Wednesday 4 June 2003

Welcome to Iraq, Mr President

by Robert Fisk

click here to visit his website Iraqis, it now seems certain, are to be blessed this week with a visit from their Liberator-in-Chief, George Bush jnr.

While Washington has been avoiding all mention of the trip, the new Iraqi newspapers - one of the few positive results of "liberation" - have been happily speculating for days on Bush's arrival.

And we all know what the American President would like to do when he arrives: to be filmed inspecting Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, the purported reason for the Anglo-American invasion illegally launched against Iraq.

The problem, of course, is that there don't appear to be any. So how will the Bush public relations boys manage this particular piece of theatre? Here's an idea of what they are preparing, the stage-managed "victory" tour of George W. Bush.

But first, this is what Bush should do if he wants to understand the crisis that now confronts the nation he was so keen to "liberate".

First, join a petrol queue. Bush will help to push his limousine to the back of the 5km line by the Hussein bridge - many motorists run dry before they reach the queue - and here he will wait ... and wait and wait. Eight hours if he's lucky, maybe 12. Maybe 24.

Then Bush can visit the 158 Iraqi government ministry buildings that should be the infrastructure of the new US-backed government which he has sworn to establish.

He will see, of course, that every one of the 158 buildings was looted and then burned after the Americans occupied Baghdad.

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