See Dick Nod, Nouri, or, Colour Me Kubrick

by Hugh Fitzgerald (Aug. 2007)

As Bush videoconferences with his new best friend Nouri Al-Maliki, new echoes of Dr. Strangelove:

"Hello?... Nouri? Ah... I can't hear too well. But the picture's great. Do you suppose you could turn the music down just a little?... Oh-ho, that's much better... yeah... huh... yes... Fine, I can hear you now, Nouri... plain and coming through fine... I'm coming through fine, too, eh? And the picture? Can you see me waving? And Dick is waving too, Nouri, can you see that...he's right here beside me, and he's waving too... We're both waving... Good, then... well, then, as you say, we're all coming through fine... Good... Well, it's good that you're fine and... and I'm fine... I agree with you, it's great to be fine... a-ha-ha-ha-ha...

Now then, Nouri, you know how we've always talked about the possibility of something going wrong with that country of yours... Iraq, Nouri...... The country Iraq, Nouri, your country... Well now, what happened is... ah... well, you know, our people, Nouri, they're just a little funny on the subject...just a little funny in the head, and they don't always understand...just a little funny in the head... you know... just a little... funny. And, ah... they've gone and done a silly thing... Well, I'll tell you what they've done, Nouri. They've been protesting, Nouri....No, we have to let them, we don't have a choice....That's right, Nouri. No, really, they do have that right....Well, Nouri, I'm afraid they want us to stop supporting your government....Yes, Nouri, your government. They don't like your....No, Nouri, I don't think it is fair. I know you're trying....You don't like them, either, Nouri? I understand. I completely understand....Well, it's like this, Nouri. Some of them think that they don't see why our government should keep supporting your government. If you and the Sunnis...yes, Nouri, the Sunnis. You know...the other ones?  Ah...yes, I know it's none of their business. Yes...but they think it is, Nouri....

They think that everyone should use their new-found freedom....What freedom, Nouri? The elections, Nouri. Have you forgotten? The purple thumbs, Nouri? You haven't forgotten the purple thumbs?....And the Constitution. And the referendum on the Constitution. That doesn't matter? Oh, I think it does. We have a Constitution here too, Nouri, and it matters. You don't care about our Constitution? I don't care that you don't care, Nouri, it's important to us...Oh, you didn't mean it that way. Okay, sorry. But what about that freedom, for ordinary moms and dads, Nouri, the freedom, you know, the elections, the purple thumbs, everybody marching? We've all done so much to bring it about, haven't we Nouri? Your people, and my people, together? What's that Nouri? You don't care about the Sunnis? They have it coming to them? They did it to you for a thousand years and now it's their turn?

No, Nouri, that's not right. We are both men of faith, aren't we, Nouri? Don't we all worship the same God, Nouri? Just different routes to the exact same destination? No Nouri, I have faith too, just like you. Don't say that, Nouri, that's not nice.  Well, let me finish, Nouri... Let me finish, Nouri...Well listen, how do you think I feel about it?... Can you imagine how I feel about it, Nouri?... Don't you think I want ordinary moms and dads to have freedom just the way you do? Why do you think I'm calling you? Just to say hello?... Of course I like to speak to you!... Of course I like to say hello!... Not now, but anytime, Nouri. I'm just calling up to tell you something terrible is happening... It's a friendly call. Look, let me give you another wave. And Dick -- Dick's waving now too. We're both waving Nouri. Look at us. Both of us, both waving at you from here at the White House. Yes, I can see you are waving too. And the interpreter. Yes, he's waving too. And your bodyguards, yes I can see they are all waving. All of them. It's very nice, Nouri. I didn't mean to suggest you weren't nice, Nouri. Of course it's a friendly call... Listen, if it wasn't friendly... you probably wouldn't have even got it...

They will not be able to turn our policy around for at least another few months, Nouri...I am... I am positive, Nouri ... Listen, I've been all over this with your ambassador and with my generals.  It is not a trick... Well, I'll tell you. We'd like to give your folks a chance to make compromises, okay? ... That's right, Nouri. I think you should share power with the Sunnis. So you won't have to kill each other. What? You think they won't be able to kill you but you'll be able to wipe them out? You think they've miscalculated the new situation? That's not nice, Nouri. I don't think you should promise to do that, Nouri. Not all Sunnis deserve that, Nouri. What if we give you another hundred billion in mad money? Would that make you feel good, Nouri? Would that make you willing to give the Sunnis just a little something?  And a little something for the Kurds, too? Or could we just give it to them directly? Is that all right, Nouri? Would that be....You don't have to get mad, Nouri. I am not insulting the Shi'as, Nouri... No, not at all. I know you've suffered terribly, Nouri. We've all suffered, Nouri. We're all suffering because of Iraq, Nouri.

Listen, Nouri, I mean i-i-i-if you're unable to come to an agreement, then... I'd say that, ah... well, ah... we're just gonna have to stop helping you, Nouri....I know you need them, Nouri.. But they're our boys...and our planes, and our equipment. And our money.... C'mon Nouri, be reasonable. Dick, right now, is nodding, Nouri. Look at him nod. See Dick nod, Nouri. He agrees with me, Nouri. Everyone around this table is nodding, Nouri. We all agree. No, Nouri we don't owe it to you... No, Nouri, I don't agree with that columnist who wrote that "we broke it and we have to fix it." You know, Nouri, how broken it was before we came. Yes, you do. You know who persuaded us that everything would be fine if we got rid of Saddam Hussein, don't you Nouri? Nouri, do you know that another Iraqi who knew you in Syria reported last week that you've been boasting about how you supposedly tricked us into getting rid of Saddam? You never heard of that before, Nouri? You don't know the fellow at all? But he always was the biggest liar you ever knew? Oh, Nouri, don't tell me that. Don't try to trick me, Nouri. I wasn't born yesterday, Nouri. I'm the President of the United States. I'm the most powerful man in the world. And Dick, right here, he is Vice-President. So that means he's the second most powerful man in the world. Don't try to tell us that we have to stay longer or give you planes and tanks and night-vision goggles, Nouri. Don't tell us that. Don't tell us it is something we have to give you, or else...

Stop talking like that, Nouri. That's not nice....Of course we won't leave till you tell us we can go. No, not in Iraq either. Promise....Okay, can you calm down? Did you calm down? ....Yes, I know it's a religion of peace, Nouri....Yes, and tolerance. Peace and tolerance, Nouri...Both together, yes, Nouri....No, I won't forget that for a minute, Nouri. I promise. Not for one minute.... Okay, are you calm, now? Nouri, can you please calm down? ....All right, we'll listen now. Who should we call?... Who should we call, Nouri? The sheiks at Al-Azhar? Al-Qaradawi...? Someone in Saudi Arabia? Nouri, are you definitely a Shi'a?... Why do I ask? Well, Nouri, I think it matters, doesn't it? Not sure, but I think you guys have some differences, isn't that right, Nouri? I just wanted to be sure. You know, in case you guys in Iraq decided you wanted to fit in with the other Arabs and become Sunnis...Wouldn't that just make things easier for everyone, Nouri? For you, for me, for Dick, for the Arab League, wouldn't it? ...You tell me, Nouri. You tell me what I should think you think...whatever you say goes...No, Nouri, I am not making fun of you. Believe me, Nouri....Nouri, listen, in these things you're the boss, okay?...Oh, yes I should have known.

Right, our new ambassador in Iraq, Crocker, he's on your side, isn't he? And General Petraeus, you know he's with you... Right, Nouri, hearts. And minds. Yes, you're right. He is the one who said that insurgencies last on average ten years. And this one is not even five years old. Yes, you are right, Nouri. Your arithmetic is right. So you should have five more years. Yes, I do know about algebra, Nouri, Yes, I know the Arabs invented mathematics. Yes, and optics too, Nouri.. Optics, I said optics, Nouri. Yes, and all of science. It's all in the Qur'an. I know about the greatness of the Arabs, Nouri. I just forgot. Sorry. I should have known....No, Nouri, I'm not being sarcastic....No, Nouri....Nouri, does that mean all Shias over there are just like the ones in Iran? No? So you're different. You wear ties and they don't. What's that got to do with it? Oh, I see. That's good, Nouri. That's very good. Glad to hear it, Nouri. That takes a big weight off my mind. And Dick, too, he's smiling now. Can you see Dick smile? It's a big weight off Dick's mind, too, Nouri. He's glad you are different Shias from those other Shias in Iran. Those guys are mean. Glad to know you're different. We didn't realize about the tie thingy.....No, I'm sorry, Nouri, I didn't mean any disrespect. Just trying to figure it all out.....Yes Nouri, it is complicated for us here....

Why does it matter? Well, you tell me, Nouri. Does it matter? Should it matter, Nouri? Should I think it should matter? I mean, do you get arrested and maybe executed if you are a former Ba'athist or a Sunni or just if you are a former Sunni Ba'athist?...What's that, Nouri? Oh, it doesn't matter? Not the least little bit? Not even the teeniest little bit? Same punishment? Gosh, Nouri, you guys really take it seriously, don't you?... No, Nouri, I didn't mean that. No, Nouri, I didn't mean to insult you. It's just that I didn't realize.... No, It's fine...Yes, Nouri. Yes, I apologize. I sincerely apologize. I won't say that again....No, Nouri, I'll never do it again...How sincerely, Nouri? Very sincerely, that's how sincerely...Is that alright?... No, the Vice-President won't either. No, I can guarantee it, Nouri. I promise, Nouri...Yes, Nouri, I'll have him call you on the video hook-up later and you can tell him...Of course not...Yes, I know how you feel... No one in the American government will ever ever make fun....uh, you, sorry, your picture faded away for a minute there... Here you are again. See you just fine now. Here, I'll wave to you, Nouri. Wave back. That's right.

You look good, Nouri. Been jogging? You don't jog? It's too dangerous in the Green Zone right now? Oh, I see. Sorry, I had no idea. So what's the best person to call about getting this whole compromise thing going with your Sunni brothers, Nouri...? They're not your brothers? You hate them, Nouri? They have to call you and beg to be allowed to stay in Iraq, Nouri? They have to apologize for everything they've done in the last 1350 years. And especially since modern Iraq was founded? Uh-huh... Listen, do you happen to have the phone number on you of Moqtada al-Sadr?... Whe-ah, what? I see, just ask for Baghdad information... Ah-ah-eh-uhm-hm... I'm sorry, too, Nouri... I'm very sorry... All right, you're sorrier than I am, but I am as sorry as well... I am as sorry as you are, Nouri! Don't say that you're more sorry than I am, because I'm capable of being just as sorry as you are... So we're  both sorry, all right?... All right."

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