Saturday, May 17, 2008

"...this burdensome guy who will be leaving soon"

Humiliation from Egypt:

Egypt's state-owned press opened fire Saturday on U.S. President George W. Bush as he arrived for talks with regional leaders at the conclusion of a five-day Mideast tour.

The newspapers, whose management are all appointed by the government, criticized Mr. Bush's speech Thursday in front of the Israeli Knesset for being overly supportive of the Israelis and not mentioning the Palestinians' plight.

"The Torah-inspired speech of Bush raised question marks over the credibility of the U.S. role in the Middle East," wrote Mursi Atallah, the publisher of Al-Ahram, the flagship daily of the state-owned press. "Bush aims to do nothing but appeasing Israel."

Mr. Bush's tour, which included stops in Israel and Saudi Arabia, represents another effort to push Mideast peace talks forward as his time in office winds down.

In his speech marking the 60th anniversary of Israel's founding, Mr. Bush reiterated the U.S.'s close ties to its regional ally, and dismissed the notion that the Jewish state should have to negotiate with its armed adversaries.

A front page editorial in Al-Gomhouria, another Egyptian state-owned daily, described Mr. Bush as "a failed president who delivers nothing but a lousy speech."

Akhbar Al-Youm also on Saturday published a picture of Mr. Bush hugging Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and captioned it "lovers."

The paper also ran a front page cartoon showing an Egyptian peasant consoling President Hosni Mubarak for having to meet with "this burdensome guy who will be leaving soon," in reference to Mr. Bush.

An extra special case of stupid for you:

A soldier used the Quran -- Islam's holy book -- for target practice, forcing the chief U.S. commander in Baghdad to issue a formal apology on Saturday.

Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad, apologized to leaders in Radhwaniya, in the western outskirts of Baghdad, for the staff sergeant who was a sniper section leader assigned to the headquarters of the 64th Armored Regiment. He also read a letter of apology by the shooter.

It was the first time the incident -- which tested the relationship between U.S.-backed Sunni militiamen and the military -- was made public since it was discovered May 11.

"I come before you here seeking your forgiveness," Hammond said to tribal leaders and others at the apology ceremony. "In the most humble manner I look in your eyes today and I say please forgive me and my soldiers."

Another military official kissed a Quran and presented is as "a humble gift" to the tribal leaders.

The soldier, whose name was not released, shot at a Quran on May 9, villagers said. The Quran used in the incident was discovered two days later, according to the military.

Hammond also read from the shooter's letter: "I sincerely hope that my actions have not diminished the partnership that our two nations have developed together. ... My actions were shortsighted, very reckless and irresponsible, but in my heart [the actions] were not malicious."

Copies of the pictures of the Quran obtained by CNN show multiple bullet holes and an expletive scrawled on one of its pages.

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