Vol. 5, Issue 3, April 24, 2007
Bush's Visit to Baghdad Staged In Los Angeles
The White House is angrily denying recent media reports that President Bush's recently publicized trip to Baghdad was actually staged with the help of a Hollywood studio.
"We absolutely, categorically, and indignantly reject the allegations of these so-called reports claiming that the President did not visit Baghdad as stated," said a visibly hostile Tony Snow. "President Bush visited Iraq to demonstrate that the American media is providing a distorted image of what's really happening there. The country is a lot safer and closer to achieving true independence as a free democratic state, and the President's visit was an acknowledgment of this progress."
The much-ballyhooed surprise visit by President Bush astonished the world last week, and prompted speculation that reports of ongoing violence in Iraq's capital have been exaggerated, as the Administration has claimed. Other leaders have been hesitant to visit due to security concerns; there was a rocket attack that took place during the visit of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to Baghdad last month, and others such as Japanese Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma have cancelled their trips. The Iraqi Parliament itself has been bombed. In this context, Bush's visit was seen as a remarkable demonstration of faith in the success of the troop surge.
That is, until journalists noticed the Hollywood sign in the background of the video footage.
"It appears that the Administration had some concerns about the safety of the President in Iraq after all," said Washington Post reporter Tom Small. "They do get points for creativity. Also, this does explain the mysterious burqa giveaway at Dodger Stadium last week."
Allegedly, White House officials conspired with Fox Studios to transform downtown Los Angeles into a recovering, bombed-out third-world city. The process would have been relatively easy, say independent analysts.
"Heck, all they had to do is replace a few street signs with Arabic equivalents," said Small. "And although the President did travel with several hundred soldiers in combat gear with a few armored personnel carriers and Apache helicopters, that wouldn't necessarily have made an impression on Los Angeles residents. It's the kind of entourage that your typical A-list rapper travels with these days."
Further analysis of the news footage from the President's visit revealed that the predominant language spoken in the background is Spanish, not Arabic, and that the person with President Bush in the photo splashed across front pages last week resembles Geraldo Rivera more than Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
Despite the increasing consensus that the entire trip was staged, journalists are not sure whether President Bush himself was aware of the hoax. Indeed, the trip to Los Angeles seems to have made a striking impression on him.
"During my trip I saw a third-world city struggling nobly to lift itself out of the ravages of war," he told a group of veterans last week. "Make no mistake: they have a long way to go over there. A long, long way to go. But they seem to have an almost American determination to succeed. And you've just got to respect them for that."