George W. Bush Visits The Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum

If you smell sulfur in the coliseum area today, it’s not another fertilizer plant fire. It’s the presence of former President George W. Bush. Bush is coming to the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum today at the invitation of Wake Forest University. Bush, who led the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq (which killed millions, destroyed a proud nation with a storied history, and prepared the foundation for further conflicts in the Middle East and the eventual rise of the ‘Islamic State’) doesn’t exactly fit into Wake Forest “Pro Humanitate” motto, but neither did Madeleine Albright or Colin Powell, two war criminals Wake brought to the LJVM in recent years.

George W. Bush is the antithesis of Lawrence Joel. Joel is the most decorated soldier in Winston-Salem’s history. He witnessed the horrors of the Vietnam War firsthand. George W. Bush is a silver spoon-raised draft dodger who used his dad’s political connections to join the Alabama Air National Guard instead of going off to Vietnam. (I wholeheartedly support draft dodgers who avoided Vietnam on principle). George W. Bush’s presence at the Lawrence Joel is an insult to Lawrence Joel.

The only positive thing I can say about George W. Bush is that his brand of imperialism was so blatant that everyone could see it. Under George W. Bush’s reign, the antiwar movement was vocal and active. It was as strong as it had been during the Vietnam War.

Here in Winston, a group that called itself Community For Peace protested the Afghan and Iraq wars on a weekly basis. The antiwar movement petered out gradually, then all at once between 2004-2008, as Democrats rallied around John Kerry and then Barak Obama. You remember Barak Obama, the leader elected to get us out of two wars (Afghanistan, Iraq) but instead got us into three more wars (Libya, Syria, Yemen).

Back to Bush. Wake Forest is giving free tickets to university faculty, staff, students and Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist employees. Who would want to pay hard-earned money to hear the wisdom of George W. Bush? He should be on trial at the Hague, confessing to his many crimes. Instead, he’s peddling his pathetic brand of leadership on Wake Forest’s dime. Sad.

I’ve got a shoe or two that I would like to personally donate to George W.

Below is an excerpt from the brave journalist and shoe thrower Muntadhar al-Zaidi.


The Story of My Shoe by Muntadhar al-Zaidi. Posted on September 17, 2009, at Muntadhar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi who threw his shoe at George Bush gave this speech on his recent release:

In the name of God, the most gracious and most merciful.

Here I am, free. But my country is still a prisoner of war.

Firstly, I give my thanks and my regards to everyone who stood beside me, whether inside my country, in the Islamic world, in the free world. There has been a lot of talk about the action and about the person who took it, and about the hero and the heroic act, and the symbol and the symbolic act.

But, simply, I answer: What compelled me to confront is the injustice that befell my people, and how the occupation wanted to humiliate my homeland by putting it under its boot.

And how it wanted to crush the skulls of (the homeland’s) sons under its boots, whether sheikhs, women, children or men. And during the past few years, more than a million martyrs fell by the bullets of the occupation and the country is now filled with more than 5 million orphans, a million widows and hundreds of thousands of maimed. And many millions of homeless because of displacement inside and outside the country.

We used to be a nation in which the Arab would share with the Turkman and the Kurd and the Assyrian and the Sabean and the Yazid his daily bread. And the Shiite would pray with the Sunni in one line. And the Muslim would celebrate with the Christian the birthday of Christ, may peace be upon him. And despite the fact that we shared hunger under sanctions for more than 10 years, for more than a decade.

Our patience and our solidarity did not make us forget the oppression. Until we were invaded by the illusion of liberation that some had. (The occupation) divided one brother from another, one neighbor from another, and the son from his uncle. It turned our homes into never-ending funeral tents. And our graveyards spread into parks and roadsides. It is a plague. It is the occupation that is killing us, that is violating the houses of worship and the sanctity of our homes and that is throwing thousands daily into makeshift prisons.

I am not a hero, and I admit that. But I have a point of view and I have a stance. It humiliated me to see my country humiliated. And to see my Baghdad burned. And my people being killed. Thousands of tragic pictures remained in my head, and this weighs on me every day and pushes me toward the righteous path, the path of confrontation, the path of rejecting injustice, deceit and duplicity. It deprived me of a good night’s sleep.”


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