Thursday, August 26, 2004

Bush and the Olympics

Bush just can't help but alienate people. For someone who everybody agreed would be a more affable person to have a beer with than Gore, Bush simply has a knack for pissing everyone off.

Rather than watching and enjoying the Olympics like normal Americans, the Bush campaign has decided to violate the law and try to divert the goodwill of the games to their own soulless mission. An act of Congress, last revised in 1999, grants the USOC exclusive rights to such terms as "Olympic," derivatives such as "Olympiad" and the five interlocking rings. It also specifically says the organization "shall be nonpolitical and may not promote the candidacy of an individual seeking public office." The U.S. Olympic Committee has asked the campaign nicely to stop violating the law, but Bush has stiff-armed them.

Perhaps even more outrageously, the Bush campaign has used the Iraqi soccer team in their advertisements, apparently on the theory that Bush is the conqueror, and will use his unwilling subjects as slaves to his ambition.

One of Bush's soccer-playing subjects asks a question: "How will he meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women? He has committed so many crimes." The coach points out that his problems are not with the American people - instead, "They are with what America has done in Iraq: destroy everything. The American army has killed so many people in Iraq. What is freedom when I go to the [national] stadium and there are shootings on the road?"

If the Olympics are making you feel proud and jingoistic, go read the article in that leftist rag, Sports Illustrated:
"I want the violence and the war to go away from the city," says Sadir, 21. "We don't wish for the presence of Americans in our country. We want them to go away."

Manajid, 22, who nearly scored his own goal with a driven header on Wednesday, hails from the city of Fallujah. He says coalition forces killed Manajid's cousin, Omar Jabbar al-Aziz, who was fighting as an insurgent, and several of his friends. In fact, Manajid says, if he were not playing soccer he would "for sure" be fighting as part of the resistance.

"I want to defend my home. If a stranger invades America and the people resist, does that mean they are terrorists?" Manajid says. "Everyone [in Fallujah] has been labeled a terrorist. These are all lies. Fallujah people are some of the best people in Iraq."

Everyone agrees that Iraq's soccer team is one of the Olympics' most remarkable stories. If the Iraqis beat Australia on Saturday -- which is entirely possible, given their performance so far -- they would reach the semifinals. Three of the four semifinalists will earn medals, a prospect that seemed unthinkable for Iraq before this tournament.

When the Games are over, though, Coach Hamad says, they will have to return home to a place where they fear walking the streets. "The war is not secure," says Hamad, 43. "Many people hate America now. The Americans have lost many people around the world--and that is what is happening in America also."

Mission accomplished, George?


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