Thursday, August 31, 2006

The ideological struggle of the 21st century

Bush addressed the American Legion in Salt Lake City today.
His rhetoric about Iraq is not getting less messianic over time: “the battle for Iraq is now central to the ideological struggle of the 21st century.” So how was that vacation, George? Catch a lot of fish? Get a good rest from the ideological struggle?

“Ideological struggle,” by the way, is his new favorite phrase.

He admits that there are “radicalized followers of the Sunni tradition” and “radicalized followers of the Shia tradition,” and “homegrown” terrorists, but insists that these all “form the outlines of a single movement, a worldwide network of radicals that use terror to kill those who stand in the way of their totalitarian ideology. And the unifying feature of this movement, the link that spans sectarian divisions and local grievances, is the rigid conviction that free societies are a threat to their twisted view of Islam.” Also, they’re all secretly controlled by the Trilateral Commission. Because, honestly, what’s a good conspiracy theory without the Trilateral Commission? And Freemasons.

There’s an interesting new twist to The History of the Middle East According to a Man Who Couldn’t Find It on a Map: he’s still saying that religious extremism and terrorism developed in the Middle East because the US (it’s always all about the US, of course) was only interested in apparent stability and calm. Now he says that this was actually the correct policy at the time: “we were fighting the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and it was important to support Middle Eastern governments that rejected communism.”

But that was then. Now it’s democracy time, because democracies are peaceful and “focus on building roads and schools -- not weapons of mass destruction.” I forget, who has the biggest stockpile of WMDs in the world?

Now here’s a sentence that... oh, words fail me: “Dissidents with the freedom to protest around the clock are less likely to blow themselves up during rush hour.”

“Our enemies saw the transformation in Lebanon and set out to destabilize the young democracy.” Again, it’s all about us: “our enemies.”

“I appreciate the troops pledged by France and Italy and other allies for this important international deployment. Together, we’re going to make it clear to the world that foreign forces and terrorists have no place in a free and democratic Lebanon.” Er, except for foreign forces from France and Italy and...

The terrorists are totally wrong about everything, except when they agree with me, because if you can’t trust bin Laden’s judgment, whose judgment can you trust?:
Here at home we have a choice to make about Iraq. Some politicians look at our efforts in Iraq and see a diversion from the war on terror. That would come as news to Osama bin Laden, who proclaimed that the “third world war is raging” in Iraq. It would come as news to the number two man of al Qaeda, Zawahiri, who has called the struggle in Iraq, quote, “the place for the greatest battle.” It would come as news to the terrorists from Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and other countries, who have to come to Iraq to fight the rise of democracy. It’s hard to believe that these terrorists would make long journeys across dangerous borders, endure heavy fighting, or blow themselves up in the streets of Baghdad, for a so-called “diversion.”
Hey, American soldiers went to Iraq because there were supposed to be weapons of mass destruction; Rick went to Casablanca for the waters: people make mistakes, they are misinformed. You’ve never traveled a long distance for a crappy vacation someplace you thought would be fun?

Bush says that until we intervened in the Middle East, it was on a path where “a generation from now, our children will face a region dominated by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons.” Which may or may not be true, but what an insult to an entire region. As is this: “Or we can stop that from happening, by rallying the world to confront the ideology of hate, and give the people of the Middle East a future of hope.” Note the verb: we are the givers, they the passive receivers. Thus, when he says that freedom is a gift from the Almighty...

(Update: A Tiny Revolution links to video of what I missed by only reading the transcript: “This war will be difficult, this war will be long, and this war will end in the defeat of the terrorists of tola-tera-tera-to-totalitarians.” Banana-fo-fana.)

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