Egypt: Former Bushie lies to rehabilitate Bush

As part of the ongoing — and futile — effort to rehabilitate the reputation of former President George W. Bush, Elliott Abrams, one of Bush’s foreign policy advisers, wrote an essay in yesterday’s Washington Post claiming that “Bush was right” to push democracy in the Middle East.
Commenting on the protests currently roiling Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries, Abrams said:

All these developments seem to come as a surprise to the Obama administration, which dismissed Bush’s “freedom agenda” as overly ideological and meant essentially to defend the invasion of Iraq. But as Bush’s support for the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon and for a democratic Palestinian state showed, he was defending self-government, not the use of force. Consider what Bush said in that 2003 speech, which marked the 20th anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy, an institution established by President Ronald Reagan precisely to support the expansion of freedom.

“Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe – because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty,” Bush said. “As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment and violence ready for export.”

This spirit did not always animate U.S. diplomacy in the Bush administration; plenty of officials found it unrealistic and had to be prodded or overruled to follow the president’s lead. But the revolt in Tunisia, the gigantic wave of demonstrations in Egypt and the more recent marches in Yemen all make clear that Bush had it right – and that the Obama administration’s abandonment of this mind-set is nothing short of a tragedy.

In that account, Abrams showed the same creativity, recklessness and freedom from fact that so often characterized the Bush administration’s foreign policy adventures. In other words, that account is so divorced from reality — in what it says as well as what it does not say — that it can only be called a lie.

For one thing, Abrams ignores these lines from Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo, delivered, not at some U.S. think tank, but (figuratively) right in the face of Hosni Mabarek:

The fourth issue that I will address is democracy.

I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other.

That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere. (emphasis added)

There is no straight line to realize this promise. But this much is clear: governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments – provided they govern with respect for all their people.

This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others. No matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.

Abrams also engages in gross duplicity about the Bush’s administration’s response to elections in Palestine. Bush and Condi Rice were excited about the prospects of free and fair elections — but surprised and appalled by the result: Hamas, which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization, won. There were even reports that Bush considering a plot to overthrow that democratically elected government:

The Bush administration, caught out by the rise of Hamas, embarked on a secret project for the armed overthrow of the Islamist government in Gaza, it emerged yesterday.

Vanity Fair reports in its April edition that President George Bush and the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, signed off on a plan for the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to remove the Hamas authorities in Gaza. The plan called for Washington’s allies in the region to funnel arms and salaries to Fatah fighters who would lead a rising against Hamas.

But the project was controversial even within the administration, the magazine reports. “There were severe fissures among neoconservatives over this,” David Wurmser, a former Middle East adviser to the vice-president, Dick Cheney, told the magazine. “We were ripping each other to pieces.”

The protests roiling the Middle East have exposed the difficulties of realpolitik and the limits of U.S. power. That’s the reason that GOP leaders in Congress have praised the Obama administration’s cautious approach. It’s also the reason that prospective GOP presidential candidates have said so little about it: They don’t know position to stake out. Should they endorse more ‘regime change’? Praise Obama? Keep their mouths shut?

— Cynthia Tucker

573 comments Add your comment

Peadawg

January 31st, 2011
8:24 am

Was the way Bush went about spreading Democracy wrong? Yes. Could he gone about it a little differently? Yes. Was he wrong in trying to spread Democracy? Absolutely not.

kayaker 71

January 31st, 2011
8:26 am

Seems to be some double speak here. Bozo’s description of elected government and “Bushie’s” don’t seem that far apart. Except in the mind of our hostess. When you compare the similarities between the two different speeches, they appear to be saying much the same thing.

Dan

January 31st, 2011
8:30 am

Darn is CT insinuating Bush was a closet Dem?

Call it like it is

January 31st, 2011
8:31 am

Praise Obama, really? Same spin different day, Bush bad, Obama good. Really what has the current pontiff done to stem the violence? And you know what Tucker, I’m not saying we should get our nose in it, but please don’t act like Bush caused this and Obama is going to fix it. Your idol worship is getting beyond silly.

Your dealing with a region where the people are destroying their own national treasures. Gives you an idea of the mindset. Could you even imagine Americans destroying the Smithsonian or the English going after the crown. The middle east is a hell hole always has been, always will be.

Misty Fyed

January 31st, 2011
8:34 am

Hmm…I wonder if this column will ever grow out of the need to consistently compare Obama to Bush and actually evaluate what he does on his own merit.

Good Grief

January 31st, 2011
8:35 am

Wow. Just wow. I sometimes wonder if Ms. Tucker wakes up in the morning and thinks “Now, what can I do to keep people thinking about how terrible George Bush was?” As Peadawg said, there are a lot of things that Bush could’ve done differently. By that same token, there are lots of things that Obama could’ve handled differently. Right now, he’s on pace to lose Egypt, Tunisia, and now I’ve heard these revolts may start in Libya. I don’t blame people for revolting. We did the same thing 230 or so years ago.

After reading this article, and several other liberal viewpoints on this issue, I’m struck with a thought that hearkens back to the words of Benjamin Franklin: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” It seems to me that liberals would rather be safe and secure than free.

Also, CT, I love your writing about Hamas, “which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization.” How else would you describe them? Should we infer from that line that you do not consider Hamas a terrorist organization? How about Hizb’allah? The Muslim Brotherhood?

DawginLex

January 31st, 2011
8:37 am

More inane drivel from Tucker.

Bush was absolutely right and it has been proven out. Iraq will end up being westernized and will be the closest thing to what the US once was.
Everyone else will spew their fake peace rhetoric under the disguise of Islam.

Bush was absolutely right.

Peadawg

January 31st, 2011
8:38 am

I love it how Obama didn’t mention Bush or what he inherited ONCE during the SOTU but Cynthia and Jay just can’t let go….it’s be funny if it weren’t so sad.

Walt

January 31st, 2011
8:39 am

“Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will be America’s heart, her benedictions, and her prayers. But she does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”

- John Quincy Adams, 1821

Still good advice.

Walt

Brad

January 31st, 2011
8:39 am

Both are window-dressing their support of puppet oil/security-regimes. Neither has ever done more than pay lip service to democracy.

Pinky Lee

January 31st, 2011
8:40 am

I think I have it all figured out finally. High unemployment, inflation, the nation without universal health care, any war in the world, earthquates in poor nations, unrest in the middle east (must have JUST started in 2011), high oil prices, and anything else we can heap on, is George W. Bush fault. Man, if Bush had only been a negro.

GunTotenBibleThumper

January 31st, 2011
8:41 am

Seems CT wants to blame more and more on President Bush and less and less on Mr. Obama. Please don’t confuse Ms. Tucker with facts; she is already confused by most of them.

The Manchurian-Kenyan Candidate

January 31st, 2011
8:42 am

Typical liberal Cynthia, they’ve never met a dictator that they didn’t like….

N-GA

January 31st, 2011
8:42 am

Iraqi dead – >100,000

You gota wonder how much they love “democracy”

Kinda like how Jewish converts loved Tomás de Torquemada

athensjack

January 31st, 2011
8:43 am

Geeze, you forgot the Obama line while in Egypt, “I am one of you.” That’s a great line to inspire all the muslims in the region to overthrow any semblence of democracy. Way to go, Barack.

■ⁿ

January 31st, 2011
8:45 am

“Hmm…I wonder if this column will ever grow out of the need to consistently compare Obama to Bush and actually evaluate what he does on his own merit.”

How right you are!!

This negative, divisive, and overly political “blog” needs to be replaced with something useful, productive, and that contributes instead of something that brings out the worst in people.

You can quite often determine the character of a person by the words they write or say. Case in point here.

wdm

January 31st, 2011
8:46 am

Cynthia Tucker was promoted to Opinion Editor and demoted from that position in less than a month. Why, because she is not very intelligent (which we see everytime we read one of her articles.) Her articles are nothing more than drivel and hate. She is irrelevant and her opinion is too.

Good Grief

January 31st, 2011
8:46 am

Walt – Nice quote. I’ve always hated that the Adamses (John and John Quincy) seem so misunderstood. John Adams was a brilliant political mind, and if you ever read some of the stuff he wrote about keeping us as free and equal states with a strong though limited central government, I think it would make liberals cringe. John Quincy sometimes catches a bad rap because he raised taxes to pay for infrastructure, which was kind of important in the 1820s.

Walt

January 31st, 2011
8:47 am

“Bush was absolutely right and it has been proven out.”

That is complete nonsense. We should have left Saddam alone. Under him, Iraq was toothless and stable. It was never for us to change his regime by invasion. That worked GREAT if you are Israel, a defence contractor, Halliburton, or you are getting millions in dollars in compensation from Halliburton – as Dick Cheney did.

True U.S. strategic interests in this were laid out in 1994:

“Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein’s government, then what are you going to put in its place? That’s a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off: part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of it — eastern Iraq — the Iranians would like to claim, they fought over it for eight years. In the north you’ve got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey.

It’s a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq.”

– Richard B. Cheney 1994

Invading Iraq has been a disaster for the U.S.

Walt

buck@gon

January 31st, 2011
8:48 am

Overwhelming nonsense once again by CT.

As he is finding out right now, the President can not vacilate on freedom. Sure, he says no nation can “impose” its government on another. His administration’s hemming and hawing about the revolution in Egypt (as well as the squashed Iranian uprising) are proof of his castrated courage. Problem is he takes that to the extreme, essentially waiting to see what happens before he decides which side to support. In other words he gives kind lip service to democracy when he risks nothing, but when the chips are on the table, he balks from ANY type of commitment to it–personal or national. Meanwhile, Egyptians are paying attention to the American President. Right now, his name ain’t Bush!

Note that it is the very essence of the Adolesident’s “non-interference” ideals that make his fantasy push for democracy so feckless, and it is also the reason why most world leaders now consider him a weak President and foolish person–to say nothing of Biden whose every utterance belongs in an adult day-care setting. At least Bush stood for something, and at least conservatives take and defend one set of principles. The fact remains that Obama wants to have his cake and eat it too, and he obviously cares more about his own arse than the lives of free-loving Egyptians.

I have a sense that if the North Koreans were to rise up and shake off the Il’s and their ruling family, Obama would urge caution or some such other nonsense. It’s only conservative Americans that he seems to find “uncivil.”

Charles

January 31st, 2011
8:49 am

Those people over there will not ever have true democracy as long as they let their holy book dictate how to live their lives. True democracy requires a secular government, which the Quran states that Islam and the state are one!

kayaker 71

January 31st, 2011
8:50 am

The US has, for the last 100 or so years, backed most anyone in power to further American interests, regardless of their politics. The Shah, Marcos, Hussein, Mubarak, Batista, Selassie among others, were not your shining lights of democratic rule. We backed them, and continue to do so, to further American interests and to protect our oil supply. We couldn’t give a tinker’s damn about their “human rights”, or who they elect to represent them as long as they provide stability to a region and accept the gazillions of dollars of bribes and “foreign aid” that we provide, thereby keeping the oil pipeline open. No wonder they choose a radical Islamic cleric to rule them. We walk a fine line and it has not always been pretty.

buck@gon

January 31st, 2011
8:51 am

GOP candidates?

Well, thankfully, there is no kneejerk response like there is of the Adolesident. Besides, this situation is developing, and conservatives are not holding the levers of power when it comes to foreign policy. They belong to the Marxist community organizer, friend of Bill Ayers and congregant of Jeremiah Wright.

The Real Chef

January 31st, 2011
8:51 am

LMAO! These Obama-loving libs (like Cynthia Tucker) can’t get over the fact that Bush is NOT president any longer and that Obama is NOT the answer.

buck@gon

January 31st, 2011
8:52 am

“Since capitalism is the nation’s official religion…”

Cindy,

I can’t believe you make money at your job. Week after week, you prove yourself barely more mature than a teenager.

DannyX

January 31st, 2011
8:53 am

This whole Egypt situation just proves how dumb Bush and his followers are. Bush and his cult members love to read from the Bible. They have this wonderful, peaceful human in Jesus that they just love to death. Then they go and do something disgusting, they invade Iraq. The “Prince of Peace” followers became butchers. 100,000’s dead. Millions suffer. Billions spent on a fraud.

Back home we get, “shucks, yeah too bad how things turned out.” Or, “stop blaming Bush for the Christian disaster he left the world.”

Love the new Republican Christian. “Shock and Awe, baby!!” Of course they also have a new policy on the poor, “Poor people should sell all their belongings and give the money to a rich man.”

Jesus wasn’t good enough for them.

Scout

January 31st, 2011
8:53 am

Ms. Tucker:

You’re quite a “stateswoman”. You should be Secretary of State.

None of you know what’s really the U.S. position. For all you know, through the CIA and backchannels Obama is telling Mubarak to hang on or there could be and Islamic State while also telling him we must say nice things about the “mobs” to assuage them !

That’s the real world you know nothing about.

DP

January 31st, 2011
8:53 am

Tucker………..are you trying to become the next offical mouthpiece for the Obamist Admistration? Commie Cynthia would be perfect to offset to the contradictory BS spout by Obama (for protestors) & Biden (for Mubarek) about Egyptian situation.

DHD

January 31st, 2011
8:54 am

Disrespect for the president is OK when it comes to Bush. If you disrespect Obama, you are a racist. Cynthia, you are an embarrassment. The level of ignorance is SO high, it leaves me speechless.

granny godzilla

January 31st, 2011
8:54 am

Next thing ya’ know Mr. Abrams will be telling us Saddam
was behind 9-11……just saying.

Todd

January 31st, 2011
8:55 am

Listen Tucker – No amount of Bush bashing is going to get your boy Obama reelected. His walnut sized brain has ruined our country and his chance at a second term. When are you going to stop trying to demonize a former president and become intellectually honest enough to admit Obama and his policies are a total failure. Oops I forgot – intellectual honesty requires intelligence. Never mind.

julie

January 31st, 2011
8:56 am

religion is the root of all evil. fundamentalist christians and muslims are birds of a feather. religion needs to go the way of the dodo bird for world peace.

Will

January 31st, 2011
8:57 am

This column should be moved to the cartoon section – permanently. All writers offer up poorly configured thoughts from time to time. This one does it every single time she publishes.

Will

January 31st, 2011
9:00 am

This is off-topic, but, Cynthia – compare your picture to one from several years ago. Your face has gotten HUGE. Those cheeks look like Oprah’s new half-sister is hiding inside.

Bob

January 31st, 2011
9:00 am

Spreading democracy, bad. Spreading hope and change, good.

Pull My Finger

January 31st, 2011
9:01 am

Lying…………….no one does it better than our current president.

meinpvb

January 31st, 2011
9:03 am

Did Obama say that before or after he bowed, kissed and pretty much slobbered over Mabarek? And funny that Bush should “keep his mouth shut” when you certainly endorse other former presidents (Carter, Clinton) to speak, especially when you consider the drivel that comes out of their mouths. (pun intended in Clintons case)

Walt

January 31st, 2011
9:03 am

“Disrespect for the president is OK when it comes to Bush.”

Anyone who examines Bush’s record will quickly see that he was not working for the good of the American People.

From ignoring the threat of Al Qeada prior to /911, to responding to it fecklessly afterward, to his blind eye on regulation of Wall Street to his also feckless ‘No Child Left Behind” initiative, Bush fundamentally weakened this country.

Walt

Walt

eddy

January 31st, 2011
9:05 am

I can see that CT had another good weekend….she came up with another angle and rant about GWB and then all praise for O. Naw, she couldn’t be prejudiced …..only white folks can be prejudiced and bigoted. But then again, maybe CT has some white blood coursing through her veins and this genetic aberration causes her to be racist, bigoted and prejudiced. Bless her heart…she just can’t help it!! Just a thought….but then again, thinking is obviously optional here.Render unto O all things that are good and CT says that anything and everything O touches is good..the rest of the crap is placed upon GWB

TBone

January 31st, 2011
9:07 am

I guess there really is no cure for bushderangement syndrome?

granny godzilla

January 31st, 2011
9:08 am

8:26 Bozo

8:37 More inane drivel

8:41 Please don’t confuse Ms. Tucker with facts; she is already confused by most of them.

8:42 Typical liberal Cynthia, they’ve never met a dictator that they didn’t like

8:46 she is not very intelligent (which we see everytime we read one of her articles.) Her articles are nothing more than drivel and hate. She is irrelevant and her opinion is too

8:48 Overwhelming nonsense once again by CT.

8:48 he obviously cares more about his own arse than the lives of free-loving Egyptians.

8:51 the Marxist community organizer, friend of Bill Ayers and congregant of Jeremiah Wright.

8:52 Week after week, you prove yourself barely more mature than a teenager.

8:53 That’s the real world you know nothing about.

8:54 If you disrespect Obama, you are a racist. Cynthia, you are an embarrassment. The level of ignorance is SO high, it leaves me speechless.

8:55 His walnut sized brain has ruined our country

9:00 Your face has gotten HUGE. Those cheeks look like Oprah’s new half-sister is hiding inside.

9:01 Lying…………….no one does it better than our current president.

9:02 Did Obama say that before or after he bowed, kissed and pretty much slobbered over Mabarek?

Dedicated to y’all!

DannyX

January 31st, 2011
9:09 am

Please, please, please all you libs out there. STOP MENTIONING BUSH!!

We are ashamed of him. We followed him blindly. We cheered-on the war like it was a football game. It turned into a major disaster. Bush played us and now we just don’t want to talk about it.

BUSH NEVER EXISTED!! You liberal fools are making things up.

danielle

January 31st, 2011
9:10 am

look at all the angry christian bloggers, shouldn’t ya’ll be planning for your next cross burning, ya’ll’s a bunch of impotent pri**cks hiding in your little cubicles, salivating at your chance to take shots at a woman whose cajones make your’s look like baby raisins.

kayaker 71

January 31st, 2011
9:10 am

Granny,

The truth hurts.

lovelyliz

January 31st, 2011
9:10 am

They lied when Bush was president so why shouldn’t they lie now?!?!?

Peadawg

January 31st, 2011
9:11 am

Granny I’m surprised you can even breathe with your head stuck so far up Cynthia’s behind.

granny godzilla

January 31st, 2011
9:12 am

Coconuts…..coconuts….la de da de dah…..

Rufus

January 31st, 2011
9:15 am

C.T. your using Vanity fair as a news source, more proof of your bias hog wash !

Todd

January 31st, 2011
9:15 am

I knew I smelled something rotten and then Granny shows up.

Oh Please!!!

January 31st, 2011
9:16 am

Just like Obama did during the election, where John McCain made a quick decisive decision regarding the Russian invasion, Obama will dither and wait to find out what the “right” decision is. Then he will persue it and claim the moral high road.

At least he didn’t follow his normal idiocy and make some off-the-cuff comment that’s completely wrong, like he did with Russian invasion. Maybe he should have a beer with Mubarek and the protestors.

Another example of his lack of principals. He makes decisions based on what others think and say; he can’t make a decision based on right and wrong because he lacks the will of his convictions. (Assuming he even has moral convictions).

Obama is my president and I’ll do what I can to support him, but he makes it difficult, and people like Ms Tucker are very selective when viewing his actions (which often don’t agree with his words).

Of course what else could you expect from someone who uses terms like “Bushies,” how lame.