Sunday, January 08, 2012

January 8 1992

George H. W. Bush vomiting incident

"On January 8, 1992 Bush was attending a state event for 135 diplomats held at the home of the Japanese Prime Minister, near the end of the President's 12-day trade-oriented trip through Asia. Earlier that day Bush had played a doubles tennis match in which the Emperor of Japan Akihito and his son the Crown Prince Naruhito beat Bush and his partner, a former U.S. ambassador to Japan. Bush had always been "a pretty competitive guy and almost killed himself trying to cover for his lousy doubles partner" on the court.

The incident was widely reported. Like the Jimmy Carter rabbit incident that preceded it, the incident quickly became fodder for the nation's comedians. Footage of the President vomiting was broadcast on the ABC network. The incident was also satirized in an episode of The Simpsons, where Bush angrily declares to Homer that he will "ruin you like a Japanese banquet!"

Bush later made comments to the press that he had a 24 hour flu bug."

That's the official version, but there's another reason floating around for that strange hurling-into-lap incident twenty years ago today. During the occasion several dignitaries leaned over and confided this to Bush the Elder:

"The former President George Bush narrowly escaped being beheaded and eaten by Japanese soldiers when he was shot down over the Pacific in the Second World War, a shocking new history published in America has revealed. The book, Flyboys, is the result of historical detective work by James Bradley, whose father was among the marines later photographed raising the flag over the island of Iwo Jima. Lt George Bush, then a 20-year-old pilot, was among nine airmen who escaped from their planes after being shot down during bombing raids on Chichi Jima, a tiny island 700 miles south of Tokyo, in September 1944 – and was the only one to evade capture by the Japanese. The horrific fate of the other eight ‘flyboys’ was established in subsequent war crimes trials on the island of Guam, but details were sealed in top secret files in Washington to spare their families distress. Mr Bradley has established that they were tortured, beaten and then executed, either by beheading with swords or by multiple stab-wounds from bayonets and sharpened bamboo stakes. Four were then butchered by the island garrison’s surgeons and their livers and meat from their thighs eaten by senior Japanese officers."


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