Monday, February 28, 2011

No Props for Bush the 43rd?

As the world watches demonstrations erupt all over the Middle East and the north of Africa, the popular press is suffering amnesia regarding the President they loved to malign as a fundamentalist fool. A quick visit to another source maligned by the intelligensia, Wikipedia, confirms my memories with its explanation of the Bush Doctine as, “including the controversial policy of preventive war, which held that the United States should depose foreign regimes that represented a potential or perceived threat to the security of the United States, even if that threat was not immediate; a policy of spreading democracy around the world, especially in the Middle East, as a strategy for combating terrorism; and a willingness to unilaterally pursue U.S. military interests.”

Here is an excerpt from a speech given by President Bush approximately 1 month before the invasion of Iraq was launched:

The safety of the American people depends upon ending this direct and growing threat. Acting against danger will also contribute greatly to the long-term safety and stability of our world. The current Iraqi regime has shown the power of tyranny to spread discord and violence in the Middle East. A liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region, by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions. America's interests in security and America's belief in liberty both lead in the same direction: to a free and peaceful Iraq. . . .

There was a time when many said that the cultures of Japan and Germany were incapable of sustaining democratic values. Well, they were wrong. Some say the same of Iraq today. They are mistaken. The nation of Iraq--with its proud heritage, abundant resources and skilled and educated people--is fully capable of moving toward democracy and living in freedom.

The world has an interest in spreading democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life. And there are hopeful signs of a desire for freedom in the Middle East. Arab intellectuals have called on Arab governments to address the "freedom gap" so their peoples can fully share in the progress of our times. Leaders in the region speak of a new Arab character that champions internal reform, greater political participation, economic openness and free trade. And from Morocco to Bahrain and beyond, nations are taking genuine steps toward political reform. A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region.

It is presumptuous and insulting to suggest that a whole region of the world--the one-fifth of humanity that is Muslim--is somehow untouched by the most basic aspirations of life. Human cultures can be vastly different. Yet the human heart desires the same good things, everywhere on Earth. In our desire to be safe from brutal and bullying oppression, human beings are the same. In our desire to care for our children and give them a better life, we are the same. For these fundamental reasons, freedom and democracy will always and everywhere have greater appeal than the slogans of hatred and tactics of terror. . . .

Much is asked of America in this year 2003. The work ahead is demanding. It will be difficult to help freedom take hold in a country that has known three decades of dictatorship, secret police, internal divisions and war. It will be difficult to cultivate liberty and peace in the Middle East, after so many generations of strife. Yet, the security of our nation and the hope of millions depend on us, and Americans do not turn away from duties because they are hard. We have met great tests in other times and we will meet the tests of our time.[13]

The sudden rise of democratic urges in the region could be completely unrelated to any of President Bush's actions. But 8 years ago, it was what he claimed to be working towards. 


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