The British Prime Minister Tony Blair is visiting the White House and giving a joint press conference with the President. They both speak very passionately about the defense of freedom and liberty, the right to live free of terror, both in the US and the UK and across the world, especially in Iraq. Tony Blair always comes over as a conviction politician but the George Bush is famed for appearing less serious and convincing. Tony Blair gave such an eloquent heartfelt speech at one point George Bush joked about how he had meant to say it like that. I felt that Bush did speak convincingly and from the heart he wasn’t using the ‘sophisticated’ language of Blair but the passion and conviction was clear. They seemed to genuinely like each other and enjoy each others performance. The headlines were made by Bush admitting some mistakes and saying he regretted using ‘less sophisticated’ language in the past like ‘bring it on’ and ‘dead or alive’ Blair saying he regretted some aspects of the ‘de-Bathification’ of Iraq.
Well its a right hassle getting into a press conference like this. We were there for the strict security etc 4 hours before….. there is an awful lot of hanging about and then…….. every one is roped into a position were you have to wait some more. Its interesting to see political theatre in the flesh as it were but Im glad I don’t do only this………………. its so hard to shoot an interesting creative image from a fixed position at the back. Not because of the subject but because of where you have to be in relationship to it……. always the roped off bit at the back for TV crews and photographers. Guys who do this all day everyday have got into using remote cameras on radio controlled slave units to get more interesting pictures from closer angles as they are allowed to pre-position cameras but not be closer themselves. Its frustrating not to be able to do it better but its great to have a peek inside the White House.
[ 17 ] comments
- You are fortunate to be there and watch a piece of history. I totally support Bush and Blair and the war, however I was disappointed with their speeches. Over the radio they sounded as if they lacked conviction and passion (probably weary from everything). I hate the politically correct nature of everything today. This bleeds over into speeches with all the sugar coating language. Bush is at his best when he has convition and passion. It was severely lacking in this speech. Oh… and great image!
Paxton Prints @ May 27, 2006, 6:01 pm
- May be its just being there…..but…to me.. Bush sounded more passionate than I had expected….the regrets answer dominated coverage and was different from the overall atmosphere of the main speech….. and was clearly down beat…….mind you NPR and others said Blair was looking tired and drawn….again I just did’nt agree…. I thought he was pretty chipper and looked good….(especially when you consider he had just zapped back from Iraq he is over 50 and has had the responsibility of high office for nearly 10 years) Hey, This stuff is in the eye of the beholder I guess…….thanx PP for looking and commenting cheers JC
jez @ May 27, 2006, 6:52 pm
- Should both be charged with crimes against humanity. Any notion that their incursion into Iraq/Afghanistan is anything other than the murderous drum beat of imperialism is laughable. Don’t be fooled by passionate speeches from politicians – least of all Bush and Blair. We’ve heard it all before. ‘War on terror’? Oh Perleeeze. ‘The defense of freedom and liberty’? Is that a joke? It’s oil, baby. Plain and simple. Good old geopolitics and oil.
kathy @ May 29, 2006, 7:51 pm
- Geopolitics is the realm of politicians of course but as a mere individual having witnessed the slaughter of ethnic cleansing and the rise of old style nationalism / fascism in the Balkans, I for one seriously supported the American intervention to protect the muslim population of that region……. and now in Afghanistan I hope that American, British, Canadian and other European soldiers can bring some chance of education and human rights to the young women of Afghanistan…. even in Iraq I tend to think of the trade unionists, the democrats and the women’s rights campaigners who would be the first to be killed if coalition forces were to abandon Iraq now. Even if you were against the initial overthrow of Saddam, it seems a shame not to try and support a try at democracy now, after all 85% of Iraqis voted, thats a remarkable number who risked their lives to participate in democracy.
jez @ May 29, 2006, 11:34 pm
- Sorry to bang on…but you’d do well to read some of these articles: http://www.zmag.org/chomskyarticles.htm Mr Chomsky too believes in democracy as you do, but without the illusions and gullibility. K.
Kathy @ May 30, 2006, 5:34 pm
- Hey Kathy, I may not fully understand the political motives for liberating Afghanistan and Iraq, but it doesn’t seem mathmatically possible that America is prospering from any oil kickbacks. The cost of the war just doesn’t allow it (& that’s just the $ let alone the lives). As for war crimes, even if there have been a few failures in the process of the liberation, you can’t compare them to the years of persecution and oppression that these people have been subjected to by their own. Even now it seems that more Iraqis are dying at the hands of Iraqis than the U.S and UK troops are suffering. So whether we like the government we have or not, surely it’s better to be doing something to try and establish peace in these countries than to sit around and wait for our flawless government to form while our enemies become stronger and more innocent people die… even if we do have to swallow the fact that a few fatcats get a little fatter in the process?
Matt @ June 1, 2006, 2:16 am
- Matt, your use of the term ‘liberation’ needs to be qualified. The US and the coalition countries would never do anything as altruistic as real liberation of oppressed peoples. Imperial powers never do. Especially at such astronomical cost. Such a word as ‘liberation’ is a misnomer in this case. True liberation of an oppressed population is not really on their agenda per se. You must see that. Saddam was a murderous brute, yes. And the west certainly knew that for years and years. They kept him there and traded arms with him because it suited their strategic (and oil) needs. No ‘liberation’ of Iraq was thought necessary back then, despite his bloody viciousness. Besides, if you remember, the initial reason to invade this time was not one of ‘liberation’ but to dismantle his weapons of mass destruction, of which it was discovered, suprise suprise, he had none. Anyway, I digress. Re: Iraq/Oil. This is a complex issue but certainly the true driving force of invasion. For starters read this: http://www.fpif.org/cgaa/talkingpoints/0209oil.html this: http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/36463/ and this: http://ist-socrates.berkeley.edu/~pdscott/iraq.html And Noam Chomsky on Iraq Oil: ‘The U.S. invaded Iraq because it has enormous oil resources, mostly untapped, and it’s right in the heart of the world’s energy system. Which means that if the U.S. manages to control Iraq, it extends enormously its strategic power, what Zbigniew Brzezinski calls its critical leverage over Europe and Asia. That’s a major reason for controlling the oil resources — it gives you strategic power. Even if you’re on renewable energy you want to do that. So that’s the reason for invading Iraq, the fundamental reason.’
kathy @ June 1, 2006, 7:30 am
- A political debate on a photoblog!
Paxton Prints @ June 3, 2006, 2:55 pm
- I can understand a bit of an economical kickback as motivation for a country to take humanitarian action since that’s just the way the world works, but it does seem awfully wieghed in favor of the U.S if, according to your suggested reading, the U.S is going to control between 62% & 80% of Iraq’s oil. Conservatively that’s roughly $7,000,000,000,000 in value (if I did the math right). On the other hand, I’d prefer for the U.S to have control of global oil over numerous other countries, but sharing the love a little would be good too. Hey, if only Rwanda had a valuable national product some lives could have been spared there as well.
Matt @ June 7, 2006, 11:33 am
- sorry Ive been out of town now Im back near a wi fi Ive just gotta reply to Kathy! Those quotes by Noam Chomsky are interesting conjecture on his part. They are his world view not an argument in themselves. They form part of the position that was articulated by him and others prior to the war to overthrow Saddam. They were in my view untrue conjecture at that time not supported by facts. They did at least have relevance at the time in attempting to make a position against overthrowing Saddam. In my opinion they have no relevance at all to the current situation. As they remain statements attempting to undermine US motives for undertaking the military assault on the Saddam dictatorship in the first place. This assault was successfully completed some time ago. What remains now is completely different situation a costly occupation in support of a fragile democracy needing protection from a fanatical insurgency. Noam Chomsky takes positions based on his traditional formulation that he then applies to the world. Like John Pilger who also developed his anti-American grand positions during the Vietnam war then applies exactly the same formula to the US intervention in the Balkans, it completely over looks reality. In the Balkans the US intervened and saved thousands of Muslim lives. The Clinton administration felt they could not continue to look away after 20,000 men were slaughtered in three days in Srebenica. That was the last of the huge massacres by Serb forces. US troops on the ground ended widespread ethnic cleansing and slaughter. Yet some on the ‘left’ continued to paint that intervention as US imperialism not as the timely humanitarian action I saw with my own eyes. Its more helpful, in my view, to look at reality and base your thinking on what is actually happening . Even the UN recognized the difference between the proposed war; the actual war; then the post war occupation aimed at building a functioning democracy. The UN moved from being anti the war to understanding it had been fought and won. They had not managed to stop it. So they then recognized things had changed, they had to move on. They then set up a base in Baghdad at that point to help build a new democratic Iraq. Weirdly, most ‘antiwar’ liberals remained in full cry as if nothing had happened. They had primarily objected to any military action as: ‘millions would die’ but they had stated (largely as a semantic throat clearing exercise) they were also against Saddam. But when Saddam was removed without the massively high death toll that they had predicted they were not able to share in the joy most of Iraq felt. Instead they pretended it had still been been a huge slaughter and then really switched emphasis to calling it an ‘illegal war’, as if that had been their primary motivation all along. Even as a democracy was being set up they did not modify their statements to fit the new reality. They were ‘against the war’. Even as 85% of Iraq’s population risked their lives to vote. Most western liberal types just maintained the same position as if Saddam had not been removed; they were ‘against the war’. This is a dishonest position its not taking stock of Iraq as it now is. Clearly to be against the war prior to its commencement is to favor leaving Saddam in power and to favor the Status Quo, which is one thing. Its quite another to call for a withdrawal of US forces when they have destroyed the countries previous dictatorship and there is potentially a civil war and actually a vicious insurgency with its primary target is the civilian population of Iraq. Now people who are “Against the war’ their objection is clearly at this stage is to a fledgling democracy supported and protected by western soldiers. The other charge you here less of now is that it is purely a ‘War for Oil’ as if all this were done solely for economic advantage. The reality is of course this war waged primarily for international security has cost the USA billions. All of the mistakes and unpreparedness of American/Coalition forces in rebuilding and the fuel of international objection helped the non existent insurgency to start up and have the cover of legitimacy. Sadly the UN had turned down US offers of protection preferring their own imagined security and separateness from the coalition, of course this led to the complete capitulation of the UN at the first insurgent strike, the UN pulled out after the tragic and disgusting bombing of their HQ. That bombing helped to invigorate the insurgents they thought they could smell victory as the UN ran out, certainly they could hear the liberal clamor ‘against the war’. Urged on by UN capitulation and Western liberals the disgusting forces of fear, violence, extremism and ignorance began to destroy the hope of an easy transition to a modern democratic Iraq. Im of the opinion that people who maintain the position that they are ‘against the war’ clearly don’t care two hoots about the Iraqis or are at least not considering them, the 85% who voted that is. Western liberals don’t even bother to clarify their position to now being against the newly democratically elected but fragile US occupation supported government of Iraq. They just call for ‘a pull out’ an ‘end to the war’, which of course would only be an end to the US/Coalition engagement and a beginning to a true civil war. Clearly the first to die would be the secular democrats, the trade unionists the women’s rights activists and all other people who are risking all to represent the forces of openness, decency and modernity. It defies logic that this could be the desired outcome for anyone who thinks of them self as internationalist or liberal in anyway. How can that be the position of people on the left in the West? Clearly, they can only take that position if they indulge their passion for anti-americanism and just completely ignore what is good for ordinary people on the ground in Iraq or indeed what they want. A precipitative pull out would of course be easier for the long suffering US military but in my experience although they truly know the cost of this continued deployment they appear on this issue very stoic and noble. By far the majority of them seem to be in favor of ‘completing the mission’. They want some form of justice, decency, ‘freedom from fear’ and of course importantly some form of democracy to prevail in Iraq before they leave en masse .
jez @ June 21, 2006, 11:44 am
- Oh dear. You know better than Chomsky!
Kathy @ August 16, 2006, 7:35 pm
- Oh nice “Beavis & Butthead”
rollinger @ September 1, 2006, 9:42 am
- “Okay..this is how the British do a karate chop”. Mr T Blair. It’s amazing how realistic cardboard cut outs can look. Two Comander in Chiefs and two complete arseholes. Nice pic though of two wooden posts. Er…occupation not going too well in Iraqistan eh….those bloody arabs… they just don’t know how to role over and die properly. And why do they shoot back? Maybe they resent being occupied and killed Mr Commander in Chief.
steve forrest @ November 15, 2006, 9:21 am
Cyrus Stevens @ April 21, 2008, 2:04 am
- Wow, words took over the photo. Thanks for the reading.
- Thats certainly true on these Blair Bush pics…….. :-/
Jezblog London @ November 9, 2010, 8:36 am