President Bush speaks at the UN

Text of Bush's speech to the U.N.

During the past three years, I've addressed this General Assembly in a time of tragedy for my country, and in times of decision for all of us. Now we gather at a time of tremendous opportunity for the U.N. and for all peaceful nations. For decades, the circle of liberty and security and development has been expanding in our world. This progress has brought unity to Europe, self-government to Latin America and Asia, and new hope to Africa. Now we have the historic chance to widen the circle even further, to fight radicalism and terror with justice and dignity, to achieve a true peace, founded on human freedom.

So somehow the virtuous circle of liberty, security and development doesn't include radicalism and the verb terror? Peace is founded upon fredom, eh? These are exceedingly broad, vague goals. Radicalism could mean anything from American protesters of the 1960s to the Russian Communists of 1917. Presumably he's talking about Muslims from the Mideast as the US is engaged in a war there. He's proposing a war on “terror”? Again, he presumablt means terrorism as practiced by Muslims from the Mideast.

The United Nations and my country share the deepest commitments. Both the American Declaration of Independence and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaim the equal value and dignity of every human life. That dignity is honored by the rule of law,

Oh, you mean as in the detention of around a thousand Middle Easterners right after 9/11? The imprisonment of people picked up for random and minor immigrant and visa violations and stashed away without any access to lawyers or their families? That sort of rule of law?

limits on the power of the state,

Ah yes, the USA PATRIOT ACT, the bill that allows the government to do pretty much anything it pleases, whenever it pleases, under any circumstances it pleases. The Bush Administration has complained because citizens have lumped together many abusive acts under the catch-all umbrella term of that act, but Attorney General John Ashcroft waited until July 2004 to tell Americans precisely what the government had been doing, in any detail, under the provisions of that act. The report by the Justice Department makes it clear that he thinks any limits on the government's authority are a bad thing..

respect for women,

One of George W. Bush's first acts as president -- literally on his first full day in office -- was to delight conservative supporters by reinstating the Global Gag Rule. The rule prohibits U.S. foreign aid money from flowing to overseas family planning organizations that provide abortion services or even talk favorably about abortion to their patients or the public.”

protection of private property,

I don't think Bush's conservative supporters have any complaints about that.

free speech,
Piece from Dahlia Lithwick:

The largely ignored "free-speech zone" at the Democratic convention in Boston last month was an affront to the spirit of the Constitution. The situation will be only slightly better when the Republicans gather this month in New York, where indiscriminate searches and the use of glorified veal cages for protesters have been limited by a federal judge. So far, the only protesters with access to the area next to Madison Square Garden are some anti-abortion Christians. High-fiving delegates evidently fosters little risk of violence.

It's easy to forget that as passionate and violent as opposition to the Iraq war may be, it pales in comparison with the often bloody dissent of the Vietnam era, when much of the city of Washington was nevertheless a free-speech zone.

It's tempting to say the difference this time lies in the perils of the post-9/11 world, but that argument assumes some meaningful link between domestic political protest and terrorism. There is no such link, except in the eyes of the Bush administration, which conflates the two both as a matter of law and of policy. “

More of Bush's speech:

equal justice, and religious tolerance. That dignity is dishonored by oppression, corruption, tyranny, bigotry, terrorism and all violence against the innocent. And both of our founding documents affirm that this bright line between justice and injustice - between right and wrong - is the same in every age, and every culture, and every nation.

Wise governments also stand for these principles for very practical and realistic reasons. We know that dictators are quick to choose aggression,

You mean like launching a war on a country that had nothing to do with 9/11?

while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace.

Um, like when? At what point has Bush attempted to peacefully resolve differences with any other country? Has he done anything whatsoever in the Israel/Palstine conflict or was he simply banking on the invasion and subjugation of Iraq to leave the Palestinians so demoralized that they'd sue for peace? Or perhaps:

Former Jerusalem mayor Meron Benveniste recently warned that the Sharon government would use a U.S. war in Iraq as an excuse to link Iraq and Palestine in the public mind. Then he would launch an all-out attack on the Palestinians, perhaps leading to mass expulsions.
Back to the speech:

We know that oppressive governments support terror, while free governments fight the terrorists in their midst. We know that free peoples embrace progress and life, instead of becoming the recruits for murderous ideologies.

This appears to suggest that Iraqis are determinedly fighting the anti-American resistance fighters in their midst. Of course, if they were doing any such thing, there would be informers coming forward all the time to snitch on the resistance. As the US military hasn't any idea as to who the resistance fighters are, it's clear that no such thing is happening.

Every nation that wants peace will share the benefits of a freer world. And every nation that seeks peace has an obligation to help build that world. Eventually, there is no safe isolation from terror networks, or failed states that shelter them, or outlaw regimes, or weapons of mass destruction. Eventually, there is no safety in looking way, seeking the quiet life by ignoring the struggles and oppression of others.

Here, the President launches off directly into a world of fantasy. He's just rambling at this point, carrying on about wonderful fantasies of faraway lands and flying carpets and magical towers and fairy princesses and other marvelous things. Wonderful things, things that could come true only in the wildest fantasies of people completely unhinged from any sort of reality.

His ideas sound really great, but the enemy is defined in a very vague, fuzzy manner. Our friends are defined in a Soviet-Realism way, with brave stoic peasants with medals on their chests reading “Worker Hero of the Soviet Union” and happy wives bringing lunch out to their hard-working husbands in the fields of amber waves of grain and dutiful children taking their schoolbooks with them as they go out to the riverbank to study hard and become good patriotic citizens.

The President is said to have looked bewildered as his fuzzy bromides were met with cold silence and he finally got a smattering of merely polite applause at the end. Gee, I wonder why?

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