Washington Times mocks 'Bush the bee killer'
When NBC's Richard Engel interviewed Pesident George W. Bush in Egypt during his largely unproductive Mid-East tour, Bush for the most part confined his remarks to repeating well-established positions on Iran and the Middle East.
However, Bush did respond with one interesting new metaphor when Engel suggested, "Many people say that [the war on terror] has not made the world safer, that it has created more radicals, that there are more people in this part of the world who want to attack the United States."
"This is the beehive theory," Bush replied. "You should have just let the beehive sit there and hope the bees don't come out of the hive."
"Haven't you just smashed the bees' hive and let them spread?" Engel asked.
"To suggest that bees would stay in their hive is naive," Bush replied. "They didn't stay in the hive when they came and killed 3000 of our citizens."
In an item headed, "Bush the bee killer," the conservative Washington Times called this an "odd exchange" and suggested that "apparently Bin Laden is the queen bee," implying that Bush's bee-killing has been ineffective.
An unverified audio message purporting to be from bin Laden was posted online by Islamic militants on Sunday. It called on Muslims to fight their own governments in support of Palestine.
The beehive metaphor has most commonly been used by critics of Bush's policies. As early as May 2003, terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna was comparing al Qaeda to a beehive that had been kicked, telling Reuters, "If you attack it what happens? The bees are dispersing and they are finding new queens."
The metaphor was also used in 2004 by then-presidential candidate John Kerry, who charged that, "the triumphalism of this administration....about al-Qaeda on the run has really exceeded reality. What's happened is we broke the beehive, but we didn't kill the bees and we certainly haven't killed the queen bee."
The Times further noted that Bush "brings back bad memories of Joaquin Phoenix in his creepy role as a Roman emperor in 'Gladiator.'" In that movie, the emperor tells a story about the conspirators against his predecessor, the Emperor Claudius, calling them "busy little bees" whose plots were foiled when Claudius said to one of them, "Tell me what you've been doing busy little bee or I shall strike down those dearest to you. You shall watch as I bathe in their blood."
This video is from NBC's The Today Show, broadcast May 19, 2008.
ENGEL: If you look back over the last several years, the middle east that you'll be handing over to the next president is deeply problematic. You have Hamas in power, Hezbollah empowered, taking to the streets, iran empowered, Iraq still at war. What region are you handing over?
BUSH: Richard, those folks were always around. They were here. What we're handing over is a Middle East that one recognizes the problems and the world recognizes them. There's clarity as to what the problems are.
ENGEL: The war on terrorism has been the centerpiece of your presidency. Many people say that it has not made the world safer, that it has created more radicals, that there are more people in this part of the world who want to attack the United States.
BUSH: It's just a beehive theory. We should have just let the beehive sit there and hope the bees don't come out of the hive? My attitude is, the United States must stay on the offense against al qaeda two ways --
ENGEL: Smash the beehive and let them spread?
BUSH: Richard, two ways. One, find them and bring them to justice -- what we're doing -- and two, offer freedom as an alternative for their vision. And somehow, to suggest that bees would stay in the hive is naive. They didn't stay in the hive when they came and killed 3,000 of our citizens.