Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Bush at Freedom House, Haney with "The Unit"

On March 29th, President Bush spoke – really repeated recent speeches – on Iraq, energy, and the march of democracy and freedom.

What he didn’t discuss was any timetable even to begin withdrawing forces from Iraq.

On the other hand, he stayed for questions which touched on Iraq, energy dependence, democracy and freedom, Lebanon, Palestine-Israel, Japan-U.S. relations, and immigration.

He even “waxed philosophical,” forcefully reiterating his belief that deep in the soul of every person is a yearning for individual freedom, free societies, and free market economies. He reaffirmed that the driving force behind his foreign policy is his personal belief that it is America’s mission to encourage freedom’s spread. Yet he ducked a question about free elections in Egypt.

When asked about backsliding by President Putin of Russia, Bush spoke of his remonstrations with Putin. At the same time, he reminded his listeners that Russia and the U.S. must work together in multilateral fora to accomplish mutual goals. Similarly, noting that China’s President Hu will soon be in Washington, Bush commented that when freedom is involved – as with Tibet – he is quite candid about the visits of the Dali Lama to the White House.

Syria and Iran came up primarily in terms of non-interference in Iraq’s evolution as a free society. Syria was excoriated for not controlling its borders and for continuing to back terrorist organizations opposed to Israel. Iran was also condemned for supporting terror organizations, but its main sin remains its nuclear program. On this point, while not divulging substantive content, Bush disclosed that the President of the Security Council (in March 2006, Argentina, a non-permanent member) would be sending a letter to Tehran. Clearly, this is less than the White House wanted, but it was undoubtedly the limit right now on what Moscow and Beijing would accept.

There is, however, the question of how much the U.S. public is ready to accept from an administration and a White House that call for other countries to open their processes and decisions to the scrutiny of the global community while, at the same time, it hides and classifies so much of what it does that it is opaque.

And its not just the liberals, progressive, independents, and Democrats who are demanding more transparency from this White House. In a March 26 Daily News (Los Angeles) interview, retired Command Sergeant Major Eric Haney, a charter member of the U.S Delta Force and author of the book on which the television series “The Unit” is based, blasted the entire Iraq enterprise.

“Utter debacle.”

“Bush may well have started the third world war>

“[O]ur credibility is utterly zero.”

“Our military is completely consumed….The harm that has been done is irreparable”

“It’s [torture] about vengeance, it’s about revenge, or it’s about cover-up….It’s an act of cowardice.”

Finally, “Their [the current U.S. administration] lies are coming home to roost now, and it’s gonna fall apart….We’re seeing this current house of cards start to flutter away.”

Is it pure coincidence that one very prominent“card” – the president’s chief of staff Andrew Card – announced his resignation on March 28th?

(To see the Haney comments in full, go to http://www2.dailynews.com/entertainment/ci_3641046 )

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