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Fri

23

May

2008

Deconstructing Bush's Speech to Arab Nations
Friday, 23 May 2008 08:41
by Stephen P. Pizzo

From: White House Web Site.
Transcript.
President Bush Attends World Economic Forum
Sharm el Sheikh International Congress Center

THE PRESIDENT: I know these are trying times, but the future is in your hands –
Because, as you may know, I will be hauled out of the Oval Office next January.
America is a much younger nation, but we've made our mark by advancing ideals as old as the pyramids. Those ideals of liberty and justice ...
Which my administration has pruned way back and/or openly violated in recent years.
This hopeful movement made its way to places where dictators once reigned and peaceful democracies seemed unimaginable: places like Chile...
Of course we did have to assassinate Chile's democratically elected President and turn the nation over to a brutal military dictator first...
And people of faith (in those countries)are finding the blessing of worshiping God in peace.
Of course only those who accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior, as I have, will be going to heaven.


(The Middle East) is home to energetic people, a powerful spirit of enterprise, and tremendous resources. It is capable of a very bright future — a future in which the Middle East is a place of innovation..
I mean, look at how the insurgents in Iraq innovated new ways to blow up our armored vehicles with just a piece of devilishly shaped copper plate.
In recent years, we've seen hopeful beginnings toward this vision. Turkey, a nation with a majority Muslim population, is a prosperous modern democracy.
Of course the European Union doesn't see it that way, and is still refusing Turkey EU membership because they ain't buyin' any of this Muslim-nations-as-functioning-modern-democracy BS.
Afghanistan under the leadership of President Karzai is overcoming the Taliban and building a free society.
It's the world's smallest democracy, encompassing the immediate area around Karzai secured by Blackwater mercenaries.
Iraq under the leadership of Prime Minister Maliki is establishing a multi-ethnic democracy.
Ditto
We have seen the stirrings of reform from Morocco and Algeria ....
Refugees speak of atrocities in ignored Morocco conflict
AP — Sunday, May 18, 2008: “There is no future ... There is no freedom of movement. There is no freedom of speech,” Said Abderahman said in an interview. He is one of the refugees whose trip to the US was sponsored by the lobbying group, Moroccan American Center for Policy. “If you dare to talk they take you and put you in jail, and they bring you to a public place and they accuse you of being a thief, in front of society,” he said, speaking through a translator provided by Morocco’s UN mission in New York. (Full)
America appreciates the challenges facing the Middle East. Yet the light of liberty is beginning to shine.
Oh, not that light.. that's just the light from a phosphorous grenade.
In order for economic progress to result in permanent prosperity and an Egypt that reaches its full potential, however, economic reform must be accompanied by political reform. And I continue to hope that Egypt can lead the region in political reform.
Of course, if Egypt actually did what I just suggested, the country would be under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood in no time at all, the same way Hamas won power in Gaza following their first free and open elections.
Your greatest asset in this quest is the entrepreneurial spirit of your people. Your economies will be more vibrant when citizens who dream of starting their own companies can do so quickly, without high regulatory and registration costs.
We did just that in the US by cutting regulatory oversight of banks, hedge funds and Wall Street bond traders and might have triggered the first worldwide financial collapse in nearly a century.
Your economies will be more dynamic when property rights are protected and risk-taking is encouraged — not punished — by law.
We've also pre-tested this concept by refusing to punish CEO's of companies that ran wild after we neutered their regulators. Hell, look at the guy who used to run the biggest US lender, Countrywide Funding. He not only ruined his own company, screwed millions of shareholders and left tens of thousands of their own customers on the street in front of foreclosed homes, but he got to take home over a $100 million in going away money too boot.
And your economies will have greater long-term prosperity when taxes are low and all your citizens know that their innovation and hard work will be rewarded.
Of course, while a handful of opportunists will do quite well thanks to tax breaks, your governments will be broke and unable to maintain the very national infrastructure that made those riches possible. Oh, and your poor and disadvantaged... you won't have any money to help them either. But then again, they usually don't vote. And those that do vote are easily confused into voting against their own interests by propaganda blitzes financed by the few that benefited from those tax breaks and regulatory passes.
One of the most powerful drivers of economic growth is free trade.
Just look at China. It's grown a lot thanks to free trade with the US. Of course that growth came at the cost of millions of US manufacturing jobs, and India grew by gutting America's white- collar cubicles. Now Americans mostly make ends meet by giving each other haircuts, serving them food, frequenting American Indian casinos and replying to Nigerian emails offering them great riches.
So nations in this region would benefit greatly from breaking down barriers to trade with each other.
Imagine the joy when the ladies of the Middle East can purchase cheap berka's made in China and their husbands can finally afford that AK-47 assault rifle, made in Syria by non-union labor serving time for supporting opposition parties.
America will continue working to open up trade at every level. In recent years, the United States has completed free trade agreements with Jordan, Oman, Morocco, and Bahrain.
Unfortunately, with the exception of Bahrain, those countries don't have a damn thing we want to buy. I mean, we have plenty of sand already, their ladies fashions are way too un-revealing, they don't produce anything fun to drink and those hookah pipes are a recipe for viral pandemic. But hey, who knows, maybe someone will discover oil or gas in one of them someday.
As we seek to open new markets abroad, America will keep our markets open at home.
Under New Management — after January 21, 2009
There are voices in my country that urge America to adopt measures that would isolate us from the global economy. I firmly reject these calls for protectionism. We will continue to welcome foreign investment and trade.
Yeah, hopefully lots of foreign investment. "Buddies, can you spare a dime for a former super-power currently a bit down on its luck?"
Taking your place as a center of progress and achievement requires investing in your people...The key to realizing this goal is an educated workforce.This starts early on, with primary schools that teach basic skills, such as reading and math, rather than indoctrinating children with ideologies of hatred.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Despite a widely held belief that U.S. students do well in mathematics in grade school but decline precipitously in high school, a new study comparing the math skills of students in industrialized nations finds that U.S. students in 4th and 8th grade perform consistently below most of their peers around the world and continue that trend into high school. (Full)
An educated workforce also requires good high schools and universities, where students are exposed to a variety of ideas, learn to think for themselves, and develop the capacity to innovate. People of the Middle East can count on the United States to be a strong partner in improving your educational systems.
Ben Allen, a law student at UC Berkeley and a UC student regent, agreed that universities have to find new methods to make money. But the state should also not forget its higher-education mission. "Our grandparents created a system in California of high-quality, low-cost, accessible public higher education years ago, and it seems like ever since then there has been a relentless downward spiral in investment," Allen said. (Full)
It is also in America's interest to continue welcoming aspiring young adults from this region for higher education to the United States. There were understandable concerns about student visas after 9/11. My administration has worked hard to improve the visa process. And I'm pleased to report that we are issuing a growing numbers of student visas to young people from the Middle East.
Of course there's a risk that occasionally an Arab exchange student might end up serving their freshman year being "debriefed" at a secret location. The good news they will emerge with the cleanest sinus cavities in the history of higher education.
Building powerful economies also requires expanding the role of women in society. This is a matter of morality and of basic math. No nation that cuts off half its population from opportunities will be as productive or prosperous as it could be.
Unless of course you're cutting women off from access to full, unrestricted reproductive education and services. Control over their women's reproductive functions is best left in the hands of the state.
In Afghanistan, girls who were once denied even a basic education are now going to school, and a whole generation of Afghans will grow up with the intellectual tools to lead their nation toward prosperity.
If they don't get blown up by Islamic maniacs — of which there is no shortage in Afghanistan.
In Iraq and Kuwait, women are joining political parties and running campaigns and serving in public office. In some Gulf States, women entrepreneurs are making a living and a name for themselves in the business world.
Islamists gain in Kuwait vote — No woman elected

Agence France Presse KUWAIT CITY: The Sunni Islamists made a strong showing in Kuwait's legislative election and minority Shias gained one more seat, but women failed again to enter parliament, according to results released on Sunday. (Full)
Free societies give people access to information they need to make informed and responsible decisions.
Unless of course you're Dick Cheney and someone wants to know exactly who he met with in 2001 to develop the nation's energy policies that have since made oil companies stinking rich and left Americans stuck with $4 a gallon gasoline and sky high home heating bills. Keeping that information secret keeps them from making informed decisions that might not be kind to those in power.
And free societies give citizens the rule of law, which exposes corruption and builds confidence in the future.
Unless the corruption being exposed is about someone belonging to the party in power. That's when you use the other tools of democracy, like claiming executive privilege. And if that doesn't work, then destroy the evidence of corruption. We did that recently when congress demanded to see White House emails that described our outing of CIA agent Valarie Plame. We just hit the "delete" button. Problem gone. Corruption? What corruption? (See, you guys really don't need to be afraid of democracy. It can be made to work for you — if you work with it — just a bit.)
Freedom is also the basis for a democratic system of government, which is the only fair and just ordering of society and the only way to guarantee the God-given rights of all people.
Some people mistakenly believe the US Constitution is what gave them their rights, but they're wrong. God gave it to them — in particular our God, not yours. That's why we have freedom and your people don't. Your God is a real loser when it comes to the whole human rights thing. And of course there's that whole, gonna-burn-in-hell thing that goes right along with picking the wrong deity.
There are skeptics about democracy in this part of the world, I understand that. But as more people in the Middle East gain firsthand experience from freedom, many of the arguments against democracy are being discredited.

Like the people of Iraq. They've never had it better. They just have to carry multiple false identity cards, one showing they are Sunni, one showing they are Shiite and one showing they are Kurdish. In the new Iraqi democracy the trick is knowing which ID to pull out at checkpoints. Guess correctly and you get to live to vote another day. Guess wrong and you get put on a permanent absentee voter roll.
For example, some say that democracy is a Western value that America seeks to impose on unwilling citizens. This is a condescending form of moral relativism.
Just because we bombed and invaded a nation that did not directly threaten us and then occupied it. Those who see it that way are appeasers at heart. If they were in charge Saddam would still be killing his own people rather than the current situation where in Iraq citizens get to kill other Iraqi citizens and to ethnically cleanse entire neighborhoods and towns. That's the kind of citizen empowerment I'm talking about.
In Iraq, 12 million people waved ink-stained fingers to celebrate the first democratic election in decades.
Then they waved their AK47s in the air and democratically-sparked fun has been non-stop ever since. (Story)
And in a recent survey of the Muslim world, there was overwhelming support for one of the central tenets of democracy, freedom of speech: 99 percent in Lebanon, 94 percent here in Egypt, and 92 percent in Iran.
Which is why everything is going so swimmingly in those countries.

"Hezbollah terrorists recently overthrew the pro-democracy government of Lebanon. Sadly, the international community essentially stood back and let this happen. Everyone knows that Hezbollah operates as a proxy of Iran. A similar scenario occurred in the summer of 2007, when the mullahs in Tehran engineered the overthrow of the Gaza Strip through Hamas. The world was silent then too! " (Story)
There are people who claim that democracy is incompatible with Islam. But the truth is that democracies, by definition, make a place for people of religious belief.
Even if your religion teaches it's kids things that are just plain crazy...like creationism and hatred for those who believe in different crazy stuff. And especially if they teach hatred for those who don't believe in spiritualism at all.
America is one of the most — is one of the world's leading democracies, and we're also one of the most religious nations in the world. More than three-quarters of our citizens believe in a higher power.
And 34% of them also believe in UFOs. (Story)
In our democracy, we would never punish a person for owning a Koran.
Unless we find it in their carry on luggage at an airport.
Some say any state that holds an election is a democracy. But true democracy requires vigorous political parties allowed to engage in free and lively debate.
Like the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth and the group that accused John McCain back in 2004 of having had an illegitimate black love child. Free and lively debate also means the freedom to lie like rug and get away with it by hiding behind the First Amendment.
True democracy requires the establishment of civic institutions that ensure an election's legitimacy and hold leaders accountable.
Like we did in Florida in 2000 and in Ohio in 2004. Civic institution are malleable as hell once you've jettisoned all that civics class idealism.
And true democracy requires competitive elections in which opposition candidates are allowed to campaign without fear or intimidation.
Intimidation is not necessary. What you do instead is suppress the vote among those groups in your democracy likely to vote for your opponents. Simple as pie. (Story)
America is deeply concerned about the plight of political prisoners in this region...
Except for those who we suspect have terrorist tendencies, thoughts, financial connections or just look suspicious or have said things we don't like. In those cases we have places to put them so out of sight and so out of mind that no one will even know we have them. You see, the whole "political prisoners" rap is simply a PR problem. What political prisoners?" we respond when someone accuses the US of holding people without trail or recourse. "Who are they? Where are they? See you can't even name one." (Heh, heh, heh. I gotta be fair. That was Dick's idea.)
The time has come for nations across the Middle East to abandon these practices, and treat their people with dignity and the respect they deserve.

Except when it comes to "enhanced interrogation techniques." Because anyone getting some of that kind of treatment was just asking for it dressing/thinking/acting that way.
I call on all nations to release their prisoners of conscience...
Except the ones we're holding. (Story)
The vision I have outlined today is shared by many in this region —
Well, okay, not exactly many. Mostly those sitting on a lot of oil — particularly the Saudis — who want to sell their black gold to the west so they can afford to install Olympic size swimming pools on board their private 747 jetliners. They share my vision because they need our protection. They are terrified that Islamic militants, should they prevail, would lop their phony royal heads off, discover they stashes of booze and porn and turn their palaces into mosques.
But unfortunately, there are some spoilers who stand in the way.
Dead-enders who simply refuse to dead end.
They are on the wrong side in a great ideological struggle — and every nation committed to freedom and progress in the Middle East must stand together to defeat them.
Even though they live in your countries and that poll after poll indicates that your people would elect them to office if allowed to vote for such groups. Which is why I don't want you take all this democracy talk literally. God forbid! (or in your case, Allah forbid.) Just look what happened in Gaza. Talk the talk. Just don't walk the walk.
I believe that the Palestinian people will build a thriving democracy in which entrepreneurs pursue their dreams, and families own their homes in lively communities,
Entrepreneurs who can figure out how to get their goods and services past dozens of Israeli checkpoints, navigate international banking restrictions on money transfers, assassination attempts by Hamas activists who, for purely political reasons, don't want Palestinians to succeed. Any entrepreneurs who can navigate those hurdles need to get booked on Donald Trump's show, Apprentice."
Last year at Annapolis, we made a hopeful beginning toward a peace negotiation that will outline what this nation of Palestine will look like — a contiguous state where Palestinians live in prosperity and dignity.
Contiguous, of course, does not necessary mean that Gaza and the West Bank will actually be contiguous. That would require a land swap between Israelis and Palestinians and that's just not about to happen. Both parties insist that their Old Testament/Koran title reports prove they own the same pieces of dirt. Nothing short of the arrival of the Messiah will settle those disputes.
And all nations in the region must stand together in confronting Hamas, which is attempting to undermine efforts at peace with acts of terror and violence.
So, join our gang. Your local gang, Hamas, can't afford to provide you with billions in foreign aid, guns, planes and other high tech weaponry. Our gang rules, dudes. So turn your back on your own homeboys and join our gang. (Flag and cross tattoo's and lapel pins, optional.)
Bin Laden and his followers have made clear that anyone who does not share their extremist ideology is fit for murder.
I put it better than that cave dweller. Osama; "You're either with us, or you're against us." Better, don't you think?
We must stand with the good and decent people of Iran and Syria, who deserve so much better than the life they have today.
Ah oh Iraq, Syria — Yosemite Sam is coming to help you. Run.
I know these are trying times, but the future is in your hands —
Because I'm outta here come January. I'm heading for my Crawford ranch where I intend to reclaim my previous life of near-total intellectual and cultural isolation. Besides, I don't want to have to listen to all the whining about the monumental messes I left in my wake. Screw-em if they can't take a joke. Heh, heh, heh. (That got a better laugh at the correspondent's dinner where the members of the fourth estate clapped like the train seals they became during my years in the White House.)
May God be with you on the journey, and the United States of America always will be at your side.

Thank you for having me.
Now everyone must stay seated until the Secret Service gets me out of here before one you gets any ideas.
 
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