Wow. A little nuts. Every once in a while an event takes place that makes you step back and examine your surroundings, your routine, your life. That event, for me, is going to be tomorrow as George Bush lays his filthy paws on the unsoiled soil of Israel. This will be the President's first visit to the Holy Land, despite his administration's obsession with the lovely Middle East. It's strange to think that his Secretary of State, Condomn-Liza Rice (which "sounds like a Mexican dish, I wanna eat ya!"), has been here so much she's about to sign up for a temporary visa. Now, after finding out what a presidential visit entails, I'm glad this will be the one and hopefully only visit of said "president," if he deserves that title.
Here's the best article I've found for the fun-facts on Bush's visit: Hyperlink to site.
Let me summarize from that article, which pretty much confirms what I've read from the news, but just gives over the juicy details. Here's the good stuff:
-Motorists and city residents should expect massive traffic congestion and road lock-down in central Jerusalem starting Wednesday morning for the three-day visit of US President George W. Bush.
Massive congestion in the country's already heavily congested downtown busiest and biggest city? Yay!
-Police urge the public to avoid the area around King David Street altogether.
Hahahaha. Real laughs are coming out of my mouth. Avoid the area of King David Street? Let me give all you readers out there who are not familiar with Jerusalem an idea of Jerusalem geography. Essentially, there is a circular epicenter to Jerusalem, which we call 'downtown.' This area has the majority of shops, restaurants, and a considerable number of offices. This is the main economic center of Jerusalem. This downtown is going to be avoided altogether? Altogether? As in, "don't go to the only fun place in the city for a few days, all 3 million of you Jerusalmites." Yeah, this I am excited to see. I can't wait to go downtown tomorrow; King David Street is my route everyday, anyway. The police are effectively telling the most rubber-necking people in the world, the same people that mauled Leonardo Dicaprio when he visited, to not go and stick our Jewish noses into some international business? Yeah, right!
-Route 1 will be closed to the public on both sides January 9, (with traffic diverted to route 443) as Bush's entourage travels from Ben Gurion International Airport to Jerusalem.
That's just annoying. That's the main highway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. And, the detour route? Yeah, that goes through the West Bank. Fun, let's see the sights in friendly Baghdad!
-Flights in and out of Israel's only international airport, Ben Gurion, will be suspended around the time Bush lands. (Other suspensions are possible, check hotline for updates.)
Is that really necessary? What could happen? Some guy is going to hijack a plane while it is on the ground and taxi it into Air Force One?
-From the airport, Bush will fly by helicopter to Jerusalem. The choppers will be flown in from the US on Air Force cargo planes, along with armored limousines - complete with District of Columbia license plates - vans filled with high-tech communications gear and other vehicles for a heavily armed counterassault team.
That's freakin' sweet! The President is going to bring that badass Air Force chopper, the one Nixon stood on while giving his famous peace sign goodbye! Maybe Bush would take a hint? No, seriously, I'm very excited with the possibility of getting a photo of D.C. plates here in the real capital of the world. I love D.C., but Jerusalem is the heart of civilization. Hey, Jesus was here, wasn't he? Oh, and Bush's million dollar armored limos? They really don't trust the area, do they? I really really pray that I can get downtown, see these vehicles, and snap a few pics. All of it is just so silly. All these stops are being pulled just for an idiot, coke-addict, dumbo to go sightseeing and accomplish NOTHING.
-During the visit, the Old City's five-century- old ramparts will be illuminated with floodlights until 2 am. instead of midnight, so Bush will have more time to enjoy the view from his window at the nearby King David hotel.
Cute! Could we kiss any more ass?
-More than 10,500 police and security personnel will be deployed to protect Bush and keep order during the visit - more than one-third of Israel's entire police force. In addition, Bush is bringing scores of Marine commandos and heavily armed counterassault security teams for his personal protection. Israeli security personnel will include snipers, bomb-sniffing dogs and bodyguards from the Shin Bet internal security service, including reservists called up especially for the visit.
I bet Benazir Bhutto would've liked that kind of protection. But honestly, would it really be that bad if he got popped? Hey, I'm just asking!
The city is in lockdown because of this guy, this fool. Really, honestly, no one wants him here. It's 2008, his term is just about over, and who does he think he's fooling? You didn't come for 8 years, Mr. President, so why now all of a sudden? I personally think that he doesn't want that stat on his record: "Never Visited Israel."
Israel is the only country in the world that is really aligned with America. We are homeboys, America and the Promised Land. Israel gives America all of her cutting-edge military technology...America denies Israel the newest fighter jets. Israel encourages American tech companies to come over and setup shop (Google, IBM, Microsoft, etc)...America gives out about 3 visas a year to Israelis. Hey, we're not complaining. We're friends, and friends share, right?
Here's the bottom line of this visit: Israel is getting pummeled by the world, in public opinion and reticence in doing business, but we're still on our feet. No one wants to trade with us, but we keep leading the pack in medical, military, agricultural, and high-technology. We can't even afford to pay our teachers, and have to cut immigrant assistance programs to make up for it. But, our good buddy George Bush is coming over, the same guy that is pushing our own yokel prime minister to give away half the land to a terrorist organization, and we are gonna give him the red carpet. And for what? What is he going to do? He's gonna visit some churches that Jesus went to, have lunch with Olmert and Abbas, and that's it. He's coming to sightsee, and we're paying for it. How much are we paying for it? Prepare for the kicker!
The operation, dubbed "Clear Skies," will cost Israel $25,000 for every hour Bush is in the country.
Do I have to say any more? I'll save you the effort on the math. He's here for three days, that's 72 hours. $25,000 times 72 = $1,800,000. $1.8 million for a five dollar president.
Sorry if this post was a little unsophisticated. I'm just exasperated. I heard the other day that we cut the security guys that have been working the past few years on the bus lines. At all the big stops there was a security guy, checking everyone out. They fired them, because, "the threats have died down." Uh huh. Maybe we could have used $1.8 million to hold on to those guys for a couple more years? I don't know, the whole 'protect your citizens' thing?
Let's just hope I get a good picture for all my troubles.
(Here's an interesting article from The Jerusalem Post).