Bush's Reason #53 For Why The U.S. Went To Iraq: "To Help Young Democracies Survive The Threats Of Radicalism And Extremism"
From yesterday's press conference:
NEW YORK TIMES REPORTER SHERYL GAY STOLBERG: But beyond that, sir, do you question your own decisions?
PRESIDENT BUSH: No, I haven't questioned whether or not it was right to take Saddam Hussein out, nor have I questioned the necessity for the American people -- I mean, I've questioned it; I've come to the conclusion it's the right decision.
To some, that sounds a little silly. Bush essentially says, "I still agree with myself." Not very newsworthy, especially from this president.
But pay attention to what Bush said next:
BUSH: But I also know it's the right decision for America to stay engaged, and to take the lead, and to deal with these radicals and extremists, and to help support young democracies. It's the calling of our time, Sheryl. And I firmly believe it is necessary. And I believe the next President, whoever the person is, will have the same charge, the same obligations to deal with terrorists so they don't hurt us, and to help young democracies survive the threats of radicalism and extremism."
Is this why the U.S. went to Iraq, Mr. President? "To help young democracies survive the threats of radicalism and extremism?"
Seems that may be why the U.S. is there now, but it couldn't possibly be the reason the U.S. decided to "take Saddam Hussein out," right? Wasn't the reason ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda, the "slam dunk" that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, and the need to be pre-emptive, rather than risk Iraq obtaining nuclear weapons and creating a "mushroom cloud"?
If the Bush Administration is so concerned that fledgling Middle East democracies "survive the threats of radicalism and extremism," why hasn't the U.S. been a leader in helping administer the "Roadmap" toward lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace, and in the process help the fledgling Palestinian democracy?
While the Bush administration -- as conservative pundit William F. Buckley said -- was "engulfed by Iraq" -- the terrorist group Hamas won 74 of 132 seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections.
Would such election results have occurred otherwise? It's hard to say.
What we do know is that spin is not a foreign policy. Words without actions do have ramifications. Just ask those who bought Bush's spin that the "Roadmap" was a step toward the U.S. brokering peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and helping the fledgling Palestinian democracy "survive the threats of radicalism and extremism."
The same can be said for Egypt, where the U.S. allowed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to stomp on Egypt's fledgling democratic movement?
As the Washington Post wrote recently in an editorial, Mubarak, with "tacit consent of the Bush Administration ... is continuing his campaign against the democratic movement that sprouted in his country last year. His latest target is the fledgling independent press. ... Last week Mr. Mubarak's ruling party reaffirmed a law that makes it a crime, punishable by imprisonment, to 'affront the president of the republic' -- or insult parliament, public agencies, the armed forces, the judiciary or "the general public interest."
What did the U.S. do to help this fledgling democratic movement "survive?" Nothing.
As Nir Boms, vice president of the Center for Freedom in the Middle East, wrote in the Washington Times, "President Bush rejected a bill that sought to tie some of the American assistance to Egypt with democratic reforms. ... (W)hen Mr. Nour was arrested, the U.S. ambassador in Cairo, Francis J. Ricciardone, declined to comment, giving a subtle green light for (Mubarak) to accelerate his crackdown."