Monday, January 14, 2008

What The Muslim World Really Hears When Bush Lectures Them About Democracy

Text of President Bush’s speech in the United Arab Emirates
January 13, 2008

PRESIDENT BUSH: Doctor Aida, thank you very much for the kind introduction. Ministers, members of the diplomatic corps, and distinguished guests: I am honored by the opportunity to stand on Arab soil and speak to the people of this nation and this region.

He speaks prominently about the oligarchy and royal ruling families of the Middle East who hold power over the people through control of their countries military and oil reserves. Woman are subjugated and others beaten and hanged by these tyrants for no more than minor violations of social or religious based laws.

Throughout the sweep of history, the lands that the Arab people call home have played a pivotal role in world affairs. These lands sit at the juncture of three great continents _ Europe and Asia and Africa. These lands have given birth to three of the world’s major religions. These lands have seen the rise and fall of great civilizations. And in the 21st century, these lands are once again playing a central role in the human story.

A great new era is unfolding before us. This new era is founded on the equality of all people before God. This new era is being built with the understanding that power is a trust that must be exercised with the consent of the governed _ and deliver equal justice under the law.

With two of the elections to office of George W Bush legality still very much in question this claim is at best disingenuous. Bush should ask the prisoners held at Guantanamo what they think of America’s equal justice or why he has illegally eased dropped on millions of Americans communications or when he will restore habeas corpus. All these violations directly opposing the rule of law and the country's constitutionally guaranteed rights and liberties.

And this new era offers hope for the millions across the Middle East who yearn for a future of peace and progress and opportunity.

Free of American bombs, armies of occupation and plundering of their natural resources.

Here in Abu Dhabi, we see clearly the outlines of this future. Beginning with the revered father of this country _ Sheikh Zayed _ you have succeeded in building a prosperous society out of the desert. You have opened your doors to the world economy. You have encouraged women to contribute to the development of your nation _ and they have occupied some of your highest ministerial posts. You have held historic elections for the Federal National Council. You have shown the world a model of a Muslim state that is tolerant toward people of other faiths. I’m proud to stand in a nation where the people have an opportunity to build a better future for themselves and their families. Thank you for your warm hospitality.

In my country, we speak of these developments as the advance of freedom. Others may call it the advance of justice. Yet whatever term we use, the ideal is the same. In a free and just society, every person is treated with dignity. In a free and just society, leaders are accountable to those they govern. And in a free and just society, individuals can rise as far as their talents and hard work will take them.

Only the most conservative jingoists in the United States would currently speak in such terms. No one believes that freedom has march a inch since Bush’s started his ill-fated preemptive war with Iraq. He has managed to destabilize most of the middle east including Pakistan and through his preoccupation with Iraq he has place progress made in Afghanistan in jeopardy.

For decades, the people of this region saw their desire for liberty and justice denied at home and dismissed abroad in the name of stability. Today your aspirations are threatened by violent extremists who murder the innocent in pursuit of power. These extremists have hijacked the noble religion of Islam, and seek to impose their totalitarian ideology on millions. They hate freedom and they hate democracy _ because it fosters religious tolerance and allows people to chart their own future. They hate your government because it does not share their dark vision. They hate the United States because they know we stand with you in opposition to their brutal ambitions. And everywhere they go, they use murder and fear to foment instability to advance their aims.

Violent extremist like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and the neocons who hijacked Iraq by fabricating a reason for war while their real goal was to gain control of the vast deposits of oil to fuel America’s gluttony for petroleum and reward their oil industry friends.

Bush and Cheney used America’s military to bomb and dismember the country of Iraq without any real plan to rebuild it after doing so. In the process they have killed or displaced hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. The surviving families of Iraqis who have suffered during the Bush administration debacle will hold America in contempt for generations.

One cause of instability is the extremists supported and embodied by the regime that sits in Tehran. Iran is today the world’s leading state sponsor of terror. It sends hundreds of millions of dollars to extremists around the world _ while its own people face repression and economic hardship at home. It undermines Lebanese hopes for peace by arming and aiding the terrorist group Hezbollah. It subverts the hopes for peace in other parts of the region by funding terrorist groups like Hamas and the Palestine Islamic Jihad. It sends arms to the Taliban in Afghanistan and Shia militants in Iraq. It seeks to intimidate its neighbors with ballistic missiles and bellicose rhetoric. And finally, it defies the United Nations and destabilizes the region by refusing to be open and transparent about its nuclear programs and ambitions. Iran’s actions threaten the security of nations everywhere. So the United States is strengthening our longstanding security commitments with our friends in the Gulf _ and rallying friends around the world to confront this danger before it is too late.

Cut off and demonized by Bush the Iranians have become more aggressive towards us. Our unfair and unbalanced support of Israel has blocked any just or fair middle east policy concerning the formation of a Palestinian State. This has created a breeding ground for the growth of radical groups like Hezbollah. Al Quaeda in Iraq was a byproduct of Bush's war. The destabilizing of the country creating a political vacuum there which radical and violent groups like al Quaeda were more than happy to fill.

The other major cause of instability is the extremists embodied by al Qaeda and its affiliates. On September 11, 2001, al Qaeda murdered nearly 3,000 people on America’s home soil. Some of the victims that day were innocent Muslims. And since then, al Qaeda and its allies have killed many more Muslims here in the Middle East _ including women and children. In Afghanistan under the Taliban, on Iraq’s Anbar Province, they ruled by intimidation and murder. Their goal is to impose that same dark rule across the Middle East. So they seek to topple your governments, acquire weapons of mass destruction, and drive a wedge between the people of the United States and the people of the Middle East. And they will fail. The United States joins you in your commitment to the freedom and security of this region _ and we will not abandon you to terrorists or extremists.

Bush fails to see, as do most narrow minded Americans, that although al Queda can never be justified for attacking the US, we sowed many of the seeds through our own ill advised foreign entanglements going back for years. These misguided interferences in the internal affairs of other nations eventually manifested itself as blowback in the attacks of 9/11.

How many innocent children has been killed as collateral damage by American forces with our bombs and bullets. If you kill someone by crashing a plane into a building is it any different that dropping a bomb on someone’s home in Bagdad during “shock and awe”? Is it okay for us to blow up innocent civilians numbering in the hundreds of thousands and argue somehow that it is acceptable simply because we are righteous America?. Both sides in the argument are equally to blame for the use of terror as a weapon.

The fight against the forces of extremism is the great ideological struggle of our time. And in this fight, our nations have a weapon more powerful than bombs or bullets. It is the desire for freedom and justice written into our hearts by Almighty God _ and no terrorist or tyrant can take that away. We see this desire in the 12 million Iraqis who dipped their fingers in purple ink as they voted in defiance of al Qaeda. We see the desire in the Palestinians who elected a President committed to peace and reconciliation. We see this desire in the thousands of Lebanese whose protests helped rid their country of a foreign occupier. And we see this desire in the brave dissidents and journalists who speak out against terror and oppression and injustice. We see this desire in the ordinary people across the Middle East, who are sick of violence, who are sick of corruption, sick of empty promises _ and who choose a free future whenever they are given a chance.

Sure Iraqis voted in great numbers but after years of war they have little progress to show for their efforts. Sectarian violence still is a daily issue. A broken government still is the trademark of Bush’s form of American imposed Iraqi democracy. Al Queda only exists in Iraq today because Bush created the conditions for it to thrive with his delusional rightwing Christian driven philosopical war.

This statement is at the heart of the Bush fantasy. If the idea of liberty is more powerful then bombs and bullets why does Bush use only bombs and bullets to force his ideals down the throats of other nations and cultures instead of an America that could be the moral beacon of the world that others look to for moral leadership and as an example to emulate.

God knows that US citizens are especially sick of the widespread corruption and incompetence that has become a metaphor for the US government under the leadership of George Bush and Dick Cheney. How dare he tell other nations how they must live or be governed. Isn't this just more American hypocrisy?

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