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Albanian town erects nine-foot statue of George W. Bush

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A small Albanian town called Fushe-Kruje has shown its love for former president George W. Bush by unveiling a nine-foot bronze statue of the Decider in short sleeves, raising his left hand in greeting. The presentation of the statue took place in Bush Square on Wednesday, coinciding with Bush's sixty-fifth birthday.

If you're wondering why an Albanian village would build a monument to Bush forty-three and not, say, John Belushi, it's mainly because he was the first president to visit post-communist Albania, making an appearance in Fushe-Kruje in June of 2007. The country is also very grateful to the U.S. for spearheading NATO's 1999 bombing campaign which put a stop to Serbian ethnic cleansing of Kosovar Albanians. And with the support of the U.S., Albania was finally accepted as a member of NATO in 2009.

Addressing the crowd in Bush Square, Prime Minister Sali Berisha (who Bush probably just calls Albie) said, "Albanians' pro-Americanism has its roots in our attempts…to build our deserved future as a free nation, as a free country." Bush had some large shoes to fill in terms of Albanian affection for Westerners; the lovefest for late British comic actor Sir Norman Wisdom shows no sign of abating in the country, even though the man who Charlie Chaplin once referred to as his "favorite clown" doesn't have his own statue.