September 7th, 2007


George W Does Australia

US President George W. Bush today thanked "Austrian" Prime Minister John Howard, in front of a summit of business leaders, for being a kind OPEC host.

OPEC is the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Mr Bush, who flew halfway around the world to be in Australia, not Austria, for the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit of world leaders, took to the stage at the Sydney Opera House.

He thanked Mr Howard for his introduction and for being such a "kind host" for the OPEC summit.

"I mean APEC summit," he said.

"I've been invited to the OPEC summit next year. The APEC summit."

The faux pas brought laughter from his audience.

As if that was not enough though, Mr Bush also botched the host country's name, referring to Mr Howard's visit to Iraq in 2006 as a thank you to "the Austrian troops there".

Mr Bush also stumbled over his pronunciation of Jemaah Islamiah, the regional terror network, but had no trouble with its abbreviation - JI.

Upon finishing his speech, Mr Bush took the wrong way off-stage and, looking slightly perplexed, had to be redirected by Mr Howard to a centre-stage exit.

You could write a comedy about this. I could write a comedy about this. The Week George W. Bush Came To Sydney. It starts when the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, decides to go to an award ceremony for the football instead of meeting the American President. Who,of course, later calls Australia Austria.

The real funny thing is that this is all the lead in to Australia's next election.

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And They Ate Him, Bones and All.

Is it me, or is there just something wrong about this photo? It's the kind of image that belongs in a fairy tale, where little children stumble across a house in the dark, dark woods, and think that the light equals safety, but really, whoever enters the house is just going to be put into a pot and eaten.

(Photo explanation: Australia's Prime Minister John Howard and his wife Janette Howard wait for the arrival of U.S. President George W. Bush at the entrance to Kirribilli House in Sydney Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2007.)
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