I just don’t understand how they didn’t see this coming. Shortly after the New York Times sent reporters to the market John McCain, some other American lawmakers, and 100+ heavily armed friends strolled through, and got livid responses from the merchants who work there, the AP has done the same thing. With the same results.
“They were just making fun of us and paid this visit just for their own interests,” said [Jaafar Moussa Thamir, a 42-year-old who sells electrical appliances]. “Do they think that when they come and speak few Arabic words in a very bad manner it will make us love them? This country and its society have been destroyed because of them and I hope that they realized that during this visit.”
Surely someone on McCain’s staff thought to themselves, “Wait a second. One, the Iraqis hate us, and two, this business John is spewing about Iraq being safe is complete nonsense. If any news outlet sends a reporter to talk to these people after we leave, we’re going to look like a bunch of horses asses.” But, uh, nope. Nobody thought that one through. Or maybe they did, but McCain’s zeal for the mission kept them from voicing their concerns.
Regardless, we get depressingly hilarious quotes like this:
“I didn’t care about him, I even turned my eyes away,” Thamir said. “We are being killed by the dozens everyday because of them. What were they trying to tell us? They are just pretenders.”
“They were laughing and talking to people as if there was nothing going on in this country or at least they were pretending that they were tourists and were visiting the city’s old market and buying souvenirs,” said [Karim Abdullah, a 37-year-old textile merchant]. “To achieve this, they sealed off the area, put themselves in flak jackets and walked in the middle of tens of armed American soldiers.”
Yup, sounds like we winning some more hearts and minds. Thanks for all the hard work, Mr. McCain. Ideas for your next photo op: Darfur, a black site prison, hell. Surely things are just peachy there, too? Until we get post-visit interviews from a mutilated child, a tortured Pakistani held without charges, and Satan, of course.