Monday, March 17, 2008

Raiding The Vault -- Part III: "Burn"

I almost managed to laugh back in January when I saw that the Washington Post had published a piece called "Democracy Activists Disappointed in Bush", because I knew the democracy activists in question must be foreigners.

Democracy activists in the USA have long been "disappointed" with Bush -- especially with the way in which he was supposedly twice elected -- but the Washington Post has hardly shown any interest in such stories.

As it turned out (mark the calendar!) I was correct; Bush had just ended a tour of the Middle East and some of the people there were none too happy with his failure to bring democracy to their countries.
Hisham Kassem, an Egyptian political activist who last year received a U.S. National Endowment for Democracy award, was left dispirited by Bush's tour. The year 2005 "was the best year in my life, politically. ... Our hopes were way up there," Kassem said. "But -- it was just another story."

Anger grew in his voice. "Bush, as far as American foreign policy vis-a-vis democracy, civil rights, is right back to square one," Kassem added. "This trip marks it."
Hisham Kassem amazes me with his assertion that Bush's pro-democracy rhetoric was "just another story". The amazing part is that it's taken him three years since Bush's second inaugural address to figure it out.

Bush wasn't the only salesman peddling the lies, of course.
In 2005, Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice helped create as much of a democratic fervor as the Middle East had ever seen, democracy activists said. Rice vowed support for "the democratic aspirations of all people."

Middle East democracy activists these days say they wonder whether the United States has returned to the formula that Rice renounced in 2005: valuing the stability of autocratic Arab governments over the uncertainty of elected ones.
They're still wondering? Terry Jones figured it out three years ago, and he said so in an interview with Mother Jones:
What amazes me about [Bush's second inaugural address] is he’s basically just declared war on the rest of the world. But nobody seemed to really notice. He said it in a very nice way, so maybe they missed what he was talking about. Basically, he said that America can take out any government it doesn’t like and do whatever it likes. It’s stunning. It’s people’s reaction to it that’s been extraordinary to me, that nobody’s taken notice of what he’s actually saying.
Terry Jones was wrong on one point; somebody did notice what he was saying.

Chris Floyd noticed, too -- he noticed that something was very wrong, and saw what it was, and wrote an amazing piece to mark the occasion. Please read all of "Tongues of Flame: Strange Doings at the Inauguration", not just this introduction:
"Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked." – Exodus 23:7

There was something strange – passing strange – about the sumptuous carnival mounted to celebrate George W. Bush's chokehold on power this week.
Go ahead -- read it all! But don't forget to come back for another piece from the cold vault: a horrified look at exactly what the twice-unelected president said on the occasion of his second inauguration.

It was billed as a giant party. It was presented as a celebration. But in reality it was an act of war. And its centerpiece was a cold-blooded declaration.

George Bush's declaration of war wasn't phrased in conventional terms. But nobody in his administration has ever done anything in conventional terms. They have never said what they meant. We have always been required to read between the lines.

But the meaning of Bush's second inaugural address was crystal-clear, for those who can interpret the code-words. This speech featured two code-words in particular: Freedom and Democracy.
Please read it all, especially all you democracy activists, and don't be disappointed anymore.

It was always just a story.