8.19.2004

Iraqi Olympians

A post at Metafilter points out that
George W. Bush's latest TV ads juxtapose Iraq's and Afghanistan's flags with footage of Olympic sport, proclaiming, "At this Olympics, there will be two more free nations — and two fewer terrorist regimes." At a campaign stop, Bush said, "just the image of the Iraqi soccer team playing in this Olympics. It's fantastic, isn't it? What a fantastic thought."
That Iraqis are competing is, of course, a wonderful thing, but this is still little more than Bush patting himself on the back for something that is really unrelated to anything he is trying to sputter on about.

Iraq has always tried to field a soccer team but the last time they qualified for the Olympics was 1988 (ironically the US soccer team didn't qualify for Athens) so the fact that they're there isn't a fantastic reflection on freedom and democracy, it's just sports. They did well enough to qualify, good job.

Of course Uday Hussein was a sports fanatic who ran his own little empire out of the Iraqi Olympic headquarters and used to beat and torture atheletes, but they still qualified in 1988 in spite of that. There's your "fantastic sight", atheletes qualifying for the Olympics in spite of being tortured, I mean that takes guts.

Everyone on the Iraqi soccer team is upset that they're being used as another Bush mission accomplished banner, some going so far as to call him a criminal and murderer and saying that if they weren't playing soccer they'd be fighting in the resistance.



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