Washington, Sept. 5 (Reuters): After a month’s vacation at his Texas ranch, President George W. Bush let loose at Iraqi President Saddam Hussein yesterday with a blast of down-home rhetoric.
“For 11 long years Saddam Hussein has sidestepped, crawfished, wheedled out of any agreement that he had made,” Bush told reporters yesterday, launching a new verb if not a military strike at Iraq.
“Crawfished” refers to the freshwater crustacean — also known as a crayfish, crawdad or mudbug — and its knack for scurrying into a hole when discovered.
Back in Washington after spending August in Texas, Bush was outlining plans to seek the support of Congress and the UN for action against Saddam.
“I’m going to call upon the world to recognise that he is stiffing the world,” Bush said at a meeting on Iraq with congressional leaders.
Bush’s rhetorical blast undoubtedly led to head-scratching in foreign capitals, where he is trying to make his case clear for ousting Saddam.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, asked about the term, rattled off a list of previous Iraqi commitments to disarm. “This is what Saddam Hussein has tried his best to slither out of, as the President put it, ‘to crawfish out of,’” Fleischer said.