Wednesday, January 24, 2007

President's Portrayal of 'The Enemy'

WaPo reported In his State of the Union address last night, President Bush presented an arguably misleading and often flawed description of "the enemy" that the United States faces overseas, lumping together disparate groups with opposing ideologies to suggest that they have a single-minded focus in attacking the United States.

And are you stupid enough to think they don't? During WWII did you object when Roosevelt referred to the enemy which included Germany, Italy, and Japan?
Under Bush's rubric, a country such as Iran -- which enjoys diplomatic representation and billions of dollars in trade with major European countries
And which has said that it wants to destroy Israel and the United States. The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) website said that Tuesday during a meeting with Syria's foreign minister, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said "Israel and the United States will soon be destroyed." Does this make him a friend???
-- is lumped together with al-Qaeda, the terrorist group responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. "The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat," Bush said, referring to the different branches of the Muslim religion.
Both of which have people that are killing Americans in Iraq and who have cells in the US.
Similarly, Bush asserted that Shia Hezbollah, which has won seats in the Lebanese government,
And which launched a war against Israel, and is now seeking to topple that Lebanese government
is a terrorist group "second only to al-Qaeda in the American lives it has taken." Bush is referring to attacks nearly a quarter-century ago on a U.S. embassy and a Marine barracks
And which killed so many Americans that only 9/11 killed more.
when the United States intervened in Lebanon's civil war by shelling Hezbollah strongholds. Hezbollah has evolved into primarily an anti-Israeli militant organization -- it fought a war with Israel last summer -- but the European Union does not list it as a terrorist organization.
And if the EU does not list them as a terrorist organization, does that mean they are not one?
At one point, Bush catalogued what he described as advances in the quest for freedom in the Middle East during 2005 -- such as the departure of Syrian troops from Lebanon and elections in Iraq. Then, Bush asserted, "a thinking enemy watched all of these scenes, adjusted their tactics and in 2006 they struck back." But his description of the actions of "the enemy" tried to tie together a series of diplomatic and military setbacks that had virtually no connection to one another, from an attack on a Sunni mosque in Iraq to the assassination of Maronite Lebanese political figure.
The German action at the Battle of the Bulge had virtually no connection to the Japanese attack on Midway, but does that not mean that we were not facing a "thinking enemy" during WWII that was adjusting its tactics?
In his speech, Bush argued that "free people are not drawn to violent and malignant ideologies -- and most will choose a better way when they are given a chance."
Do you take issue with that? Does the fact that the Palestinians, frustrated by corruption in Fatah, voted for Hamas, disprove it? Were they given a better choice?
He also said that terrorist groups "want to overthrow moderate governments."
And do you doubt that?
In the two of the most liberal and diverse societies in the Middle East -- Lebanon and the Palestinian territories -- events have undercut Bush's argument in the past year. Hezbollah has gained power and strength in Lebanon, partly at the ballot box.
And partially by declaring war on neighbor Israel, thus subjecting the entire country from a response by Israel.
Meanwhile, Palestinians ousted the Fatah party -- which wants to pursue peace with Israel -- from the legislature in favor of Hamas, which is committed to Israel's destruction and is considered a terrorist organization by the State Department.
Because they were upset at the corruption of Fatah, and had no other alternative.
In fact, many of the countries that Bush considers "moderate" -- such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia -- are autocratic dictatorships rated among the worst of the "not free" nations by the nonpartisan Freedom House. Their Freedom House ratings are virtually indistinguishable from Cuba, Belarus and Burma, which Bush last night listed as nations in desperate need of freedom.
But if the Muslim Brotherhood takes over in Egypt, or if al Qaeda takes over in Saudia Arabia, the resulting theocracies will be much worse, both for the citizens of those countries, but for the neighbors and the US.

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