want him to be reelected!
BUTTNER: Right, but I mean, "mess up the war," what do you mean by that?
RATNER: I mean, do something that will make Americans say, ‘maybe we shouldn’t have done this.’ You know, that kind of thing.
On the December 9, 2008, Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann charged that Bush administration members – whom he did not specify by name but presumably President Bush was meant to be included – deserve to be "in hell," as he cited a report that a post-war insurgency in Iraq using roadside bombs to attack U.S. troops had been predicted by the U.S. military before the invasion. During the show’s regular "Bushed!" segment, Olbermann lambasted the Bush administration:
So not only did the Bush administration and the Bush Pentagon ignore the prewar intel, that the WMD we sought to recover were not in Iraq, but the Bush administration and the Bush Pentagon ignored that if we removed Saddam Hussein an insurgency of some sort would develop in Iraq. And now we learn the Bush administration and the Bush Pentagon ignored the prewar intel that when an insurgency did develop, it would use roadside bombs to kill the troops we needlessly sent there.
I don’t know what, if any religion you belong to, but I suspect you’ll agree that people who ignored that many foretellings of preventable death should have a long time to think about it in hell!
Below is a complete transcript of the "Bushed!" segment from the December 9, 2008, Countdown show on MSNBC, with critical portions in bold:
Associated Press reporter Ben Feller needs a better copy editor to keep him from inventing history for Barack Obama. Near the end of a dispatch filed early Saturday morning on the president’s speech at Camp Lejeune on Iraq, Feller claimed:
The president who voted against the war as senator and ran against in his upstart White House bid said the Iraq conflict is one huge, painful lesson.
The vote authorizing President Bush to wage combat operations in Iraq was on October 11, 2002, and Obama wasn’t elected until 2004. Then Feller failed to note Obama’s "no" vote in the Senate on Bush’s successful surge of troops, although this may have been the most critical-sounding passage in his story:
He applauded the armed forces for its successes in Iraq, where U.S. deaths and violence in many parts of the country are significantly down. He never credited Bush's buildup of troops in 2007 as contributing to those improvements.
Feller opened with a flourish: "President Barack Obama consigned the Iraq war to history Friday, declaring he will end combat operations within 18 months and open a new era of diplomacy in the Middle East."
In Friday night stories on President Barack Obama's plan to reduce troops in Iraq by 90,000, neither the CBS Evening News nor NBC Nightly News mentioned a key factor raised by ABC reporters Jake Tapper and Martha Raddatz.
On ABC's World News, over video of Tapper standing at Camp Lejeune with the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Tapper noted: “Defense Secretary [Robert] Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen today credited President Bush's surge, opposed by then-Senator Obama, with helping to pave the way for today's announcement.” Viewers then heard a short soundbite from Gates: “It clearly has put us in a very different place in terms of where Iraq is.”
Up next on the February 27 newscast, Raddatz addressed the military's reaction, and shared her assessment:
I think if there hadn't been a surge, if there hadn't been such success, you wouldn't have seen those Marines clapping today. It would be a very different kind of speech.
On CBS’s Sunday Morning, correspondent Kimberly Dozier interviewed former C.I.A. agent Robert Baer, who argued that Iran: "...is empire by proxy. You get people -- it's like Communism. You get people to go along with you and your vision of the world. And they're saying, you know, ‘we can finally drive the United States out of the Middle East.’" Dozier added: "Unless, Baer says, we give President Ahmadinejad and his religious backers what they want."
Baer explained what Iran wants: "First of all, they want to be recognized as a major power in the Gulf...By the United States, by the Europeans. They want to be deferred to on big issues like Iraq and Afghanistan, issues that directly affect them." Dozier asked: "But in a sense, wouldn't the U.S., wouldn't Europe be rewarding them for bad behavior?" Baer replied: "Well, we would be. But does it matter? We have to be pragmatic about this."
Dozier went on to explain: "If we don't negotiate, Baer worries, the United States may find itself in yet another war we can't afford to fight." Baer exclaimed: "And do we really want to take down the most powerful country in the Middle East? I mean, we've just taken down Iraq, the second most powerful country, and it hasn't done a bit of good for anybody in the region." Dozier interjected: "It's a mess." Baer agreed: "It's a mess and it's going to remain a mess. Let's talk them back into the game of nations."
In Friday’s Washington Post, columnist Charles Krauthammer lamented how good news in Iraq seems to be no news in Washington, married as the liberal establishment is to a narrative that Iraq was a "fiasco" (courtesy of WaPo’s own Thomas Ricks). The elections weren’t totally ignored, but the anti-Bush narrative is uninterrupted. Krauthammer elaborated on the good news:
A fabulous bazaar of 14,400 candidates representing 400 parties participated, yielding results highly favorable to both Iraq and the United States.
Iraq moved away from religious sectarianism toward more secular nationalism. "All the parties that had the words 'Islamic' or 'Arab' in their names lost," noted Middle East expert Amir Taheri. "By contrast, all those that had the words 'Iraq' or 'Iraqi' gained."
Lost in the overall cratering in the stock market yesterday in reaction to Tim Geithner's awful "soiled the bed" TARP II presentation yesterday -- New York Times Company stock closed at $4.23. As of 3:30 PM today, the stock was up 12 cents.
An epochal media moment Monday night on ABC’s World News? In an upbeat story about the election in Iraq “with virtually no violence,” reporter Jim Sciutto raised the possibility the war is now over -- just in time to enable President Barack Obama to fulfill his promise to reduce troop levels -- as Sciutto asked a member of Iraq's parliament: “Is this the end of the war?” Mahmoud Othman cautiously predicted: “If the Iraqi leaders could get together and work together sincerely, yes, this could be the end of the war.”
Anchor Charles Gibson set up the story by asserting the Saturday elections “mark a major turning point in the Iraqi effort to move forward and the U.S. desire to pull back.” Sciutto began with a woman who agreed with his premise “Iraq is ready to move on without the Americans.” Sciutto described how “almost every day there's another handover from American to Iraqi authority” and that “it was Iraqi soldiers who kept polling stations remarkably safe” while check points “used to be manned by American soldiers. Today, they are almost exclusively Iraqi security forces.”
Matt Lauer started his live interview with President Barack Obama, from the White House during NBC's Super Bowl pre-game show, on a light note, “So let me ask you the question that's on everyone's mind right now: How's it going living with your mother-in-law?” And he wondered if Obama now gets to read a story to his daughters “at night, tuck them in bed?”
But the member of a press corps which usually showed more concern for the Bush administration's tactics than the terrorist threat they were meant to avert, empathized with the burden of the “pretty sobering stuff” the new President now learns about: “There are millions, tens of millions of people watching this broadcast right now Mr. President, and if they were to have access to the same information you have now on a daily basis, how much less sleep would we all be getting?” Lauer next pressed Obama as to whether “a substantial number” of service men and women in Iraq “will be home in time for next Super Bowl Sunday?”
Lauer asserted that the House passage of the stimulus bill without one Republican vote “disappointed a lot of people” and he painted a dire picture of the economy, treating the President as an expert economist and giving him an excuse for lack of a recovery. Lauer contended that after watching the Super Bowl, for many people “tomorrow morning...the worry's going to start again and they're going to worry about losing their jobs and their homes and putting their kids through school and making ends meet. How much worse is the economy going to get, Mr. President, before it gets better?”
On Monday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann delivered his latest "Special Comment," in which he called on President-elect Barack Obama to prosecute President Bush and administration members on a charge of torturing prisoners, and invoked extreme examples such as slavery leading to the Civil War, and the handling of Germany after World War I leading to the rise of Nazism and World War II, to illustrate that "this country has never succeeded in moving forward without first cleansing itself of its mistaken past," and that Obama must try to prosecute Bush for the sake of the country’s future. After quoting Bush’s recent words about the interrogation techniques he authorized against 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and statements by Obama expressing reluctance to pursue prosecutions against the Bush administration, Olbermann began invoking extreme examples from history.
This country has never succeeded in moving forward without first cleansing itself of its mistaken past. ... We compromised with slavery in the Declaration of Independence, and, fourscore and nine years later, we had buried 600,000 of our sons and brothers in a civil war. After that war’s ending, we compromised with the social restructuring and protection of the rights of minorities in the South. And a century later, we had not only had not resolved anything, but black leaders were still being assassinated in the cities of the South. We compromised with Germany in the reconstruction of Europe after the First World War. Nobody even arrested the German kaiser, let alone conducted war crimes trials then. And 19 years later, there was an indescribably more evil Germany and a more heartrending Second World War.
At a time when the United States is fighting two wars and faces a severe recession and huge budget deficits, the inauguration of Barack Obama as the nation's 44th president is estimated to cost $45 million. Bush's 2004 inauguration cost roughly $40 million. But though the figures are similar, there's been a major shift in the tone of coverage at the New York Times.
While the Times spent much of January 2005 making clear its disapproval of Bush extravagantly celebrating his inauguration during wartime, that concerned tone is conspicuously absent from the Times in January 2009, although the country is not only still at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also in danger of a deep recession. The difference? Perhaps because this time, it's the Times's favored candidate who is readying to assume the highest office.
A January 11, 2005 editorial on Bush's second inauguration, "Victor's Spoils," sniffed:
At the rate President Bush's supporters are giving money, his second inauguration threatens to stand out in the history books like the common folks' muddy boot prints on the White House furniture at Andrew Jackson's gala. The $40 million record for inaugural partying set four years ago for Mr. Bush is expected to be shattered this month....Ordinary citizens might have hoped that the overriding issue in Washington -- the perilous Iraq war, with its drain on the nation's blood and treasure -- would dictate restraint. But plans for the four-day extravaganza roll forward with nine celebratory balls being underwritten by the usual corporate and fat-cat supplicants in the political power mill. There's nothing new in Washington's triumphalist celebrations, festooned with price tags for access, but war usually mutes the singing and dancing. Not this year.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Pres.-elect Barack Obama and VP-elect Joe Biden meet in Washington January 14, 2009, after Biden and Graham's recent trip to Iraq and Afghanistan. Photo Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
On Wednesday’s The O’Reilly Factor, during the show’s "Talking Points Memo," FNC host Bill O’Reilly slammed the New York Times and NBC News, presumably referring to MSNBC hosts like Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, accusing them of having "damaged their own country in a disgusting display of propaganda and outright lies" by "convincing the world that the USA is a nation of torture, a country that sadistically inflicts pain on both the innocent and the guilty." O’Reilly further attacked the "insane call for fishing expeditions to find something that will lead to prosecuting the President and Vice President," and added that he "despises, despises those who, in the name of ideology, want to weaken the country, putting us all in danger," and charged that doing so would be "un-American."
O’Reilly then hosted a discussion with FNC military analyst retired Colonel David Hunt and, to argue the liberal point-of-view, FNC analyst Bob Beckel, and Hunt contended that he had used "coerced interrogation" in the past that had "saved guys' lives."
Democrats and Republicans have the class to allow a President to deliver his farewell address without having it immediately countered by a crass and petty rant from a political opponent trying to settle old scores while issuing cheap insults. Not MSNBC.
Seconds after President George W. Bush completed his speech Thursday evening, MSNBC's Countdown featured a diatribe from Chris Matthews ridiculing Bush for picking up, “almost in the way a hermit crab does,” some “scary” notions from the nefarious “neo-conservatives.”
The condescending Matthews raged:
He was a rich kid driving his father's car. He got to be President because of his father, let's face it, the same way he got into school and everything else, the same way he got his car probably. But the scary thing about Bush is somewhere he came to meet people like Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby and Paul Wolfowitz and Feith and the rest of them...
The scary thing about Bush is he picked up on -- almost in the way that a hermit crab does -- another identity in becoming President....He became this new scholar of freedom, and he's going to spend the rest of his life selling this stuff. This stuff cost the lives of 100,000 Iraqis, it cost the lives of 4,000 U.S. service people....
The idea that we have some brand new neo-conservative ideology of freedom that's going to bring peace over in that part of the world is not true, and he's still selling it, and that's the tragedy of the last eight years.
On CBS’s Sunday Morning, correspondent Thalia Assuras examined President Bush’s historical legacy: "On January 20th, 2001, George Walker Bush took the oath of office as the 43rd president of the United States. His presidency and the future, a blank slate...Before the Iraq war. Before Katrina swept ashore. Before the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression."
Assuras cited two historians in her report, both of whom labeled Bush one of the nation’s worst presidents. She first turned to historian Douglas Brinkley, who declared: "I think it's safe to say that President Bush is going to be seen as the very bottom-rung of American presidents...As a judicial historian looking at what's occurred on his watch, it is almost void of genuine accomplishment." The other historian Assuras included in her report was Joseph Ellis, who said of Bush: "I think that George Bush might very well be the worst president in American history...He's unusual. Most two-term presidents have a mixed record...Bush has nothing on the positive side, virtually nothing."
Following these Bush-bashing historical assessments, Assuras exclaimed: "And that's not a minority opinion. In a 2006 Siena College survey of 744 history professors, 82 percent rated President Bush below average or a failure. Last April, in an informal poll by George Mason University of 109 historians, Mr. Bush fared even worse; 98 percent considered him a failed president. Sixty-one percent judged him, as Ellis does, one of the worst in American history."
When historians look back in wonder at how a long-established publication like the New York Times could have declined from its virtual king-of-the-world status in mid-2002 to its Bush-deranged, 85%-devalued shadow of its former self, they will surely make a few stops at Maureen Dowd's twice-weekly, lost-in-another-world columns (the Dowd picture is from the Times's web site).
Today's offering from Dowd (HT Hot Air Headlines) is intended to be a final figurative kick in the shins at George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, something she admits to fantasizing about having done to the Vice President this week when she had opportunities.
But the Dowd diatribe really ends up as a self-portrayal of someone who deeply imbibed the kool-aid her paper dished out over the past seven years and is beyond ever letting go, and serves as a microcosm of what the Old Gray Lady has done to itself in that same timeframe:
On Thursday’s Newsroom program, CNN correspondent Jim Acosta indirectly compared the Obama family to the pregnant Virgin Mary and St. Joseph looking for a place to stay in Bethlehem during a report about the unavailability of the Blair House: “...[I]t’s still not clear why there wasn’t enough room at the inn for the Obamas. The 70,000 square foot complex is actually bigger than the White House. There are 119 rooms, 14 guest bedrooms, 35 bathrooms, four dining rooms, dry cleaning facilities, an exercise room, and a fully-equipped hair salon.” Acosta also played clips from two sympathetic liberals who bewailed the situation.
Acosta began his report by presenting the lack of accommodations at the presidential guest house as a “Washington mystery.” He then played his first clip from Allan Lichtman, a professor at American University who unsuccessfully ran in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in Maryland in 2006. The on-screen graphic described Lichtman, who ran on anti-war, pro-abortion platform in the primary, as merely a “presidential historian.”
Well, it seems that the folks at Vanity Fair realized that they won't have George W. Bush to kick around any more. So they decided to launch the journalistic equivalent of thermonuclear war against him in an attempt to get its shot at a "draft of history."
In a 14 web-page tome (the photo at the top right is at its beginning) that fancies itself an "oral history," the magazine hauls out every criticism, real or imagined, hurled at the president during the past eight years. It reminds everyone that the media's favorite stereotype of conservatives and Republicans is that they're dumb (I guess Ike's orchestration of D-Day was some kind of accident, and George W. Bush's MBA -- he is the first president to hold one -- was some kind of gift from Poppy).
Sadly, the magazine finds a few former administration officials to pile on. One of them likens Bush to Sarah Palin (that's supposed to be an insult). We're left with the long-discredited meme of Dick Cheney as puppet master and Bush as impotent since Katrina (then how did Bush get that Iraq Surge past everyone and make it stick anyway?).
All you really need to know to spare yourself a truly painful read is what is in the tease paragraph after the headline. Brace yourself:
Nearly two years after reporters such as NBC's Tom Brokaw derided President Bush's troop surge as "a folly" and suggested the war itself was a "lost cause," American troop deaths are at their lowest level since the Iraq war began in March 2003, and the death toll among Iraqi civilians is also down sharply in 2008.
So right on cue, Monday's New York Times reports that ABC, CBS and NBC have all pulled their full time reporters from Iraq. According to correspondent Brian Stelter, the lack of violence means the networks are less interested in the Iraq story: "Representatives for the networks emphasized that they would continue to cover the war and said the staff adjustments reflected the evolution of the conflict in Iraq from a story primarily about violence to one about reconstruction and politics."
On the Monday, December 22 World News, ABC host Charles Gibson took a moment to relay the latest milestone in good news from Iraq regarding how much violence has diminished in the country. Gibson: "From Iraq today, good news. Military authorities say violence is way down. A year ago, there were an average of 180 attacks a day. Last week, it was just 10. And the murder rate in Iraq last month was below pre-war levels for the first time."
Last week, Gibson similarly noted that the number of U.S. troops killed in combat in Iraq in December so far may signal that the month will turn out to "have the fewest U.S. casualties since the war began." Gibson, from the Thursday, December 18 World News: "Good news from Iraq today. There were no bombings reported anywhere in the country. Two U.S. troops have been killed in action so far this month. That puts December on a pace to have the fewest U.S. casualties since the war began."
Employees of McClatchy publishing in Iraq were in an unusually good mood recently. The occasion was the aftermath of the Iraqi journalist who tossed his shoes at President Bush at a press conference in Baghdad as you can see in these quotes from Inside Iraq, a blog for McClatchy journalists working in that country. The first quote was from McClatchy employee, "Laith," who was talking about his colleagues and the rest of the quotes were from commentors who may or may not be employed by McClatchy:
Some of the guys were happy and they were talking about the bravery of the journalist who threw his shoes at the American president. When I tried to explain my opinion, I was trying to tell the guys that I don't agree with the way the journalist behaved, but I was attacked by them. One of them said "come on Laith, Bush destroyed Iraq". Another said "he deserves more" while a third one said "he is an occupier." I tried to tell to tell they guys that this is an inslut for Maliki.
The "Shoe heard round the world" was an important symbolic event. I felt his action was appropriate and restrained considering the circumstances.
I applauded this act. I don't care that it is rude. Why are we concerned about etiquette when a country was destroyed? Did Bush ever apologize to the Iraqis for the hundreds of thousands of dead? Bush is an occupier, a clown pretending to be a hero, so enclosed in his own little self-certain world he probably was surprised an Iraqi could be that angry. I am not surprised. I am only surprised such a thing did not happen earlier.