Saturday, September 01, 2007

Setting the Record Straight

A while back I was visiting RedState, and somebody provided this LINK and I remembered to bookmark it. I get discouraged a lot of times when I am reading other poster’s comments, and I click over to this link to get a perspective I will never get from reading anything from the MSM. As an aside, another source of great information about Iraq is now being provided by Jeff .

I’ve read the text of a speech Pres. Bush gave at an American Legion forum in Reno, NV, and also a previous speech he gave at a VFW forum in Kansas City, MO. To the American Legion audience Pres. Bush spelled out the situation between the US and the radical extremists we are fighting today. To the VFW audience Pres. Bush recalled the situation between the US and Japan in 1945.

Of course the MSM reported on these speeches, but they always fail to report in the central message and points that President Bush makes. They always seem to threadjack their reports over this or that quibble they have with his speeches. It is frustrating to me that the President has some important things to say to the country, and he does not have the speaking skills to do it.

Known Facts Today

The Violent Islamic Radicalism That Inspires Extremists In The Middle East Has Two Main Strains. Allowing these forces of radicalism to drive America out of the Middle East could result in disaster for the region's people, danger to our friends and allies, and a direct threat to American peace and security.

  1. The First Strain Is Sunni Extremism, Embodied By Al Qaeda And Its Terrorist Allies. These extremists hope to impose their dark vision across the Middle East by raising up a violent and radical caliphate that spans from Spain to Indonesia. They kill fellow Muslims in places like Algeria, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia in an attempt to undermine their governments. And they kill Americans because they know we stand in their way – they attacked U.S. Embassies in Africa in 1998, attacked the USS Cole in 2000, killed nearly 3,000 people on 9/11, and plot to attack us again.

  1. The Second Strain Is Shia Extremism, Supported And Embodied By Iran's Government. Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, and the United States is working with friends and allies around the world to confront the danger presented by actions of Iran's government. Iran's leaders threaten the security of nations everywhere by:
    • Actively pursuing technology that could be used to develop nuclear weapons;
    • Arresting visiting American scholars who have committed no crimes and pose no threat to their regime;
    • Backing Hezbollah terrorists who are trying to undermine the democratic government of Lebanon;
    • Funding the terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which murder the innocent, target Israel, and destabilize the Palestinian territories;
    • Sending arms to the Taliban in Afghanistan, which can be used to attack American and NATO troops and Afghan civilians; and
    • Sending arms to extremists in Iraq that are used against Coalition and Iraqi troops, and Iraqi civilians.

These Two Dangerous Strains Of Extremism Vying For Control Of The Middle East Have Now Closed In On Iraq In An Effort To Bring Down Its Young Democracy

Sunni Extremists, Led By Al Qaeda, Are Staging Sensational Attacks On Innocent Men, Women, And Children In Iraq In An Attempt To Stoke Sectarian Violence. These violent extremists' ranks include foreign fighters from a variety of countries in the region who travel to Iraq through Syria. Their operatives have killed those seeking to build a new future for the Iraqi people, and their operations seek to create images of chaos and carnage to break the will of the American people. Their targets include everyone they consider infidels – including Christians, Jews, Yezidis, Shia, and even fellow Sunnis who do not share their radical distortion of Islam.

Shia Extremists, Backed By Iran, Are Training Iraqis To Carry Out Attacks On Our Forces, The Iraqi Government, And The Iraqi People. Members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force are supplying extremist groups with funding and weapons, including sophisticated improvised explosive devices (IEDs). With the assistance of Hezbollah, they have provided training for violent forces active inside Iraq.

  • The Attacks On Our Bases And Our Troops Using Iranian-Supplied Munitions Have Increased In The Last Few Months – Despite Pledges By Iran To Help Stabilize The Security Situation In Iraq. Recently, Coalition forces seized 240-millimeter rockets that had been manufactured in Iran this year and provided to Iraqi extremist groups by Iranian agents.
  • The Iranian Regime Must Halt These Actions At Once. Some say Iran's leaders are not aware of what members of their own regime are doing. Others say Iran's leaders are actively seeking to provoke the West. Either way, Iranian leaders bear the responsibility for aiding attacks against Coalition forces and the murder of innocent Iraqis.

The Momentum Is On Now Our Side In Iraq – Our New Strategy Is Seizing The Initiative From Our Enemy, And Giving It To The Iraqi People

Our New Strategy Is Showing Results In Better Security.

  • Sectarian violence has sharply decreased in Baghdad.
  • Since January, we have killed or captured an average of more than 1,500 al Qaeda terrorists and other enemies of Iraq's elected government each month
  • Al Qaeda is being displaced from former strongholds in Baghdad, Anbar, and Diyala provinces.
  • We have conducted operations against Iranian Qods Force agents whose group supplies lethal munitions to extremist groups.
  • We have targeted Iranian-backed Shia militants and their supply networks – and Prime Minister Maliki has courageously committed to pursue them.

Our New Strategy Is Resulting In Encouraging Developments At The Local Level, And As Iraqis Take Control Over Their Lives At The Local Level, They Will Demand More Action From Their National Leaders In Baghdad. In the cities and neighborhoods where they live, Iraqis are increasingly reaching accommodations with each other, with the Coalition, and with the government in Baghdad. This reconciliation is coming from the bottom up; it is having an impact in the fight against the enemy; and it is building a solid foundation for a democratic Iraq.

  • In Anbar – The Province That Had Been Called "Lost" To The Enemy – Increasing Numbers Of Local Sunnis Have Turned Against Al Qaeda. Local sheikhs have joined with American forces to drive the terrorists out of the capital city of Ramadi, and elsewhere, residents are providing critical intelligence, and tribesmen have joined the Iraqi police and security forces.
  • Many Iraqis Who Once Felt Marginalized Are Rejoining The Political Process. Virtually every city and town in the province now has a mayor and a municipal council, and local officials are forming ties with the central government in Baghdad because these Sunni leaders now see a role for their people in the new Iraq. In an encouraging sign, the central government is beginning to respond with funding for vital services and reconstruction, and with increased security forces.
  • In Other Provinces, There Are Also Signs Of Bottom Up Progress. For example, in Diyala province, the city of Baqubah re-opened six of its banks, providing residents with capital for the local economy. And in Ninewa province, local officials have established a commission to investigate corruption, with a local judge empowered to pursue charges of fraud and racketeering.

Iraq's Government Still Has More Work To Do To Meet Many Of Its Legislative Benchmarks, But It Is Also Important To Note That Many Of The Goals Behind These Benchmarks Are Being Achieved Without Legislation. For example, the national government is already sharing oil revenues with provinces – despite the fact that no formal law has been passed.

Known Facts in 1945

At the outset of World War II there were only two democracies in the Far East -- Australia and New Zealand. Today most of the nations in Asia are free, and its democracies reflect the diversity of the region. Some of these nations have constitutional monarchies, some have parliaments, and some have presidents. Some are Christian, some are Muslim, some are Hindu, and some are Buddhist. Yet for all the differences, the free nations of Asia all share one thing in common: Their governments derive their authority from the consent of the governed, and they desire to live in peace with their neighbors.

Along the way to this freer and more hopeful Asia, there were a lot of doubters. Many times in the decades that followed World War II, American policy in Asia was dismissed as hopeless and naive. And when we listen to criticism of the difficult work our generation is undertaking in the Middle East today, we can hear the echoes of the same arguments made about the Far East years ago.

In the aftermath of Japan's surrender, many thought it naive to help the Japanese transform themselves into a democracy. Then as now, the critics argued that some people were simply not fit for freedom.

Some said Japanese culture was inherently incompatible with democracy. Joseph Grew, a former United States ambassador to Japan who served as Harry Truman's Under Secretary of State, told the President flatly that -- and I quote -- "democracy in Japan would never work." He wasn't alone in that belief. A lot of Americans believed that -- and so did the Japanese -- a lot of Japanese believed the same thing: democracy simply wouldn't work.

Others critics said that Americans were imposing their ideals on the Japanese. For example, Japan's Vice Prime Minister asserted that allowing Japanese women to vote would "retard the progress of Japanese politics."

It's interesting what General MacArthur wrote in his memoirs. He wrote, "There was much criticism of my support for the enfranchisement of women. Many Americans, as well as many other so-called experts, expressed the view that Japanese women were too steeped in the tradition of subservience to their husbands to act with any degree of political independence." That's what General MacArthur observed. In the end, Japanese women were given the vote; 39 women won parliamentary seats in Japan's first free election. Today, Japan's minister of defense is a woman, and just last month, a record number of women were elected to Japan's Upper House. Other critics argued that democracy -- (applause.)

There are other critics, believe it or not, that argue that democracy could not succeed in Japan because the national religion -- Shinto -- was too fanatical and rooted in the Emperor. Senator Richard Russell denounced the Japanese faith, and said that if we did not put the Emperor on trial, "any steps we may take to create democracy are doomed to failure." The State Department's man in Tokyo put it bluntly: "The Emperor system must disappear if Japan is ever really to be democratic."

Those who said Shinto was incompatible with democracy were mistaken, and fortunately, Americans and Japanese leaders recognized it at the time, because instead of suppressing the Shinto faith, American authorities worked with the Japanese to institute religious freedom for all faiths. Instead of abolishing the imperial throne, Americans and Japanese worked together to find a place for the Emperor in the democratic political system.

And the result of all these steps was that every Japanese citizen gained freedom of religion, and the Emperor remained on his throne and Japanese democracy grew stronger because it embraced a cherished part of Japanese culture. And today, in defiance of the critics and the doubters and the skeptics, Japan retains its religions and cultural traditions, and stands as one of the world's great free societies.

You know, the experts sometimes get it wrong. An interesting observation, one historian put it -- he said, "Had these erstwhile experts" -- he was talking about people criticizing the efforts to help Japan realize the blessings of a free society -- he said, "Had these erstwhile experts had their way, the very notion of inducing a democratic revolution would have died of ridicule at an early stage."

Instead, I think it's important to look at what happened. A democratic Japan has brought peace and prosperity to its people. Its foreign trade and investment have helped jump-start the economies of others in the region. The alliance between our two nations is the lynchpin for freedom and stability throughout the Pacific. And I want you to listen carefully to this final point: Japan has transformed from America's enemy in the ideological struggle of the 20th century to one of America's strongest allies in the ideological struggle of the 21st century.

1 comment:

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