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Thursday, November 06, 2003

Bush's Speech
Is now on the White House web site. It's better than you would expect, I guess. I think it's basically a throwaway speech with all the right platitudes, like the speech he gave in Senegal last summer about slavery. And while he directs his complaints mainly at Syria and Iran, he does mention that neither Egypt nor Saudi Arabia has a democratic government. He says it in a complimentary way, though:

The Saudi government is taking first steps toward reform, including a plan for gradual introduction of elections. By giving the Saudi people a greater role in their own society, the Saudi government can demonstrate true leadership in the region.

The great and proud nation of Egypt has shown the way toward peace in the Middle East, and now should show the way toward democracy in the Middle East.

And, of course, he uses democracy as an excuse for his brutal misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq:

These vital principles are being applies in the nations of Afghanistan and Iraq. With the steady leadership of President Karzai, the people of Afghanistan are building a modern and peaceful government. Next month, 500 delegates will convene a national assembly in Kabul to approve a new Afghan constitution. The proposed draft would establish a bicameral parliament, set national elections next year, and recognize Afghanistan's Muslim identity, while protecting the rights of all citizens. Afghanistan faces continuing economic and security challenges -- it will face those challenges as a free and stable democracy. (Applause.)

In Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi Governing Council are also working together to build a democracy -- and after three decades of tyranny, this work is not easy. The former dictator ruled by terror and treachery, and left deeply ingrained habits of fear and distrust. Remnants of his regime, joined by foreign terrorists, continue their battle against order and against civilization. Our coalition is responding to recent attacks with precision raids, guided by intelligence provided by the Iraqis, themselves. And we're working closely with Iraqi citizens as they prepare a constitution, as they move toward free elections and take increasing responsibility for their own affairs. As in the defense of Greece in 1947, and later in the Berlin Airlift, the strength and will of free peoples are now being tested before a watching world. And we will meet this test.

At least it doesn't sound like a call to another war. It was a fairly nice speech written for him, and he read it. I'm fairly sure that he would fail a test on it. (Mr. President, name five of the countries that you said, in your speech, have made recent progress towards democracy? (He mentioned Morocco, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Yemen, Kuwait and Jordan.) Mr. President, can you give me a brief summary of what actually DID happen in Greece in 1947, like who was fighting whom, which side the US backed, what the result was? Can you even tell us who the US president was at the time?)