Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Arianna Huffington

Bush in China: Giving Lie to His "Freedom Agenda"

Nov. 21 -- While we continue to uncover more and more about the lies and deceptions the Bush administration used to lead us to war in Iraq, let's not lose sight of the lies and deceptions that are being used to keep us there -- namely, the idea that we are sacrificing American lives in the name of spreading democracy, freedom, and human rights throughout the world.

For proof of how utterly insincere this claim is -- and how empty is George Bush's lofty rhetoric on the subject -- all you need to do is look at the kid glove treatment he gave the Chinese during his visit. Business and trade issues such as preventing movie pirating were clearly at the top of the president's agenda. Freedom, democracy, and human rights were reduced to throat clearing preliminaries. Hey, who has time to worry about dissidents being locked up when the new "Harry Potter" flick is being stolen?

"President Hu is a thoughtful fellow. He listened to what I had to say," Bush told reporters after his meeting with Hu. For his part, the thoughtful Chinese leader refused to allow any questions from the U.S. press throughout Bush's visit.

And the Chinese media did not cover the visit Bush made to a Protestant church. Maybe it's just as well. What would Chinese Christians have made of the president's claim that they were "worshiping in a way that is able to call upon the Almighty to help them through their lives"? Can somebody please tell me what that drivel is supposed to mean? Is it even possible to worship in a way that doesn't involve calling upon the Almighty to help you through your life? Isn't that kind of the definition of prayer?

So, what did Bush have to say during their meeting that Hu thoughtfully listened to? Apparently very little about China's ongoing human rights abuses and violations of religious freedom. For instance, according to yet another anonymous administration official, Bush only "alluded" to the list of imprisoned dissidents maintained by the U.S. government during his meeting with Hu. How do you "allude" to human rights abuses, anyway? Did Bush pull out a photo album from Abu Ghraib and say, "I'll show you mine if you show me yours"? Whatever "alluding" to means, it had such little impact on Hu that, unlike when Condi Rice visited China in March, the Chinese government didn't even feel compelled to release a single dissident.

But no matter. Bush went so far as to give Hu a pat on the back for his willingness to even say the words "human rights" and "democracy" out loud. "I thought," said the president, "it was very interesting in his comments that he talked about human rights." What exactly was "interesting" about Hu's bald-faced lie that "Notable and historic progress has been made in China's development of a democratic political system and human rights"? It's a statement not only refuted by the latest reports from Human Rights Watch but by the Secretary of State herself who earlier this month called China one of the worst violators of religious freedom in the world.

So why was the president so willing to give Hu a pass? Was it the announcement during the first night of the president's visit that China had agreed to buy 70 new 737 jets from Boeing? Perhaps that's what the president was "alluding" to when he said that Hu took democracy "on board in a very thoughtful manner." [emphasis mine]

Now contrast this stark human-rights-and-democracy-take-a-back-seat-to-business approach to the president's soaring rhetoric from his second inaugural address, when he announced "the calling of our time": "the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in the world." (He obviously forgot to note the exceptions to this calling of our time):

"We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right." (I guess the choice becomes less clear when the U.S. has close to a $200 billion trade deficit with the oppressor in question, and when that oppressor has become the second largest holder of U.S. debt.)

"America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies." (But we do reserve the right to pretend that the bullies jailing these dissidents are "thoughtful fellows.")

"All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you." (Okay, we might ignore your oppression... but only until we put an end to this movie pirating thing.)

"Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country." (So hang in there, we'll get around to pushing for your release. Eventually).

The hollowness of Bush's human-rights-only-when-it's-convenient approach is made even more shameful when you remember how his supposed role model, Ronald Reagan, dealt with the issue of dissidents when he visited the Soviet Union in May 1988. He didn't "allude" to Soviet dissidents -- he met with them, face-to-face at the American ambassador's residence.

"While we press for human rights through diplomatic channels," Reagan told the gathering of 98 dissidents, "you press with your very lives, day in, day out, year after year, risking your jobs, your homes, your all."

But Bush didn't press. He pedaled. The Chinese media lavished much attention on an hour-long ride the president took with prospective members of the Chinese Olympic mountain biking team. Too bad he didn't turn the workout into a two-fer by leading the riders -- and the cameras -- on a tour of some of the human rights activists, journalists, and religious dissidents the Chinese government has locked away over the years.

For Bush, freedom isn't just another word for nothing left to lose... it's just another word to be used when it's politically expedient.

Bush's "calling of our time" clearly has plenty of exceptions for thoughtful thugs -- I mean, fellows.


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