Daily Show Turns the Rhetoric Back on the White House
In one of the sharpest commentaries yet on the deeply, deeply cynical language and policies of the Bush White House, Jon Stewart and Aasif Mandvi riff on the "opportunities" presented by the Israel-Lebanese War. Youtube video follows the transcript.
PRESIDENT BUSH (on video) : This is a moment of intense conflict in the Middle East. Yet our aim is to turn it into a moment of opportunity.
CONDI RICE (video): What we're seeing here, in a sense, is the grow--the birth pangs--of a new Middle East.
JON STEWART: He is Aasif Mandvi, and he joins us from Beirut. Thank you for joining us. Aasif, do the people of the Middle East share this administration's clearly more optimistic view of the conflict.
AASIF MANDVI: Oh, absolutely, Jon. It's not often that an entire region is given this kind of chance. Every day the outdoor markets and cafes explode in anticipation. We're like children on Christmas morning. From what I'm told. It's very exciting.
STEWART: Really? The violence and the instability doesn't color that view?
MANDVI: No, no--not at all. As one gentleman told me while standing in the smouldering remains of what was once his village: "you can't get hummus without mashing some chick peas."
STEWART: Really? Because when I see the news, Aasif, people are really ... they seem angry; people are screaming angrily.
MANDVI: Well what did you expect? As Secretary Rice said, we're going through some birth pangs here. And you know how people tend to scream and say things they don't mean when they're in labor. Nonsense like, "how could you do this to me?" Or, "Death to America." And then, once the baby arrives, all is forgiven. What we're going through is exactly like that. I mean, we all understand it in exactly those terms.
STEWART: Aasif I'm--forgive me for asking this, but-- [Sound of bomb exploding] Are--are you okay?
MANDVI: (Shaking head dismissively) Oh yeah, I'm fine. That was just an improvised explosive opportunity. I believe it was filled with what sounded like the flying shards of a better tomorrow. I can't wait to see what will rise from the ashes. (Crosses fingers) I hope it's a parliament.
STEWART: There's no resentment there that these changes that are being brought were perhaps foisted upon the region?
MANDVI: No, no not at all. Over the years, we've grown accustomed to thinking of ourselves as you think of us--tiny abstract drops in an oilfield of possibility. Whether redrawing our borders without regard for ethnicity or religion, or experimenting with unfamiliar forms of governance. We always welcome a chance to test the latest theories of your political scientists.
STEWART: That's an incredible way to look at a terrible situation.
MANDVI: Well, I'm sure it's not different from the way your nation views the events of September 11th: tough day; great opportunity.
STEWART: I don't think we, I don't think we really look at it like that.
MANDVI: Oh? Well. I guess not everyone knows how to respond when opportunity knocks their house down. Jon?
STEWART: Thank you very much, Aasif. That's Aasif Mandvi.