I’ve heard from critics before, “I shouldn’t have to read your blog to understand your cartoon.” They’re right. I don’t write this blog to explain my cartoons. If someone doesn’t get my cartoon, it’s either because they don’t know the background to the issue, they’re slow, or I failed. I will usually take the blame, accept failure, and live to fight another day. I cringe when someone, even a fan, makes a comment like, “Go read Clay’s blog to understand today’s cartoon” Ugh.
I write the blog because I usually have more to say and it’s fun. I don’t write the blog to explain the cartoons. If you don’t “get” that day’s cartoon before you read the blog, then I suck that day.
Today though, you may need to read the blog if you don’t get this cartoon because maybe I do suck today. I say this because one of my proofreaders didn’t get it. But I was just glad she knew the caricatures were Bush and Putin.
You see, this is referencing something that happened a few days ago and something else that happened over 20 years ago. So, you may not remember that. After I reminded my proofer, she said this cartoon works…but you still have to get it.
In 2001, shortly after the Supreme Court elected George W. Bush as president, he made his first trip to Europe which included a summit with Vladimir Putin in Slovenia. In case you’re a Republican, Slovenia is a nation in Europe. That’s exactly what White House staffers said to Bush just before he boarded Air Force One.
No one knew what to expect from the first meeting between the two new presidents as Putin had assumed office just the year before. What’s really fucked up about this is at that time, Putin may have won his office with more legitimacy than the American president had. But Bush and Putin got along swimmingly. They became best buddies in no time and Bush even invited Putin to visit his ranch in Texas. Bush said later, ” I was able to get a sense of his soul.” Yeah, no you didn’t.
At a press conference after the summit, he went back to the “soul” line and said, “I looked the man in the eye. I found him very straightforward and trustworthy – I was able to get a sense of his soul.” Condoleeza Rice, Bush’s future Secretary of State, later wrote that Bush’s phrasing had been a serious mistake. “We were never able to escape the perception that the president had naïvely trusted Putin and then been betrayed.”
Well, Condi, you were never able to escape that perception because Bush had naïvely trusted Putin and the world was betrayed. Fooling and manipulating leaders has been a trademark of Vladimir Putin’s. Knowing German Chancellor Angela Merkel had a fear of large scary-looking dogs from a childhood incident, Putin brought a large labrador, Konni, to one of their meetings in order to intimidate her. Whether that’s a negotiating tactic or just for his own amusement, Vladimir Putin is a sick psychopathic bastard. He also once told Bush that Konni was “bigger, tougher, stronger, faster, meaner” than Barney, Bush’s Scottish Terrier. Putin may as well have told Bush that Konni could eat Barney.
During all eight years of the Bush administration, we thought he was the dumbest fucker who had ever been president. And, we were probably right up to that point. If Putin could manipulate Bush and someone as intelligent as Merkel, Donald Trump was orange putty in his hands. We would have done better with Barney.
A couple years later, George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq over a bunch of claims that still haven’t been proven to be true. The Bush administration lied us into a war. The bad thing is, a lot of us knew they were lying. It was an unjust and unprovoked invasion. And how bad did Trump have to be for us to miss George W. Bush? We nearly forgot why we hated George W. Bush. But last week, Bush gave a lecture and reminded us why we hated him so much.
During a speech in Dallas, Bush condemned the “decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq.” Oops. He corrected himself and said, ” I mean, of Ukraine.” He then laughed and blamed his age for the “Freudian Slip,” saying, “I’m 75.”
I don’t buy that excuse because he wasn’t 75 when he confused Iraq for Afghanistan and invaded the wrong country.
The entire room laughed and everyone had a good time at the expense of the over 3,000 dead and over 32,000 wounded Americans, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, countless massacres of civilians, the forcible displacement of millions of people, and the saturation of the country with toxic and radioactive munitions that continue to cause congenital birth defects, cancer, and all manner of other maladies nearly two decades after the launch of an unprovoked invasion.
These wholly unjustified and brutal invasions decided by a single person need to stop.
It was an unprovoked invasion that destroyed Iraq, ousted the leadership, and replaced it with U.S. hand-picked Iraqi leaders. It’s the exact same thing Putin and Russia are trying to do in Ukraine.
The war in Iraq was a war crime and George W. Bush is a war criminal, just like Vladimir Putin. And now, George W. Bush has finally admitted he’s a war criminal.
Bush lamented the “absence of checks and balances” in the invasion of Ukraine while ignoring the “absence of checks and balances” in our invasion of Iraq. In a world of checks and balances, Bush and Putin would be sharing a jail cell at the Hague.
And throw in Dick Cheney too.
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