Monday, December 19, 2005

Democratic Iraq -- First and Only in the Arab World


U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH really does get it, I think, even if many of his countrymen don't. For it is not only America's victory, but that of the Iraqi People to have established the First and Only Constitutional Democracy in the Arab World. DARN, if that doesn't count for something. Speaking to the nation from the Oval Office for only the first time since announcing the start of military operations in Iraq three years ago, President Bush brought back, front and center, the matter of the recently held Iraqi Parliamentary Elections -- with its huge turnout from all the major ethnic and religious groups in Iraq. "Constitutional Democracy at the heart of the Middle East" he said, calling the Iraqi elections a "landmark day in the history of Liberty." Philippine Commentary covered that historic event three days ago in OUR LOVE GOES TO DEMOCRATIC IRAQ., a momentous event in the Middle East that mirrors the Philippines' own distinction as the First and Oldest democracy in Southeast Asia. (June 12, 1898). President Bush tells the anecdote of an Iraqi voter holding up his purple finger to cameras and calling it a "thorn in the eye of the terrorists." Also of Iraqis being asked by reporters, "Are you Shias? Are you Sunnis?" -- only to get the proud riposte -- "I AM IRAQI!" But that historic event in Iraq was pushed off the front pages by the publication in the New York Times of a highly controversial report revealing the existence of a White House-approved covert intelligence operation that involved the use of wiretaps without Court Orders. Philippine Comnmentary's post on the US Wiretapping controversy is here. The President's speech Sunday night in the Oval Office was already the second in the two days since the New York Times story was published, whose mischievous timing has attracted rants and raves from the more militant of Bush defenders. (We here in the Archipelago wholeheartedly accept that the Main Stream Media does things for many reasons, not all of them patriotic or intellectually honest, but that's Democracy.). In the first speech Saturday, Bush directly and forthrightly addressed the US wiretappng controversy, which we have noted wryly, is in stark contradistinction to the frustratingly opaque style of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the matter of Gloriagate. Coverage of the news and commentary following Bush's prime time speech is here at MEMEORANDUM.

UPDATE:(2200) Well better late than never, but it looks like PAJAMAS MEDIA has a roundup on the President's speech. (It's a startup, whaddya expect? We'll have to email the Manolo and ask how they're doing...)

15 comments:

Rizalist said...

A WARM WELCOME TRAVELER! Do you have news from the Front? What in the world is going on?

R. O. said...

But aren't Turkey and Egypt democratic enough? I thought Turkey was the first lab for democracy in the Arab world.

Rizalist said...

xp--Turks are Muslims, but they are NOT Arabs. As for Egypt, why, that's a DICTATORSHIP last time I checked.

R. O. said...

Okay, I take back Egypt. :) I stand corrected there.

R. O. said...

I was hoping to point out that, with the example of Turkey, democracy can be done, if not in the Arab world, then at least in the Muslim world, or in countries where Muslims are, say, non-moderate.

Rizalist said...

My favorite saying of George Bush was from a speech to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 12, 2002: "LIBERTY IS GOD'S GIFT TO EVERY MAN, NOT AMERICA'S!"

Paul said...

Don't forget Israel.

Rizalist said...

Who can forget the Chosen People and the strongest democracy in the Middle East? But I don't believe any of the Twelve Tribes count themselves as Arabs.

Major Tom said...

I hope freedom and progress for Iraq is really the bottomline of President Bush's Gulf War II. Otherwise, there is still that fear that he may be just skinning the wrong cat in his war against terrorism.

Rizalist said...

Welcome Major Tom, I think its like someone gave birth. No matter what father and mother INTEND, there is a reality about the baby's life, with its own logic, its own context, that is not completely in their control any more. Even if we could all agree on everything, we still have to make sure the IRAQIs agree too. THAT won't be easy. That's the part beyond victory, that's the peace that can't be won by arguments or guns alone. We can't put the baby back in the mother. I think it's good to have a democratic Iraq in the Middle East. That is where the terrorists of the 20th century arose. The 9/11 attackers were Saudis and Egyptians. Not Afghanis. No wonder, before three days ago, they were all dictatorships and monarchies there. They still are, save Iraq and Israel. Even America had 10 years of chaos after 1776. In 2016, what should Baghdad look like? I'd like to see it be like Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. With Saddam Hussein, that could not be imagined. Now we can even imagine for all of the Middle East. Iraq is a project like Japan or Germany. Hard and long but worth it!

Jon Mariano said...

George Bush is a hardliner for his beliefs. Many disagree with him (with many of his views and policies) but he believes on what he does.

The difference between him and Gloria is that GMA need not believe in what she is doing, she does them as long as it is going to serve her purposes.

Well, George might fall because of his belief in his wiretapping acts, but still he believes in it. You have to admire a man who stands by his beliefs.

As to Gloria, you can admire her pitbull-like hold on her presidency.

Rizalist said...

Hey, don't insult the PIT BULLS, Jon!

Karl M. Garcia said...

Going to Iraq project

Japan
until now Chinese hate them like hell(just ask the family of the pinoys mistaken for japs)

Germany
only neighbor who questions them today is the UK

UK major ally of US now in project Iraq

Rizalist said...

The Philippines has been downgraded from FREE to PARTLY FREE in the 2006 Freedom House Report. Because of Gloriagate!

Amadeo said...

Arabs, Jews, Turks, Muslims, etc. All too confusing for any outsider.

I do know that Arabs and Jews all belong to one big group, Semites, that dates back to antiquity.