. . . Friday January 21, 2005

The Freedom Fighter

A funny thing happened on the way to freeing the world forever from the grip of tyrants and dictators…

I heard a few pundits and presidential historians describe the President’ inaugural address as radical. It was really only radical when one compares it to W’s actual actions and demeanor during his first term.

Take a look at this outtake:

America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies. We will encourage reform in other governments by making clear that success in our relations will require the decent treatment of their own people.

America’s belief in human dignity will guide our policies. Yet rights must be more than the grudging concessions of dictators. They are secured by free dissent and the participation of the governed. In the long run, there is no justice without freedom, and there can be no human rights without human liberty.

I’ve got to admit, this is pretty much how I think our government should behave. And it’s not altruism. Like the President’s speech writers, I do believe that a liberated world is a safer world.

One of the words that President Bush didn’t utter during his speech was Iraq. And yet, the speech can easily be read as an explanation for our actions related to that country.

But that is not how the war was sold. And we never had a public debate about whether or not the spread of freedom by way of an optional war is the way we want to move forward.

Once the dust had cleared, freeing the Iraqi people was the last in a long list of war marketing messages that was left standing.

And what of all of the other countries who have little respect for human rights? It seems to me that our treatment of foreign governments over the past four years has been much more closely tied to their support of W’s use of military force than to their internal treatment of their own citizens.

So I liked parts of the speech. But I’m not too sure that the direction W has taken us gets us any closer to the vision he described.

I wonder if his speech writers ever plan to run for office?

Concentration is important!