Arguing With Bush Middle East Portion

Arguing with Bush

The Middle East portion of Bush’s State of the Union address was a real disappointment. Here is some of the text, with my comments.

‘ In 1945, there were about two dozen lonely democracies in the world. Today there are 122.

And we are writing a new chapter in the story of self-government, with women lining up to vote in Afghanistan, and millions of Iraqis marking their liberty with purple ink, and men and women from Lebanon to Egypt debating the rights of individuals and the necessity of freedom . . .’

It is the height of hubris to speak about “self-government” in Iraq. The US is running the place and this is “self-government”? The US puts enormous pressure on them about who is acceptable as prime minister and how they have to write their constitution, and has 136,000 troops running around with tanks and constant aerial bombing. This is “self-government”? Moreover, elections in Iraq and Afghanistan, Lebanon and Egypt are not a “new chapter.” They’ve had parliamentary elections before. Lebanon has been having them for decades, and they’ve often been pretty representative. In Iraq and Afghanistan foreign interference had a lot to do with the rise of subsequent dictatorships. This idea that the Middle East is a blank slate that never knew what a parliament was before Bush and Cheney showed up is insulting. And, calling the government set up under imperial auspices after an illegal invasion “self-government” is laughable.

Finally, the elections that Bush trumpets in all four countries, and in Palestine, which he did not mention in this regard, were rebukes to Bush, not affirmations of him. The Afghans elected warlords, the Iraqis put in the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and Muqtada al-Sadr’s people (the ones who killed Cindy Sheehan’s son) along with the Iraqi Muslim Brotherhood and some Baathists. The Shiite parties of Hizbullah and Amal have new weight in Lebanon. The fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt got 88 seats, an unprecedentedly large number.

These elections were Middle Eastern referendums on Bush, and he lost every one hands down. Bush’s main accomplishment in the Middle East since 9/11 has been to strengthen Muslim fundamentalist parties everywhere in the region.

‘ BUSH: And one of the main sources of reaction and opposition is radical Islam; the perversion by a few of a noble faith into an ideology of terror and death.

Terrorists like bin Laden are serious about mass murder and all of us must take their declared intentions seriously.

They seek to impose a heartless system of totalitarian control throughout the Middle East and arm themselves with weapons of mass murder.

Their aim is to seize power in Iraq and use it as a safe haven to launch attacks against America and the world. ‘

Bin Laden can’t seize any part of Iraq. That is ridiculous.

more later . . .

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