Egypt

Got to Be Free

Did Bush's foreign policy set the stage for Middle Eastern democracy?

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As hundreds of thousands of Egyptians poured into the streets of Cairo, braving riot police, tanks, and the government's plainclothes thugs in an ultimately successful effort to end Hosni Mubarak's 30-year dictatorship, Elliott Abrams realized something important: George W. Bush was right.

Writing in The Washington Post, Abrams, a deputy national security adviser in the Bush administration, credited his former boss with recognizing that "Arab nations, too, yearn to throw off the secret police, to read a newspaper that the Ministry of Information has not censored and to vote in free elections." Other Bush partisans echoed Abrams, praising the former president for insisting, as he put it in a 2003 speech, that "every person has the ability and the right to be free."

The Rascals, of course, said much the same thing back in 1969, but they did not get any credit in the wake of Mubarak's departure. Perhaps that's because their ideas about freedom did not have much influence on U.S. policy. But neither did George W. Bush's.

Running for president in 2000, Bush depicted himself as a realist, disdaining "nation building" and calling for a more "humble" approach to other countries. His "guiding question," he said, would be "what's in the best interest of the United States."

All of that seemed to change in the wake of the terrorist attacks a year later. But as Bush explained it, he merely developed a broader, more enlightened understanding of the country's interests.

"Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe," Bush said in 2003, "because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty….The advance of freedom leads to peace."

Although Bush's "forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East" was exemplified by his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, both invasions were initially justified on grounds of reprisal, deterrence, and pre-emptive self-defense. Only later were they recast as campaigns to make Americans safer by replacing other countries' dictators with democrats.

"With the steady leadership of President Karzai," Bush bragged in 2003, "the people of Afghanistan are building a modern and peaceful government." He likewise insisted that "Iraqi democracy will succeed—and that success will send forth the news, from Damascus to Teheran, that freedom can be the future of every nation."

Eight years later, the best-case scenario in Afghanistan is a coalition between Karzai's corrupt cronies and the Taliban tyrants whose regime was the target of the U.S. invasion. Whether Iraq can avoid dissolving into sectarian violence after the departure of U.S. troops remains an open question. These dubious benefits have been purchased at a cost (so far) of $1.3 trillion and thousands of lives. That is the legacy of Bush's peace through freedom.

In other respects, Bush continued "excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East." His allies in the fight against Al Qaeda included repressive regimes such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. He propped up the very dictatorships in Egypt and Tunisia whose recent fall supposedly demonstrates the insights of his "freedom agenda."

The conflict between a long-term vision of liberal democracies living in peace with each other and the short-term fears of American politicians was evident in the Obama administration's timid response to the turmoil in Egypt. During nearly three weeks of protests, the vice president declined to call Mubarak a dictator, the secretary of state repeatedly recommended "an orderly transition," and the president, despite his 2009 speech in Cairo promising to "support [human rights] everywhere," never once said Mubarak should resign.

Mindful of democratic elections that have empowered illiberal forces such as Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, Obama, like Bush before him, worries that friendly autocrats will be replaced by hostile populists. Let's hope this fear, which underlies the long history of desperate despot coddling that Bush continued while condemning, does not become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason and a nationally syndicated columnist.

© Copyright 2011 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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172 responses to “Got to Be Free

  1. well if Gore can say he invented the internet, Bush can claim Twitter.
    Speaking of inventions

    1. Ha Ha!

      PWN’ed by a bot!

  2. Elliott Abrams realized something important: George W. Bush was right.

    Even Stevie Wonder saw that one coming.

  3. If Anonbot laughs does he…ewwwwe.
    I will never look at a can of WD-40 the same way again

    1. Leave us out of your sordid fantasies please! We’ll call PETA, HHS and the EPA for improper and unlicensed use of WD-40.

  4. Epic fail.

    It is too soon to define Bush’s “legacy.”

    It is also simplistic to dismiss the role of democratic transformation in Bush’s Middle East strategy, specifically the invasion of Iraq. The idea of replacing Hussein with a free democratic government was a CENTRAL motivation for invading Iraq – even if this was not initially emphasized.

    Whether you favored the invasion of Iraq or not, Mr. Sullum, it is entirely possible that it may yield longer term benefits including greater democracy and peace in the Middle East. Or not. It is too soon to know. But if democracy does spread in the Middle East, Bush and the American soldiers who sacrificed their lives or limbs may have been major contributors and should get some credit.

    1. I think the actual central motivation was $$$ for contractors. There’s no need to be na?ve.

      1. Haliburton Haliburton HURR DURR

          1. While the whole herp derp thingy is outrageously funny, in this instance you have flipped yourself.

            Herp and derp fear everything foreign and unknown, don’t they? Since the meme is stupid protectionism, wouldn’t herp and derp favor Haliburton, an American company? Or are herp and derp simply moronic Leftards who hate whatever the current “progressive” boogyman happens to be?

            Try and keep your memes straight.

      2. Seriously??? So we invaded a country at the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of American lives so that contractors would make some money???? Seriously??? Are you for real???

        1. Wasn’t that spelled out BEFORE the invasion? Then, I don’t see a problem with it.

    2. The idea of replacing Hussein with a free democratic government was a CENTRAL motivation for invading Iraq

      Reason number 387 in fact.

      1. No no, that’s #388. Reason #387 was “for teh lulz”.

    3. “Bush and the American soldiers who sacrificed their lives or limbs may have been major contributors and should get some credit.”

      First, I would add 1.3T USD to your list of possible major contributors.

      Second, I believe the issue is not whether these people/resources were contributors, but whether their sacrifice was actually worth it.

      1. Are we talking about the freedom in Iraq that doesn’t exist???

        1. Yes, that is the issue and it may never be possible to answer such a question.

        2. No, we are talking about the freedom in Iraq that does exist. Freedom is relative not absolute.

          1. Have the Egyptians, Jordanians, Bahrainians and what not been informed that they’re wasting their time because perfection isn’t on the table?

          2. yes, we have the freedom to sue…send $1 billion for damages!

    4. “even if this was not initially emphasized.”

      Polite way of saying “misled the public about the actual goals?”

    5. Bush’s ‘agenda’, if you bothered reading things like articles in Foreign Affairs by Admin flacks during 2003, was spreading ‘democracy’ to strategic enemies of Israel in the ME, primarily Iran, Lebanon, and Syria. Places they pointedly *didn’t* want to destabilize included Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, et al, because these were regimes we could do business with, democracy be damned. Claiming the invasion of Iraq was a catalyst for the current ME uprisings is naive in the extreme; ask the protestors what they think about American impositions in the region and they’re not sending back thank-you notes. To the contrary, part of the entire frustration is not just with repressive regimes, but repressive regimes that have survived almost exclusively through American support and military aid.

      Or do you really think Bush thought it would be a *good* thing to have all our only ‘friendly’ regimes fall to pieces without we being able to help shape the future in these places?

      Its notable that no one in the Bush admin was ever agitating for Mubarak’s outster for 8 years; nor pointedly criticizing Saudi rulers… If they do cheerlead now, its pretty much an ex post facto claiming of interest in such.

      Bush destabilized the middle east. If that destabilization should eventually lead to more open and democratic middle eastern regimes, it will be in spite of the invasion of Iraq, not because of it.

      1. Reminds me of the bumper sticker, American Dad advertisement

        “Be Nice to America Or we’ll bring democracy to your country.”

      2. Completely wrong.

        Where did the 9/11 terrorists come from? From the countries you named. Bush specifically wished to provide the impetus for democracy and freedom in these countries as well in the hope of creating an environment less conducive to terrorists.

        Iraq was just the most convenient place to start given its prior hostilities with the US.

        Whether the invasion of and democratic transformation of Iraq is a major contributor to democracy in the Middle East is impossible to prove or disprove. But rational minds would conclude that it might have been a positive factor.

      3. “…they’re not sending back thank-you notes”

        Just know that NOBODY has ever sent back thank-you notes to us for any of the good or bad work the U.S. has done. I would never in a billion years expect it someone claiming to be the mouthpiece for the ME to say thank you. But, if you ask around a little, you may find that there are a lot of people from the ME who LOVE the US and George Bush. No, I’m not crazy. I’ve met them all over the world. Saying that “everyone hates us/U.S.” is simplistic and naive (sorry, I don’t know where the umlauts are on my computer).

        People often angrily say to people in the U.S. that we arrogantly think that their countries would be better if they were more like ours (being the U.S.).

        I arrogantly say that they actually couldn’t do much better.

    6. Absolute nonsense. If anything, Iraq set back Middle East reformation by years. If democracies happen to emerge in the Middle East and North Africa, it will most certainly not be a result of the Iraq occupation, but in spite of it–the event that created more religious fundamentalist terrorists than any in recent memory.

      1. Care to provide any reasoning behind your conclusions? Or are you reflexively unwilling to admit that the creation of a democracy in the Middle East may encourage democracy elsewhere in the Middle East?

        1. There’s no reasoning behind stooopid. It just is.

          And who gives a crap over who gets credit. Obama’s Cairo speech, Bush’s democracy promotion, technological advances. The best answer is we’ll never know for sure and the second best is all of the above. And the only losers are the ones that try to plant the credit on themselves or someone they work for or once worked for.

  5. If we are not willing to just kill Islamic extremists wherever we find them, then we better stop supporting dictatorships.

    If we don’t talk the people of the middle east and address their concerns, the extremists will. The experience in the Palestinian Authority is very instructive. For decades the West support Arrafat and his band of hoodlums and looked the other way while he stole billions of dollars in aid and totally screwed the average Palestinian. Hamas, meanwhile, at least pretended to care and actually did make an effort to do something besides steal and screw the population. And low and behold when there was an election Hamas won. Well no kidding. Who would you have voted for?

    We cannot continue to concede the field to the militants by supporting awful regimes in the name of stability and keeping the militants out of power.

    1. Is this a call for colonialism?

      How bout we don’t support any of em and let them sort it out.

      1. Then get ready for the radicals to take over a fair number of these countries. They have the discipline and dedication to do it. And they haven’t yet discredited themselves.

        1. Oh, boy! Then we can nuke their ass and take the gas. Two birds with one stone.

        2. I am ready….now what?

      2. How bout we don’t support any of em and let them sort it out.

        Because:
        1) Support for dictators
        2) ???????
        3) Profit!

    2. For decades we supported Arafat? WTF? Where do you get your history books?

      1. The West sent Arrafat billions. I said West not US. And we sent Arrafat billions after Oslo. Unlike you, I actually read books.

        1. Books by authors that can’t even spell the guy’s name right?

          1. It is an Arab name.

            1. Fuck yeah! Them Ayrabs and Mooslims don’t deserve to have their name spelt right.

              I just feel that it makes John look like he doesn’t have a fucking clue what he’s on about in these particular posts.

              1. … which I meant to imply is not the case.

  6. Speaking of the Bush legacy in the Mid East:

    ‘Curveball’: I lied about WMD to hasten Iraq war
    An Iraqi defector who went by the codename ‘Curveball’ has publicly admitted for the first time that he made up stories about mobile bioweapons trucks and secret factories to try to bring down Saddam Hussein’s regime.

    “I had a problem with the Saddam regime,” Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, who fled Iraq in 1995, told The Guardian newspaper. “I wanted to get rid of him and now I had this chance.”

    Al-Janabi’s information was used in part by the U.S. as justification for the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. More than 100,000 people, most of them Iraqi civilians, have died in the war. The U.S. began to withdraw its troops from Iraq last summer….

    1. Of course Saddam could have just cooperated with the UN and cleared the whole thing up. Had he not kicked out the inspectors, the US would have never been able to go to war with him.

      1. Dear John, the UN could also have investigated the ‘proof’ of the USA and cleared it up all the same. What’s the point you’re making? That Saddam is solely responsible for all that has happened since 2003?

        1. That the Iraq was was at its heart a Wilsonian war fought to enforce the UN and the international system. You may not like that. And there are reasons to object to the Wilsonian idea of an an international system of laws restraining the behavior of countries. But, call the war what it was. And stop pretending that the war was the result of one piece of intelligence. It wasn’t.

          1. Congratulation,

            You’re a progressive.

            1. Because he supports lying to us to get his way because he knows better?

              1. That and the whole

                Wilsonian White mans burden to make the world safe for democracy and progress thing.

            2. I am just telling you what it was Josh. I know it makes people feel better to believe in conspiracies and the like. But that is not what happened. We didn’t invade for Haliburton. We invaded for the UN.

              1. I don’t know why we invaded.

                I’d really like to know at some point, but so far all the reasons given stink like bullcrap.

                As far as conspiracies go, here’s a new on for you.

                It was a cynical deal between Bush and the house of Saud to create a place where young Saudi men could fulfill their need for jihad and be quickly killed by superior US firepower.

                1. I can tell you why we invaded Josh. We said so. We invaded to enforce the various UN resolutions that Saddam had been ignoring for ten years.

                  And yeah, I would love to think that we were sly enough to use Iraq as tar paper for various Saudi youths who would otherwise have caused trouble. But, I can’t see us being that sophisticated.

                  1. It was a war for the UN? Did the UN support it?

                  2. No American president would go to war to protect the UN’s honor. Especially a pseudo conservative like Bush. And certainly not when the UN was against the war.

                    1. Bush went to war to protect the Wilsonian system. And whoever said Bush was a conservative? Aren’t you guys the ones who are always talking about how he was a big government worshiping statist? Yeah, Bush, like Clinton and his father, is a Wilsonian. The last non Wilsonian President we had was Reagan.

                    2. How was Clinton a Wilsonian and Reagan was not a Wilsonian? Do you have any idea wtf you are talking about?

                    3. And whoever said Bush was a conservative? Aren’t you guys the ones who are always talking about how he was a big government worshiping statist?

                      That’s what that word means now, duh.

          2. And stop pretending that the war was the result of one piece of intelligence. It wasn’t.

            You’re right; it wasn’t one piece of intelligence. It was one lie. Be a good conservative and take some personable responsibility for helping Bush lie us into a war.

            1. Bush didn’t lie us into war. But that myth is so cherished by peacenik libertarians it will never be dispelled in their minds.

              Even the evidence you sight doesn’t imply that Bush lied. The source lied. Unless you can show me that Bush knew he was lying, that proves nothing other than there was bad intel. And indeed, people conveniently forget that the whole world thought Sadaam had WMDs in 2002. That was one of the main arguments made against the invasion at the time was that Saddam would use his WMDs and create a humanitarian nightmare. But after that didn’t happen, the peaceniks conveniently forgot about that argument and came up with the whole “we were lied into war” bullshit.

              1. ” people conveniently forget that the whole world thought Sadaam had WMDs in 2002″

                People like John hope that if they repeat this line enough it will be accepted. But when Powell gave his disagraceful speech there were scores of experts on many shows that found his evidence laughable. I remember watching a French intel analyst saying the speech was riddled with innaccuracy. It obviously didn’t impress the French or the Russians for example.

                1. Take it up with Bill Clinton, the British, the French and Al Gore, MNG. And further, take it up with every progressive, yourself probably included, who made the argument that an invasion would produce a WMD induced humanitarian crisis. And also take it up with USCENT COM, who apparently were not in on the joke, who issued hundreds of thousands of MOP suits and insisted on everyone wearing one during the initial invasion. I was there. And I was at a Corps level headquarters and I can assure you, the military fully anticipated being gassed.

                  This really is you at your typical worst. Since you are incapable of making an honest argument, you can’t accept that anyone else is either. So you assume everyone was lying because that is what you do. You do project well.

                  1. I don’t have to assume lying John, the main source now admits he was lying. At the time many people, progressives and otherwise, thought he was lying. Warmongers like yourself may be easily duped into war but the fact remains that a great many intel experts and non-experts never bought the arguments.

                    Go back and read the foriegn presses the day after Powell’s speech, they were full of skepticism.

                    1. Fuck you MNG. Go fight in a war and then call people war mongers. I actually went in March. And trust me, I wasn’t gung ho for the thing to happen and wasn’t dying to get on the plane.

                      Seriously, you capable of having a serious conversation about anything? You miserable fucking puke. How dare you call me a fucking war monger. You really are the biggest piece of shit ever to post on here. Worse than Joe Boyle.

                    2. I actually went in March.

                      Was Suki there too?

                    3. Touchy, touchy eh warmonger?

                    4. John, you are a fucking warmonger. Get over it.

                    5. Save yourself some time and forget about reasoning with MNG. Facts or reason don’t matter to the “Bush lied” crowd. I’m not sure about the wisdom of invading Iraq either but I prefer to stick to the facts.

                    6. Bill Clinton, Al Gore and large sections of the Democrats in Congress were not skeptical of Powell’s speech. Were they all lying to? Was the conspiracy that big.

                    7. Many of those people now say they were lied to, which is different than lying. And regardless of what they thought, many thought otherwise. But keep repeating the “everyone thought it!” meme.

                    8. Bill Clinton, Al Gore and large sections of the Democrats in Congress were not skeptical of Powell’s speech. Were they all lying to? Was the conspiracy that big?

                      Yes

              2. Bush didn’t lie us into war. But that myth is so cherished by peacenik libertarians it will never be dispelled in their minds.

                I’m not a peacenik libertarian and I could tell it was ll bullshit seven years ago.

                The alternative is that Bush lied himself into war.

              3. The “whole world” expected us to find a can of Raid in one of his palaces and you couldn’t even do that. Expecting ‘something’ and “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud” are two different things.

                However, if you want to argue you and Bush were merely stupid instead of dishonest, go ahead.

                1. Johnny,

                  We found hundreds of chemical shells, laboratories and scientists. The whole program could have been restarted at a moments notice. And there is pretty good evidence large amounts of the stuff were shipped out to Syria before the war. He clearly had them and used them in the past. And Saddam himself admitted he never wanted the world to know he didn’t have huge stockpiles because he was terrified of Iran. Yet, you guys convince yourself that the whole war was the product of some evil conspiracy and that everyone but you acted only in bad faith. Whatever.

                  1. Ah, the memories of how it went back then. It was clear to most people that when Bush pushed his WMD meme he wanted people to think ‘nuclear’ weapons. Then after that fell on its face warmongers like John turned to “hey, he had WWI mustard gas, see, WMD!”

                    1. Again, Large numbers of Democrats voted for the war MNG. Were they war mongers to?

                    2. “Pussies” would be more accurate than “warmongers”, but that doesn’t prove your honesty.

                    3. No they were and are opportunistic pieces of shit.

                    4. A majority of House democrats voted against it (John used to say a majority of Dems in Congress voted for it until I pointed out to him Congress has two houses and this was false) and in the Senate it was about half and half. Many later claimed they were misled by the administration. I imagine some were and some were as JT puts it “pussies.” Folks like you were beating the drums of war awful loud at the time and Dems are rarely profiles in courage.

                    5. claimed they were misled by the administration

                      Aha! The John Kerry defense.

                    6. Yeah… as many House votes as needed would have been there for the taking. The Dems did not want to stop the war, but they also wanted a hedge in case things did not go well. That’s exactly what they got.

                    7. I always get a kick when somebody says they only found mustard gas, well if it’s not that bad would you mind if we stored it at your house. John also mentioned the labs if you had read the report done after the war they did find the portable labs but claimed they weren’t WMD’s because they weren’t being used, thats like saying we have no nuclear weapons because they aren’t being used.

            2. Why did so many liberals during the Clinton era and the U.N. toe the same chemical weapons line? After no weapons were found, it was if those opinions never existed.

          3. I love it, faced with the fact that a lie was at the heart of his beloved war John blames the war on Woodrow Wilson.

            Beck U courses paying off!

            1. MNG, you are almost as dishonest as you are stupid. That war was about the UN and the Wilsonian system. Either Saddam was going to be allowed to tell the UN to fuck off and be allowed back into the international order or he wasn’t. That was the whole question.

              That is just history. That is not blaming Wilson or anyone else or saying that invasion was the right or wrong answer. It is just saying what happened. But since you are incapable of having an honest argument about anything or really having a conversation without scream Beck or other such nonsense, it goes right over your head.

              1. Bullshit. W and Bolton et al were hardly UN worshipers (they ultimately went to war WITHOUT UN approval dude). Besides, if it were about enforcing repeated violations of UN resolutions then they would have gone after Israel next…They’ve been in direct violation of several UN orders for years.

                1. NOOOOO!!! The Baby Geebus demands we support Israel long enough to start a global nuclear war to bring Him back!!! Iron Age tribesmen tell me so!!!!! Geebus only lets us exist to support Israel!!!!!!!!!!! The Bible tells me so.

                  1. Forgive us Lord Geebus for allowing something against Israel to appear here. Please don’t smite us Lord Geebus!! Please don’t show your love for us by burning us in Hell for all eternity for holding the wrong position on Your Sacred War!!

                    1. Are you trying to be funny? Try harder

                2. They went to the UN three separate times. And spent the entirety of 2002 trying to get UN approval. It was a Wilsonian war.

                  If is wasn’t about that, then you have to believe nonsense like Haliburton and empire.

                  1. Um, they asked for UN approval. Did they get it?

                    1. No, and even though one of the main criticisms of the war was that it was an example of unilateralism it was still a UN war Johnny, don’t you see?

                    2. Um, they asked for UN approval. Did they get it?

                      I can answer this quite easily. Anyone saying that the invasion of Iraq was done as a favor to the UN or at the behest of the UN is either lying or really stupid.

                      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/3661134.stm

                  2. One doesn’t have to think Haliburton pushed us to war. Neocons had long published their desire to topple Saddam and the administration was riddled with them. 9/11 gave them their excuse, no crisis goes unused you know…

                    1. Neocons had long published their desire to topple Saddam

                      You mean neocons like Bill Clinton?

                    2. John: where are you getting these ideas? They do not match up with reality. I am genuinely curious how someone could be so decieved.

                      Oh, and Halliburton stock increased five fold during the Iraq War. I’m not sure why you don’t think that is a factor.

                      Here is an e-mail and Times article indicating that Cheney coordinated government contracts for Halliburton.

                      http://projects.publicintegrit…..5_2003.pdf

                      http://www.time.com/time/magaz…..11,00.html

                    3. And L-3 Communications stock jumped in value, while the rest of the stock market crashed on the first day trading was resumed after 9/11. My gawd, L-3 Comm must have been co-conspirators with the US government agents that rigged the World Trade Center with explosives.

                      BTW – One of the companies L-3 owns makes, among other things of similar nature, the baggage scanners that airports use. There are [were] a limited number of companies that can provide these types of machines, therefore L-3 was in the position to profit. Disclosure – At the time I worked for L-3, though not at the company that makes the scanners, and sold stock after the jump. Therefore, I am a warmonger that profited from terrorism.

                    4. While I don’t think Cheney or Halliburton profiting from the war in any way influenced the decision to go to war, it certainly was profitable for them afterward to have their old buddy Cheney negotiating contracts for them. I love to see a company’s reputation dragged through the mud for working as a government contractor.

      2. My recollection is that the weapons inspectors were in Iraq in early 2003, and didn’t find any WMD. When is it that you say Saddam “kicked” them out?

  7. turkey & israel aside, what mid-east democracy? iraq remains divided along predictable tribal & religious fault lines.

  8. You know what this thread needs? A long random [rant] about [Israel].

    1. I don’t know if you call it a rant, but I comment about Isreal below.

  9. I agree that we should get the hell out of the Middle East and have a neutral foreign policy. One thing that does bother me however is the vitriol with which I hear some comment about Israel. Helen Thomas’s remarks are a good example of what I mean.

    Yes, we should stop supporting Israel financially. But some people fail to mention that we are also financially supporting ENEMIES OF ISRAEL!!! Israel has proven that she can defend herself as long as we are not bankrolling her enemies.

    1. We give money to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the rest of the Gulf states. Can those countries, with their current regimes, really be called enemies of Israel? Yeah, they like to get their populations whipped up about the Palestinian issue. But, I don’t think those governments give a rat’s ass about the Palestinians and the last thing they want is a war with Israel.

      1. Do you mean the shitbag dictators that on the US payroll or the crazies that they rule over.

        1. Theres a difference?

        2. You mean the crazies like the Egyptian people?

          Scratch a conservative, get an anti-Arab bigot.

          1. Right, just tell us how shocked you are when the MB wins in the elections.

            Where you shocked that a nice middle class Egyptian boy mass murdered Americans?

            Or was that our fault?

            1. I think that MB are savvy enough to know that if they take a course of military/hostile action against Israel or any interest of the West, they’ll get their asses fried.

          2. Yes, the Egyptian people are primarily crazies. Maybe crazy is the wrong diagnosis since they are lucid in their belief that head removal is the proper response to another’s renunciation of faith in Allah.

          3. So calling Arab terrorists crazy is antit-Arab bigotry?

      2. “Can those countries, with their current regimes, really be called enemies of Israel?”

        Yes. I never said they gave a rat’s ass about the Palestinians. I said they were enemies of Isreal, which they are.

      3. Have you read about their textbooks?

        http://www.aolnews.com/2010/11…..sed-in-uk/

    2. The exact opposite. We bribe Israel’s natural enemies to be friends with Israel. Our entangling alliance with Israel has enormous costs beyond the huge amount of direct aid we give them.

      1. Friends? In what way are they “friends” of Isreal? Again, I am not arguing that our current foreign policy is the correct one. I am merely pointing out that we are funding both sides of a ME cold war.

        1. By recognizing Israel, not supporting terrorists that target Israel and playing nice with them. That’s what we pay them for. Yes, they hate Israel in their textbooks and such but Israeli textbooks are not too fond of them and their claims either.

          If friends is too strong for you call it paying them to not be active enemies.

          1. This kind of “not supporting terrorists that target Israel”?

            http://www.allvoices.com/contr…..on-dollars

          2. but Israeli textbooks are not too fond of them and their claims either.

            Israelis teach their children that genocide of palestinians is god’s will?

            Really??

            1. They are pretty biased against Arabs and Palestinians though I grant they likely don’t advocate genocide.

              1. And that is the fundamental difference. U.S. history textbooks are biased against England when discussing the Revolutionary War. This is to be expected. However, they do not advocate “Wiping England off the map”.

                1. From what I’ve read the bias against the Arabs and Palestinians in Israeli textboods is > than our bias against England but yes < than Arab textbook bias against Isreal.

                  I’m not sure what the point you are making here is though…It seemed to start with “why are paying enemies of Israel?” You know Israel is quite pleased that we pay some of them what we do, they value the better relations with those nations. This is why they were so “nervous” by Mubarak’s fall, they were more than fine with us paying him.

                  1. “You know Israel is quite pleased that we pay some of them what we do”

                    I am sure that Israel’s military-industrial complex is. This does not mean it is what is best for Israel’s long term interests. Again, Israel proved she can defend herself as long as we are not bankrolling her enemies. In fact, she grew in size during that period.

                    “This is why they were so “nervous” by Mubarak’s fall”

                    Wrong, their concern is whether or not the new government of Egypt will honour the treaties. If not, oh well, they can just take back the Sinai Peninsula.

              2. They are pretty biased against Arabs and Palestinians though I grant they likely don’t advocate genocide.

                Yeah,

                Truth and honesty are often unfair.
                White lies are much better.

                1. Yeah Josh, Israeli authorities are saints who only publish the shining, brilliant truth, it’s only those dirty Arabs that engage in lying and subterfuge.

                  1. You have examples of lying and subterfuge in Israeli textbooks? Curious to see it.

                    1. *chirp* *chirp* *chirp*

                    2. Still chirping

                    3. Still chirping

                    4. Still chirping

                    5. Still chirping

      2. And I am also curious by your phrase “natural enemies”. Could you explain what you mean by that.

        Prememptive response : No, I DON’T KNOW what you mean?

        1. Most of those nations feel like land of theirs has been taken from them by Israel and/or have been defeated by Israel in somewhat recent wars. That tends to naturally make one enemies in history. Then there is the fact of their age old cultural frictions over religion…

          1. So would you call Mexico and the United States “Natural enememies”?

            1. Google reconquista. That was a long time ago and people still have hard feelings!

              1. Sure, there are racists in Mexico just as there are in this country. Every nation on Earth has its share of nutjobs. The fact that movement exists at all is used by xenophobes in this country to argue against immigration.

          2. Most of those nations feel like land of theirs has been taken from them by Israel and/or have been defeated by Israel in somewhat recent wars. That tends to naturally make one enemies in history.

            Are the Germans natural enemies of Poles then?

            I mean they only lost about 1/3 of their country to Poland in the last war. A place where germans had lived for centuries.

            So I guess you think germans would be justified in endless terrorist attacks against the occupying poles to reclaim their rightful homeland, Right?

            1. You do know that Germans and Poles fought countless wars over this type of issue, right? You picked a pretty poor example here…

              1. Germany and Poland are two nations that historians often refer to as natural enemies in the sense that they have been fighting over various ‘land grabs’ and snowballing historical enimty over such fighting for centuries.

                1. Germany and Poland are two nations that historians often refer to as natural enemies…

                  Somehow I doubt that you would use that history to make excuses for a new revanchist Nazi party, the way you do for racist, revanchist palestinians.

                  1. Do you have any evidence of me excusing Palestinian terrorists? If so produce it, if not shut the hell up. In small minds such as yourself criticism of Israeli policies may equate to support of terrorists but they are often mutually exclusive. I’ve regularly called many of Israel’s enemies what they are (thugs) and their tactics have been similarly described.

                2. Actually, Polish-German border was, I think, the longest (in time) peaceful border in Europe. Some 500 years of peace. Names of those historians, please?

              2. I picked it for exactly that reason.

                Because no sane person thinks that continued war between them would accomplish anything.

                But then again, they’re civilized white people. You can’t really hold those brown arabs to the same standards.

                1. Well, if the Poles lived in refugee camps with their borders embargoed and daily raids occuring in their ‘territory’ often ending in arrests and chargeless detainment of thousands, the building of roads and walls through their land and the continued bulldozing of their hovels to make way for German settlements they might be a bit more bellicose.

                  The remarkable thing is that despite this a great number of Palestinians seem to want peace. Even in Gaza Hamas failed to get a majority of the votes cast in the last election.

                  1. “The remarkable thing is that despite this a great number of Palestinians seem to want peace.”

                    For some reason I am reminded of the film Mars Attacks :
                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..re=related

                  2. “Well, if the Poles lived in refugee camps with their borders embargoed and daily raids occuring in their ‘territory’ often ending in arrests and chargeless detainment of thousands, the building of roads and walls through their land and the continued bulldozing of their hovels to make way for German settlements they might be a bit more bellicose.”

                    That actually sounds like Poland when it was was part of the Eastern Bloc under the thumb of the USSR.

                  3. …the Poles lived in refugee camps…

                    The Poles and others that now claim land that once was German [and I don’t mean the land conquered by Germany during WWII) fixed that problem. They either expelled or killed the Germans that lived there. See item 12 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potsdam_Agreement

  10. The way I see it this is a golden opportunity for libertarians all over the world (that’s right – all 17 of you!).

    Egypt is in the throes of an infant democracy – now is the time to go there and bring with you the blessings of freedom – child pornography, copyright piracy, meth labs (for medicinal purposes, of course), credit card scams, ponzi schemes and private roads (How do you say “A toll booth at every driveway – the dream of freedom” in arabic, btw?). I’m sure the “pro-business” regime in place (fronted by a man with a human rights abuse record which rivals Kim il Jong’s) will be very co-operative in bring your dream of freedom to fruition!

    1. the blessings of freedom

      Including the ability to post such comments.

    2. Hate Potion Number Nine, since you think you know so much about libertarian theory can you please explain how child pornography would be at all permissable in a libertarian society? I have never heard that explained? Could you also explain how ponzi schemes would not be a violation of contract? Could you explain how credit card scams would not be a violation of either property rights or contract violations? Thanks! You seem to know so much!

    3. Here you go, Hate Potion. A government that suits your needs with none of our libertarian excesses.

      1. Baked, stop it, i almost passed my naan w/ crunchy peanut butter through my nose!

    4. libertarians

      You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  11. I’m glad Obama didn’t say Mumbarak should resign, which might actually be interpreted as an endorsement by the Egyptian people. After all, if the US–the people’s enemy–thinks Mumbarak’s bad, there might be something good about him after all!

    1. actually, Obama did ask for him to step down on Monday… or was it Tuesday…
      Thursday? No, that was Clinton… Tuesday was Biden. Wait, Clinton said he should stay, Biden said he sat with him on Amtrack.

  12. Reason really needs to moderate it’s comment sections. Most of these are so worthless as to detract from the quality of the entire site.

  13. Gene Roddenberry was right. The Prime Directive is a good idea. Just leave the Middle East alone until they develop an advanced civilization or kill each other off.

    1. Not just a good idea, Earthling. It’s the Law.

    2. I’ll hope for the latter.

  14. scott ridder knew bush was lying.

  15. Bush did not invent freedom. This is a pathetic attempt to give credit where it’s not due by the Republican pig-lipstick crowd who’ve turned Reagan into a saint.

    1. While I’ve vehemently opposed the invasion of Iraq since 2002, you have to admit that the presence of a voting democracy in a nearby nation (formerly ruled by a dicatator) possibly had some influence on the desire of Egyptians to have the same. Nobody is saying that Bush invented freedom; this is just hyperbole.

      1. I think there’s more of a possible causal link to high food prices than what is universally considered to be the huge foreign policy blunder and massive waste of life that is the Iraq invasion.

        1. You are right Tony, I do not know anyone that considered the Iraq invasion as anything other than a huge foreign policy blunder and massive waste of life.

        2. Yes, removing a mass murdering terrorism supporting dictator and replacing him with a democratic government is clearly a “huge foreign policy blunder.”

  16. “Danger, Danger, Tony!”

  17. I mean, even as Bush financially supported the bad regimes, he did try really hard for them to make concessions to democracy. We got Egypt to have a semi-serious election in 2005 and (not sure the year) got Saudi Arabia to have sort of local elections. Jake Tapper also noted last week that Obama had immediately halved to E million the US had been giving to civil-society (aka non-governmental) pro democracy groups in Egypt. It’s true, that by the last couple years of his second term that Bush began to fall back to normal American support for ‘stable’ regimes in the area, from about 2001-2006 our relations were more strained with many Middle Easter nations than they had been for a long time because of Bush’s democracy promotion.

    That said, I don’t think Bush was at all a factor in Egypt, whose protesters were more likely influenced by the Iranian protesters of 2009. On that note, I think it’s interesting the Obama administration’s reaction to the Iranian protesters is different this time around.

  18. Freedom and Democracy are not synonymous.

  19. “All of that seemed to change in the wake of the terrorist attacks a year later.”

    That surprises you ? how?

    A destitute, half-civilized state on the other side of the world hosts a totalitarian cadre ? bankrolled by the intelligence agency of an adjacent “stable” dictatorship ? that in turn rents its caves to an even smaller group of psychopaths and disgruntled architecture students.

    Three thousand people die in an attack by the group.

    So, to deduce, you can’t trust statist dictatorships and you can’t rely on geography to protect you from tinpot thugs.

    That leaves you with dropping H-bombs on a sizable portion of the world’s population, or initiating a slow change in American foreign policy to discourage authoritarianism everywhere and uproot it directly where necessary, and over decades culminating a free, peaceful international community more interested in soccer and Farmville than violent ideologies. Which do you like?

    The most absurd part of your argument is criticizing Bush for inconsistency in foreign policy ? as if you would have preferred all ties to countries below Freedom House’s standard for “Partly Free” to have been severed in April of 2003 or January of 2005. As if the man wasn’t roasted for lacking “nuance.”

    Your position is as silly and dead-ended as Andrew McCarthy’s. “Liberalization is difficult and Third World people are crude, so before the next mass transportation site explodes, let’s just wax despondent.”

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