Sunday, November 04, 2007

Bono's friends: It's tough at the top

Rolling Stone are granted an opportunity to fawn over Bono, and naturally treat him with the sort of kid gloves he grants to his chums in Washington. The most interesting thing about the Rolling Stone interview is the subtle, early attempt to reposition himself, ready for a change in the 2008 White House. He's not a friend of Bush, he's a friend of America, you see.

So, what about Iraq, then?

There was a plan there, you know. I think the president genuinely felt that if we could prove a model of democracy and broad prosperity in the Middle East, it might defuse the situation. I don't believe that, and in the capacity I had, I told them that.


I told Paul Wolfowitz, all of them, to go ask the British army what it's like to stand on street corners and get shot at. Remember that during the British army's first years on the streets of Northern Ireland, they were applauded by the Catholic minority. Go look at that, and ask yourself how that all got turned around.

It was always going to go wrong. I remember in the first moments after "shock and awe," I was watching it at home with [my wife] Ali and I said, "These people have just hidden their guns in the basement, took off their uniforms and come out waving American flags. And they've been told to. They knew this was coming, and they know what they're doing."

So you mentioned this to Wolfowitz. Who else did you say this to? Did you say it to Tony Blair?

I said it in all my conversations. To Condi. To Karl Rove. I did not discuss it with President Bush. I try to stick to my pitch, and it's an abuse of my access for me to switch subjects. But I'm a lippy Irish rock star, and I'm more used to putting my foot in my mouth than my fist. So occasionally I'm just going to talk about it.

We're a little lost as to why Bono felt he could talk about Iraq with Rove and Rice, but not with Bush - what would make that an "abuse of access"? Or did Condi and Karl encourage Bono to chat with them on their Arabic adventure?

You'll notice Bono sidesteps the direct question about Blair.

Of course, this also contrdicts what Bono, erm, told Rolling Stone a couple of years back when he suggested that he didn't discuss Iraq on his trips to seats of government:
He said he’s made it clear that he doesn’t support the war in Iraq, but he doesn’t campaign against it because his main priority is helping the poor and disadvantaged.

“I work for them,” Bono said. “If me not shooting my mouth off about the war in Iraq is the price I pay, then I’m prepared to pay it.”

It's also fascinating that - in the current version of things, Bono suggests that he was tirelessly working against the war on Iraq, but only in secret.

But that's besides the point, of course, because Bono then goes on the endorse the lie of linking the War On Iraq with Al-Qaeda:
I want to be very, very clear, however: I understand and agree with the analysis of the problem. There is an imminent threat. It manifested itself on 9/11. It's real and grave. It is as serious a threat as Stalinism and National Socialism were. Let's not pretend it isn't.

So how did a war against a country without a significant Al-Qaeda presence fit with a threat which "manifested itself" on September 11th?

Even The White House has given up on that one.

But then Bono probably doesn't live in the same world as the rest of us:
It is utterly accepted in the U.S. and Europe that you cannot live a life of peace and prosperity if at the end of your avenue there are hungry people without clean water, losing their children because they cannot access a twenty-cent vaccine or dying for the lack of drugs we have falling out of our medicine cabinets.

Really? "Utterly accepted", is it? Then why was George Bush happy to veto the bill which would have provided free healthcare to ten million children at the very end of his street, lest it upset the insurance industry?

Bono, of course, has a thing for politicians:
Just being in D.C., and meeting all the people I've met - I've now been going there for nearly ten years. They let me in their rooms and they listen to my rhetoric or invective or whatever it turns out to be. And I come away from that city not with nausea but with admiration. These people work like dogs. These lawmakers, they're trying to move between their families back home and Washington. All of them could make much more money in the private sector. Not all, but most of them are there for the right reasons. There's very little glamour. And they're listening to me, who's completely over-rewarded for what I do.

So, serving in Washington is a selfless, loss-making affair, is it?

Let's heed Bono's words, and appluad Ray Hunt, who selflessly serves on Bush's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, bravely sacrificing time he could spend overseeing Hunt Oil's interests in exploiting the Iraqi oilfields.

Let's applaud Dick Cheney, who scraped by on his simple Vice-President's salary while his former employer, Haliburton, somehow got loaded down with Iraqi "re"construction contracts. Oh, yes, the massive hike in share price might have helped a little, what with him holding getting on for half a million share options, but let's not forget that Cheney had "forgotten" those holdings when he told NBC he'd severed all ties with the company, so effectively, he probably thought he had forsaken all that cash.

Bono, there's no shame in loving power and money and even that faint whiff of corruption. Just don't keep playing us all for bloody idiots.

1 comment:

Janne said...

Hear, hear. I was never a big fan of the diminutive Irish rocker anyway, even when his band was half-decent for a bit in the eighties, but every interview he gives nowadays makes me loathe him just a little bit more.

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