Presidential insult removed at last...


April 11, 2003, 03:26 PM
From Yahoo! News (

Bush Doormat in Baghdad Hotel Dismantled

Fri Apr 11, 5:29 AM ET
By CHRIS TOMLINSON, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - There was a bit of unfinished business left over in Baghdad from the 1991 Gulf War. The U.S. Army has taken care of it.

At the Al-Rashid Hotel, President Bush the elder — father of the current American chief executive who ordered this year's invasion of Iraq — is a doormat no more.

U.S. soldiers visited the battered Al-Rashid on Thursday night wielding hammers and chisels, and dug out the intricate tile mosaic of the former president that was used for years as a state-sponsored insult.

In its place, they laid a portrait of Saddam Hussein.

"Everybody walked over it and wiped their feet on it," Lt. Col. Rick Schwartz, the battalion commander said. He left the Saddam portrait behind, on the ground for future use.

Taking shoes to the face is not exactly a compliment in any culture, but in the Arab world it's a particular slam. Pointing the soles of one's feet at someone is a grave insult.

So the notion of thousands of Iraqi feet trudging over the patrician features of George Herbert Walker Bush was particularly appealing to Saddam's regime, humiliated by Bush during the 1991 Gulf War to free Kuwait from Iraqi invaders.

Saddam personally picked the Al-Rashid for the insult to Bush senior. The hotel was heavily trafficked by foreign guests and the base of operations for journalists during the 1991 war — and the place where, on the night of the first American airstrike in January 1991, Arab guests huddled in the basement and shouted "Death to Bush."

The mosaic, an unflattering portrait of Bush with his teeth bared in a scowl, was installed later in 1991 right in the Al-Rashid's doorway complete with a caption in Arabic and English: "Bush is criminal."

The location made it almost impossible to avoid. And for years, it worked.

U.N. Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi stepped on the upper lip and part of the nose in 1997. Russian nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky trod upon the Adam's apple that same year after roundly condemning American aggression.

Former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter made a point of sidestepping it in 1998. As recently as November, chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix and International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohammed ElBaradei each trudged over a Bush shoulder.

On Thursday night, the Army forces destroying the mosaic chipped away until it was unrecognizable. They left behind thousands of little pieces in the concrete of the floor — as ravaged as the hotel itself, which is now uninhabitable.

"We did some remodeling," Schwartz said, referring to a battle that took place there when Iraqi snipers used the building to fire on U.S. forces.

Now, as people in Baghdad rush through the streets yelling "Bush! Bush!" and thrusting thumbs in the air, at the al-Rashid Hotel a decade-long insult has been removed — by a military commanded by a son who waged a second war on Iraq and insisted it wasn't personal.

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April 11, 2003, 03:49 PM
State sponsored insults.... :cuss:

April 11, 2003, 03:49 PM
Wow, I am always amazed with the differences in our cultures.

Don Gwinn
April 11, 2003, 07:19 PM
"Oh yes? Vell, look at what we have put on de floor! It is your President's face! We walk upon his eyeballs!"

"Oh, yeah? Well, now that we've kicked your butts, we'll just put a picture of YOUR President on the floor! How do you like that?"

"American Devils! Soon, we will acquire the power of the atom! You will tremble before our might! And when that day comes, we will not waste time conquering fools' gold like land or natural resources. Oh, no! We shall create a sidewalk consisting of nothing but a half-mile of your Presidents' portraits! That will teach you a lesson, Satan!"

"Oh, yeah? Well . . . ."

I think you get the idea. This could go on so long there'll be a picture of Chelsea Clinton in there.

April 11, 2003, 10:48 PM
Yeah! Our president can beat up your president!!:neener:

April 12, 2003, 03:11 AM
Personal vendetta or no, who wants to bet Jr. presents his pop with a soggy bowling ball bag if he can find the filling?

April 12, 2003, 04:47 AM
Cal - nope wouldn't be prudent - also wouldn't even fit with us conservative Anglican/Episcopalian types. If anything he'll present his dad with something like, oh say a picture of the post-SH government in action.

That being said, destruction of that particular piece of flooring undoubtedly DID send a VERY strong message to the Arab world in a way they wont soon forget.

The thing that keeps running through my mind, is whether historians a thousand or so years from now will see the same parallels with the Roman and later British empires we can see today in our own actions?

April 12, 2003, 10:08 AM
Anybody know the name of that company that makes the pads that go in the bottom of urinals? You know--the ones you can get logos and such printed on?:evil: :neener:

TFL Survivor

April 12, 2003, 10:35 AM
Yeah! Our president can beat up your president!!
One-on-one cage match. GWB or Saddam?

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