...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Monday, November 17, 2003
      ( 9:46 AM )
Much Ado About ...

The President's trip to London is shaping up to be a real earth-scorcher of an event. Now the US wants to place sharpshooters around the president while he is in London, and on top of that, they want immunity if they "accidentally" shoot a bystander who might happen to be a British citizen.

But wait! That's not all - the package deal being negotiated also includes all kinds of other lovelies the Brits are being asked to accommodate:

These included the closure of the Tube network,
the use of US air force planes and helicopters
and the shipping in of battlefield weaponry to
use against rioters.

In return, the British authorities agreed numerous
concessions, including the creation of a 'sterile
zone' around the President with a series of road
closures in central London and a security cordon
keeping the public away from his cavalcade.

Originally, the Americans wanted London to shut down all the tube lines. This incredible request has rightfully been dismissed by British authorities. The audacity of our government to impose these kinds of requirements is unmatched.

But Tony is defending his decision to host the Emperor With No Clothes:

Downing Street today again defended President
Bush's visit - the formal invitation for which was
made in June 2002.

Mr Blair's official spokesman said: "As the prime
minister said last Monday, this is absolutely the
right time for him to come and the visit will
demonstrate the depth and breadth of the
relationship between our two countries.

But evidently some people didn't get the memo. Even well known anti-war activist Ron Kovic (of "Born on the 4th of July fame) has joined the Brits and Europeans.

The veteran American peace campaigner
Ron Kovic today joined British anti-war
protesters presenting a petition to Downing
Street against the state visit.

The Stop the War Coalition said 100,000 people
had signed the petition stating that Mr Bush
was not welcome in Britain and should not
have been invited.

Not that Bush cares. He may have to see some protests this time, unlike here at home where he is always shielded from the indignity of having to see people who actually dare to dissent. But he will be so well guarded, and so focused on trying to keep his manners that he probably won't even notice. I don't recall there being so much hubbub about his security in all the trips he's taken the last few months around the world -- maybe there was and we just didn't hear about it. But the fact that this is happening in the capital city of our closest ally does give pause.

Word on the street (and on NPR this morning) is that security in Buckingham palace is going to be so tight, even the Queen will be required to wear an identity badge. I'm guessing Bush won't be invited back anytime soon.

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