Bush Was Right

This would be a good day to quote and laugh at some of the many racist articles written over the past few years that warned us not to “inflame the Arab Street”, that rhetorical mass of undifferentiated savages that “we” created by interfering in the Noble Civilizations of the region with our Imperialist Adventures, and the articles that warned us not to “impose our Western values” on the people of Middle East.

But it is a better day to quote and nod at the words of George W. Bush:

Perhaps the most helpful change we can make is to change in our own thinking. In the West, there’s been a certain skepticism about the capacity or even the desire of Middle Eastern peoples for self-government. We’re told that Islam is somehow inconsistent with a democratic culture. Yet more than half of the world’s Muslims are today contributing citizens in democratic societies. It is suggested that the poor, in their daily struggles, care little for self-government. Yet the poor, especially, need the power of democracy to defend themselves against corrupt elites.

Peoples of the Middle East share a high civilization, a religion of personal responsibility, and a need for freedom as deep as our own. It is not realism to suppose that one-fifth of humanity is unsuited to liberty; it is pessimism and condescension, and we should have none of it.

We must shake off decades of failed policy in the Middle East. Your nation and mine, in the past, have been willing to make a bargain, to tolerate oppression for the sake of stability. Longstanding ties often led us to overlook the faults of local elites. Yet this bargain did not bring stability or make us safe. It merely bought time, while problems festered and ideologies of violence took hold.

As recent history has shown, we cannot turn a blind eye to oppression just because the oppression is not in our own backyard. No longer should we think tyranny is benign because it is temporarily convenient. Tyranny is never benign to its victims, and our great democracies should oppose tyranny wherever it is found.

I originally quoted and linked to this speech back in 2003. Thank you to Squander for reminding me to do so again.


  1. Terry C
    Posted 23Feb11 at 01:28 | Permalink

    Nice to hear from you again, Pooter!

  2. BJT
    Posted 19Mar11 at 05:11 | Permalink

    This is all correct but this wasn’t why we went into Iraq. There were special interests involved. We were still lied to on the front of WMD’s.

  3. Posted 25Mar11 at 18:17 | Permalink


    I thought it was pretty clear at the time that this was a large part of the reason why Bush went into Iraq. The WMD stuff was more Blair’s preoccupation — because Blair believes you shouldn’t do anything without getting the UN on side and so had to try and convince the UN on purely legalistic grounds regarding the breaking of UN resolutions. So Bush had to spend over a year talking about WMD in order to keep Blair on side. But go back and read the coverage from just after 9/11, and you see that Bush made the decision to take out Saddam before any of this stuff about WMD started appearing.

    That aside, I still don’t believe we were lied to. Bush announced the invasion of Iraq a full fifteen months before it started, and most of those fifteen months were spent talking about WMDs. If the police raided a drug dealer’s house fifteen months after warning him they were going to, they wouldn’t find any contraband there either.

    I also don’t care if we were lied to. I don’t know who started this modern notion that the Government’s supposed to share all its foreign intelligence secrets with the public, but it’s ridiculous. Until there’s some way for the Prime Minister to accurately identify every loyal and trustworthy British subject and have a quiet word with them and them only, safe in the knowledge that none of it will go any further, we’re going to get lied to about military intelligence. This is good and right.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tom Chatfield, Damian Counsell. Damian Counsell said: PooterGeek: Bush Was Right – This would be a good day to quote and laugh at some of the many racist articles written… http://ow.ly/1bjzVe […]

  2. By About face « wongaBlog on 22Feb11 at 15:59

    […] Blair and George Bush used to talk about the virtues of democracy in the middle east, and this used to be because they were evil […]

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