Friday, December 05, 2008

Mission accomplished

Today, Bush used the R word (“Today’s job data reflects the fact that our economy is in a recession.”) and gave one of his “legacy” speeches summarizing his Middle East (cough) accomplishments. It was a victory speech: “the Middle East in 2008 is a freer, more hopeful, and more promising place than it was in 2001”.

Shrub of Arabia says he has “had the privilege to see the Middle East up close. I have stood on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and I’ve hiked the cliffs of Masada. I’ve enjoyed dinner in the desert of Abu Dhabi, and prayed at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.” And he has learned one thing: don’t eat dinner in the desert of Abu Dhabi, the sand tends to get in your food.

I’LL BET HE SAW INTO THEIR SOULS: “I have looked into the eyes of courageous elected leaders from Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories.”

WAIT, THERE WAS AN EASY OPTION IN IRAQ? “When Saddam regimes -- regimes fell -- when Saddam’s regime fell, we refused to take the easy option and install a friendly strongman in his place.”

SOME OF THEM EVEN STILL ATTACHED TO HANDS: “We see the new story of the Middle East in Iraqis waving ink-stained fingers”.

WHAT’S GROWING LOUDER: “Across the region, conversations about freedom and reform are growing louder.” Conversations about figs tend to grow louder, and end in gun-fire: it’s the freaking Middle East.

I’m not going to quote this thing extensively. If you want to learn about how we brought about a new enlightened age of democracy and religious freedom, stared down Libya and Iran, etc etc, read the transcript. I will just end with these words of smug, totally unearned self-congratulation: “Yet the changes of the past eight years herald the beginning of something historic and new. At long last, the Middle East is closing a chapter of darkness and fear, and opening a new one written in the language of possibility and hope. For the first time in generations, the region represents something more than a set of problems to be solved, or the site of energy resources to be developed. A free and peaceful Middle East will represent a source of promise, and home of opportunity, and a vital contributor to the prosperity of the world.”

So, yay, we won.

(Update: Juan Cole, naturally, has a detailed demolition
of the speech.)

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