George Bush often makes provocative statements, not very convincing anymore to most Americans but it probably helps rally his conservative base. One unintended consequence is that his words are often construed worldwide as cynical, imperial and militaristic. Occasionally I catch a quote from him that could easily have been said by the other side, his enemy du jour.
Wasn’t it just last August that Iran’s President Ahmadinejad stated “I have authorized our military commanders in Iran to confront Washington’s murderous activities”? No, it wasn’t. It was actually President Bush who said “I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran’s murderous activities” but with just a slight change of wording, it could have been just as provocative a comment made by Iran’s President. And boy, would we Americans have been pissed. I wonder what the Iranians think when they hear a statement like that coming from our President. I’ll betcha they get pissed. I’m sure such statements are welcomed by President Ahmadinejad; they work so well to rally his base.
Another quote from President Bush: “While there are many dangers in the world, the threat from Iraq stands alone – because it gathers the most serious dangers of our age in one place. By its past and present actions, by its technological capabilities, by the merciless nature of its regime, Iraq is unique.” Change Iraq to U.S. and out pops a statement that will have a large portion of the world nodding its collective head in agreement.
October 7th, 2002, President Bush and his pre-war speech about Saddam Hussein: This same tyrant has tried to dominate the Middle East, has invaded and brutally occupied a small neighbor, has struck other nations without warning, and holds an unrelenting hostility toward the United States. Today, President Ahmadinejad speaks of exactly the same threats of hostility toward Iran – by that brutal invader and occupier, the United States.
It is not surprising that both Iran and North Korea intensified their uranium enrichment efforts given the incendiary words that the President preached in their direction.
It is not surprising that China, Russia and even Venezuela are stepping in to provide aid and trust wherever the U.S. has left a vacuum in those departments.
It is not surprising that by the President’s choice of words alone, the U.S. is seen by many not as a purveyor of freedom, but as a cynical bully whose only real interests lie in the Middle East oil fields.