December 13, 2003


The Sydney Morning Herald's Alan Ramsey is a fool:

Hear about George Bush's plastic turkey? No, not his rubber duck. His turkey. Even John Howard, under the blankets in the dead of night, must be starting to wonder what in George's name he's got us into. Mark Latham didn't realise the utter truth of his immaculate character assessment. We now learn Howard took this country into war at the bidding of a US President who makes a complete goose of himself by "feeding" American troops in Baghdad a plastic Christmas turkey. Yes, really.

No, really. Read the original Washington Post story, Al. The turkey was a genuine turkey. Real. Not plastic. It was roasted, you hopeless idiot! And, by the way, it was a Thanksgiving turkey. For God's sake, the fake turkey story was blown apart several days ago.

Ramsey peddles disproved tales to a sad, shrinking audience of the unaware. Presumably his editors are among them, otherwise they wouldn’t have let this disgrace see print. Read Ramsey’s entire ignorant screed (mostly lifted from The Guardian and Michael Moore) then send his overlords an email.

Posted by Tim Blair at December 13, 2003 04:06 AM

Tim.. You are quickly becoming one of my favorites..


Los Angeles.

Posted by: Arvin Wallace at December 13, 2003 at 04:13 AM

I used to support Bush but since the Turkeygate scandal I feel he cannot be trusted. I would urge the Democrats to make this the centrepiece of their campaign.

Posted by: Karl Ro.... er I mean Joe Bloggs. at December 13, 2003 at 04:22 AM

Nothing could be a stronger statement about how bereft of any coherent position are the hordes of Bushophobes than harping on ridiculous minutiae like this.

SO, let's just say the turkey Bush was holding up in that picture was indeed plastic... that would mean... what exactly, in the grand scheme of things?

Christ Almighty. I'm usually one to opt for pissed-offedness rather than pity for the likes of idiotic public self-immolation like this, but even I'm starting to feel sorry for these people.

Posted by: Russell at December 13, 2003 at 04:37 AM

I can't wait for the turkey puppets.

Posted by: scott h. at December 13, 2003 at 04:39 AM

Obviously it all comes down to what the meaning of "turkey" is. Is is. Whatever.

Posted by: Mark from Monroe at December 13, 2003 at 04:57 AM

dare i cry fowl?

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at December 13, 2003 at 05:12 AM


Posted by: Roger Bournival at December 13, 2003 at 05:38 AM

I partly posted some of this elsewere here at Tim’s site. Then I saw Tim’s latest entry. I promise not to make a habit of this.

The Washington Post’s gobbling Dana Milbank is AT IT AGAIN with the turkey & Air Force One!

A Baghdad Thanksgiving's Lingering Aftertaste,” by Dana Milbank, Fri., Dec. 12, 2003; Page A35, Wshington Post

The proximate cause can be well surmised to be the 10,000– to 20,000-strong march the other day in Baghdad against the terrorists.

W visited Baghdad, cheered the troops up, & REASSURED Iraqis of the USA’s COMMITMENT & RESOLVE, & fired them up with talk of freedom.

The NEXT DAY in Baghdad, 1,000 Iraqis including children orphaned by the war march against the terrorists & for the Coalition.

Then, just the other day, 10,000 to 20,000 march in Baghdad, there are marches elsewhere including Basra, with snippets from W’s speech on some of their signs, & guess what! Dana “Gobbles” Milbank does it again, what if a turkey an unserved turkey but the Air Force One story changed course—.

It’s as if WaPo Exec. Editor Leonard Downie Jr. & his gang of spinsters starring Gobbles Milbank were trying BOTH to obfuscate in order to promote failure in Iraq’s liberation, AND to provoke shouts of “traitors!” at them in the process.

Posted by: ForNow at December 13, 2003 at 05:47 AM

And, of course, Gobbles Milbank zeroes in on MORALE issues.

W tries to help the morale of our troops & of Iraqis.

Gobbles Milbank now wants to paint our troops’ morale as low. We can therefore expect that specific low assessments of Iraqi morale will be forthcoming from Gobbles Milbank, Walter Pinko, or Dana Priestly (haven’t thought of a nickname for that one yet). Leonard Downie Jr. keeps sending for more.

Posted by: ForNow at December 13, 2003 at 06:00 AM

Well I sent the following over to the fine people at the SMH - thanks for bringing the whole issue to light. I'm curious to see what type of response I get, if any. On a side note I am a senior at the George Washington University here in DC and I'll be finishing up my undergraduate work the end of next week - long time reader, first time poster.
To whom it may concern:

I am writing to inquire about a column written by a Mr. Alan Ramsey entitled "Despots Come in many colours," which was recently published by your paper. In the column Mr. Ramsey alleges that US President George W. Bush served a 'plastic Christmas turkey' to troops on his recent visit to Baghdad. To begin with Christmas is a holiday celebrated by most on December 25th - the President was visiting troops to mark the US holiday of Thanksgiving. Secondly, according to a story written by a Mr. Mike Allen in the Washington Post, "A contractor had roasted and primped the turkey to adorn the buffet line..." [Bird Was Perfect but not for Dinner - Thursday, December 4, 2003; Page A33 ] which clearly debunks any claim that the turkey was made of plastic. Why were these errors not caught by your editors and when will the Sydney Morning Herald be running a correction to address them?


Adam Schmidt
Washington, DC

Posted by: Adam Schmidt at December 13, 2003 at 08:37 AM

Although I can't prove it, I would guess that if Alan Ramsey or Dana Milbank or many others in Western Big Media wrote that Saddam Hussein served a rubber turkey to Iraqi Republican Guards, their editors would "spike" the story on the basis that it was pure fabrication. It would never see print.

If the story got circulated as unconfirmed gossip, say around the internet, most folks including us beastly pro-war types, would dismiss it as over-the-top propaganda of the "Huns eating Belgian babies"-type. As much as we detest Hussein, we'd likely credit him with not serving rubber turkey to hungry soldiers.

We have to file these stories under "propaganda" but honestly, which side are these guys writing for?

Posted by: JDB at December 13, 2003 at 08:37 AM

"Ramsey peddles disproved tales to a sad, shrinking audience of the unaware."

There seem to be a lot of journalists competing for that market lately.

Posted by: Bryan Costin at December 13, 2003 at 08:52 AM

my eyesight's bad... does that line read "Alan Ramsey is FOOL" or "Alan Ramsey is a TOOL"?

Posted by: roscoe at December 13, 2003 at 09:06 AM

Ah bugger it - I might as well share my letter with youse mob (hey, I'm just a caring, sharing kind of guy!). Because, let's face it, there is no fucking way the SMH is going to publish it.


In a shock revelation, it appears that a plastic turkey has been writing for the SMH under the name of "Alan Ramsay".

Instead of simply believing the ravings of the increasingly demented Michael Moore and an unsuccessful attempt at humour in the Guardian, Ramsay could have checked his facts before making wild allegations about Bush, his Thanksgiving visit to Baghdad and *that* turkey.

If he had, he would have quickly established the following:
* the bird was a real roasted turkey, with a genuine honey glaze and garnished with real fruit and vegetables;
* it was prepared, roasted and arranged by the catering contractor to adorn the Thanksgiving mess-hall, where the soldiers were served turkey dinners from cafeteria-style steam tables, as usual;
* preparing an ornamental centrepiece like this for the Thanksgiving feast is an established practice in the US military - similar ornamental birds were roasted and decorated in mess-halls around the world;
* George Bush simply picked up the centrepiece when asked to pose for the cameras - troops who were present at the time say that he was just kidding along with them.

It is pretty sad that embittered journalists like Ramsay have to dig to this depth of trivia and fudge the facts to find something bad to say about George W Bush. It is even sadder than a man who was once at the forefront of political journalism has become so sloppy with the truth and such a slave to clumsy prejudice. Alan Ramsay's decline is almost complete - he rarely has anything to say that is worth listening to any more.

Posted by: Bob Bunnett at December 13, 2003 at 09:54 AM

Reminds me of that bit in South Park whee Saddam says he's leader of Iran.

"I thought you where leader of Iraq?"
"Ah, Iran... Iraq... what's the difference?"

Now we can have Ramsay saying...

"Ah, Thanksgiving, Xmas... what's the difference?"

Posted by: Wilbur at December 13, 2003 at 10:31 AM

Well, I was strongly supporting President Bush. That is until he picked up a turkey and did not shove it in any soldier's mouth. His picking up that platter, a platter which held a turkey that did not get eaten, has shattered my belief in him as a leader. Surely there can be no doubt now that Bush = Hitler.

Posted by: Dave at December 13, 2003 at 10:34 AM

Was Ramsay supporting Mugabe in the first part of that article. Did I read that correctly.

Was the entire tone suggesting that whites deserve what they get and that Howard is a racist.

I'm bored of the turkey, it was a non storey from the word go - just fuck knuckles raining on the parade of a great leadership move, shows how little they have to go on.

But to take the side of Robert Mugabe. Mmmm, lets steal land, destroy the economy, cause wide spread poverty and civil unrest, crush any oppostion using violence - just to try and get a glove on Howard.

These idiots mean it when they say anybody but Howard, they would be happier with Hussein or Mugabe.

Posted by: Gilly at December 13, 2003 at 11:10 AM

Here's my widow's mite to the SMH:

This is in reference to, "Despots Come in Many Colours", by Alan Ramsey, December 13, 2003.
Of course Mr. Ramsey has mixed up Christmas with the American Thanksgiving holiday. A small stupidity.
Of course the turkey in question was certainly not a fake. This hoax has been circulating in media sources for two weeks. It's not just Ramsey, but whole phalanxes of the world's reporters, columnists, editors, - indeed entire newspaper organizations who have been taken in. By this I particularly mean the SMH. I'm wondering if you are all (let me use the current and widespread technical term) MORONS? I expect better of Aussies, even those in journalism. For evermore it will be Alan "I am a plastic turkey" Ramsey. G'Day.
Gerald R. Leonard, USA

Posted by: Gerry at December 13, 2003 at 11:59 AM

Gilly, yes, that was my overall take on it, just another totally boring and propagandist "bad racist whities" diatribe - a work of self serving delusion deserving of Press Council censure.

Posted by: Astext at December 13, 2003 at 11:59 AM

That is the way that I read it as well. Alan Ramsey was clearly going for the grovel to Mugabe in the first half. So if I get his reasoning right whatever Mugabe does now is quite alright in his books. I mean how can you blame the poor guy, he has been so traumatised by previous colonialism he has every right to "give it to whitey". No need to hold Mugabe up to any kind of standards of democracy, its all explained by what happened 20 or more years ago, what a nice world he lives in. I am sure that Zimbabwe's people will be relieved when they read that article. It is not Mugabe's fault - they can blame Britain phew!!! Now we can all go back and relax, no need to do anything now.

As for the turkey - I am personally thankful for the bird. It has given us some of the most amusing writing I have ever seen and yet somehow the writers themselves just dont get that the joke is on them. No wonder Bush quipped "Let me call my lawyer" he just cant stop laughing lately.

Posted by: Rob at December 13, 2003 at 12:03 PM

Someone wants to get noticed!!!!! Will Alan reply? Will he give you the time of day?

Posted by: Miranda Divide at December 13, 2003 at 12:19 PM

And will he get the time of day correct?

Posted by: tim at December 13, 2003 at 12:30 PM

Those multiple exclamation marks seem a bit desperate Miranda.

Posted by: gaz at December 13, 2003 at 02:21 PM

Dave, Turkeygate does not show that Bush = Hitler.

No, clearly, Bush = Joseph Gobbles.

Posted by: Steve in Houston at December 13, 2003 at 04:58 PM

For when the SMH just blithely ignores any criticism of the Ancient Alan:


Galah Repeats Canard about Turkey : Refuses to eat Crow afterwards.

Posted by: Alan E Brain at December 13, 2003 at 05:45 PM

Ramsay's sychophantic crap about Mugabe was even worse and more disgraceful than his obsessed, stuff-witted ravingsd about the turkey.

Posted by: sue at December 13, 2003 at 06:06 PM

From Alan's article:

Mugabe has outlived Soames (he died in 1987) but not Smith. Power corrupted all three. Mugabe never was the only despot. The parallels with elsewhere are obvious.

He wasn't exactly singing Mugabe's praises.

I think he was trying to say that Zimbabwe was a quagmire with the west unable to take the high ground, and that Western countries should retreat with their tails between their legs.

It sort of reminds me of the idiotariat's view on Iraq: maybe it was bad under Saddam, but invasion wouldn't make things any better.

Oh: and he notes a civilian casualty count in Iraq: an estimate of more than 3000. It was left to the readers to conclude that as it was more than the number who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks, it made Bush the Real Terrorist (TM).

Oh, and Adele Horin helpfully points out:

It is the interaction of genes and environment that counts for those with a vulnerability.

In Saudi Arabia, Bartlett would not have had a problem. In Parliament House, Canberra, he did.

I don't think she was really advocating Sharia law or a ban on alcohol, but still...

Posted by: Andjam at December 13, 2003 at 11:12 PM

Gee. What a surprise. No letter published about Alan Ramsey's utter bullshit.

Posted by: murph at December 15, 2003 at 07:56 AM