Saturday, June 26, 2004

Ireland needs tanks to protect Bush?

From the LATimes:

The stopover was Bush's first visit to Ireland, which generally greets U.S. presidents effusively, remembering the generations of Irish who fled famine and poverty to make new lives in the United States. Such visits have usually generated heartwarming photos of presidents visiting ancestral homes or sipping beer with the locals.

But Bush is not expected to be seen in a pub during the trip, and not just because he doesn't drink. The Irish government deployed 2,000 troops and 4,000 police to lock down access to Shannon airport and nearby Dromoland Castle, the medieval fortress and exclusive golf resort in western Ireland where Bush spent the night and will meet today with EU leaders.


Local newspapers ran pictures of long lines of tanks rolling down Irish roads toward Shannon, where Bush touched down at 8 p.m. Friday. News reports described the security operation as the largest in the country's history.

Thousands of protesters set up a camp outside the security cordon around Shannon, with shops donating food and passing vehicles honking in solidarity. Naval vessels patrolled the nearby Shannon estuary, arresting three would-be protesters hoping to make their views known from offshore.

All of that was invisible to Bush.


"The Irish — devotees of Kennedy, skeptical admirers of Reagan, rapturous cheerleaders for Clinton — have fallen out of love with the American presidency," Stefanie Marsh wrote in a Times of London commentary. "In Ireland, an American president has for the first time become an overwhelming figure of hate."

So the Potemkinization continues, with minions going to any lengths to insure that Our Leader doesn't have to see how universally hate he is (and is making the rest of us.)


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