With US President Bush issuing benchmarks and deadlines this week for the Iraqi government to complete, tensions between and within the respective governments have been running high- especially within Iraqi government, which sees many of these benchmarks as admittedly unrealistic and arbitrary.
That is why it came as no small surprise this week during a televised meeting between American ambassadors and Iraqi officials that indignation and stubbornness was displayed on the part of Iraqi diplomats who insisted that President Bush re-evaluate his Iraq policy, benchmarks, and deadlines. When this was met with an expected indifference on the part of the Americans, one unidentified Iraqi diplomat, apparently overcome with rage, promptly rose, stared into the closest video camera-all of which were live- and proceeded to raise his middle finger.
This completed, applause ensued from the Iraqi audience, diplomats, and all present Iraqi officials at the meeting, despite the American ambassadors' attempts at subduing the praise. In fact, the attempts made by the Americans seemingly backfired, as more and more Iraqi diplomats and officials began to rise and, in different variations, flip the Bush administration and the present American officials the bird.
Following nearly every Iraqi official completing this exercise, cheering reached a fevered pitch not only within the meeting place but also surrounding the Baghdad building. The American officials-some fearing for their lives, and some infuriated- began quickly filing out of the building and immediately made their way to the awaiting US choppers.
Unfortunately, the attempts made by the Iraqi officials to make Bush aware of their attitude towards him had little affect on the Bush administration's dealing with Iraq, as President Bush has not backed down from his issued deadlines or benchmarks. In a recent press conference, President Bush responded to the recent events by saying, "They don't get it. They can do and say what they like, but I am the decider, I decide what happens, and they're just gonna have to get used to it. To be honest, I don't care what they do, they can do whatever they want, but its not gonna make me change," he smiled, and continued, "'cause its not about them, its about us... us meaning us up here on the stage here."