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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

"Astounding Hypocrisy"

The Arab News didn't much like the state of the union speech:

In his address, Bush made no attempt to analyze the motives of the majority of Palestinian electors, demonstrated no insight whatsoever into their agonies and frustrations. Instead he made it clear that though they had held a free and fair election, the Palestinians had made the wrong choice and America therefore had no intention of accepting it. Yet in the very same speech, Bush trotted out his hopes for a democratic Iran and a freely elected government with whom Washington would one day be able to work.

Now at least Bush’s perverse vision of the democratic process is patently clear. A democratic election must produce a government that is acceptable to the White House. Anything else will be rejected. The democratic voice of the people will be ignored unless it is singing the song that Washington wants to hear. This astounding hypocrisy undermines everything America says it is trying to achieve in the region and everything that America once stood for.

Bush's simplistic rhetoric on the magic of free elections has never made sense, and again last night he demonstrated the shallowness of his vision, spouting off statistics on the number of countries that are democracies in today's world without seriously analyzing what it means to be a democracy. It is hardly a new insight that free elections do not make for enlightened leadership, and it is long since time that the Bush administration figured this one out.