Friday, October 07, 2005

Critique of Bush's Speech

President Bush gave a new speech about the war on terror yesterday, and it turned out to be the same set of mumbo-jumbo that he always says. He began with his usual tactic of misinformation: citing September 11 as connected to the war in Iraq. Juan Cole takes him to task for this and many other points of deception and confusion. For example, Cole cites this passage from the speech:
"The influence of Islamic radicalism is also magnified by helpers and enablers. They have been sheltered by authoritarian regimes, allies of convenience like Syria and Iran that share the goal of hurting America and moderate Muslim governments . . ."
And Cole then writes:
This line is the most lunatic thing in Bush's speech. It is outrageous. It is the Big Lie. Syria has a secular Baath Arab nationalist government. The regime killed 10,000 Muslim activists at Hama in 1982. It tortured al-Qaeda members for the United States after September 11. Syria, a small country of only 18 million, has no ability to harm the United States and it most certainly is not in alliance with radical Muslim fundamentalists!

As for Iran, its brand of fundamentalism is Shiite. Al-Qaeda is made up of Sunnis and Wahhabis, who despise Shiites. Iran supports the new, Shiite-dominated government in Iraq. It supported the Jan. 30 elections. It supports the new constitution and the referendum. Iran hated the Taliban and very nearly went to war against them, backing the Northern Alliance instead. The Shiite Iranians hate the radical Salafis like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who has called for a war of extermination against the Shiites.

Bush's attempt to conflate the regimes he doesn't like with al-Qaeda makes nonsense of his whole vision.
Read the rest of Cole's critique. It's worth it.


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10/07/2005 10:31 AM  
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10/07/2005 10:34 AM  

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