“Second Inaugural Address,” spoken by George W. Bush, 2005 Presidential Inauguration, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,144976,00.html, 20 January 2005.
The next line is what caused me to stop in the first part. Bush obviously shifts to Iraq, and I needed to think a bit if I wasn’t going to ignore it. So I walked to the post office and found my lost sunglasses, and now.. back to blogging!
The paragraph is short, and the first sentence sets the stage for the second. Bush talks about American resolve on his watch. He is focusing on Iraq with sidelighting for North Korea. Iraq is split into two areas — Bush’s resolve in military matters and America’s resolve to change the nation.
Bush’s resolve is clear. The Iraq War has been a constant drain on his popularity, yet he has not distanced himself from it. During the campaign he went out of his way to associate himself with it, which cost him politically. Yet it did not cost him his office. Bush has showed them that he (and by extension any American President) can stand up to them. That America can take more than a thousand of fatalities and thousands of casualties and respond by attacking, attacking, attacking.
America also has resolve as a great power. America supports its friends and prosecutes its enemies. Condi Rice’s dual-track political-military strategy worked for this. When there was political troulbe in Iraq in April, the U.S. sought to accomodate its enemies. Muqtada al-Sadr was not arrested for murder, and Fallujah was not seized. This acted like a conditional amnesty: those that wished to established themself as friendly had an opportunity to do so.
Sadr responded by converting his organization into a political apparatus and making his base of power, Sadr City, as one of the happiest and safest places in the nation.
Sunnis responded by escalating their brutal and murderous civil war.
Now there is concrete proof that the Shia will ever benefit from this, while the Sunnis will be ever hurt. The U.S. is becoming increasingly pro-Shia, to the extent that it enables free movement of Iranians into Iraq. Baghdad, former home to the Sunni Caliphate, shall soon be the capital of a Shia state that looks forward to the return of the Occulted Imam. We had the resolve to rearrange the world to help those who help us.
The North Korea jab is also a shot at Kerry. DPRK made no secret that were hoping for a software, weaker, more islated Ameica under Kerry. They chose poorly. Now a U.S. Representative in Seoul publicly states that an invasion of North Korea (and implied “reeducation” of its leaders) by the People’s Republic wouldn’t be so bad. North Korea and the Ba’athists-Salafists messed with Texas.
My most solemn duty is to protect this nation and its people against further attacks and emerging threats. Some have unwisely chosen to test America’s resolve, and have found it firm.
A bifurcated paragraph. Point one establishes the universality of freedom over all times and places. The second is a jab at Burma’s military government, an overzealous application of Sharia, and thuggery.
We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right. 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.
The greatest call for human rights from an American President since Jimmy Carter. However, note a persistent feature of Bush rhetoric. No mention of “human rights.” Instead, “human dignity.” This pre-dates 9/11. My impression is that Bush fears “human rights” have been coopted by Europeans and social liberals to mean a licentious and economically controlled society.
More importantly, we seek a structural change. Short-term government decrees of freedom do not serve our purposes. We want to establish free expression and the participation of the governed. He didn’t say democracy. Hong Kong and, historically, Muhammed’s Medina “consulted” the governed. Regimes don’t have to end. But they have to listen to their people and set themselves on the right track in the right direction.
States like Singapore and China which are growing structurally more free are models for others to follow. Egypt, Libya, and Iraq are on the right track by not censoring the internet. Uzbekistan, which temporarily grants freedom when it wishes, and Venezuela, which is dismantling it, should not think that their regimes will always be acceptable.
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.
We are living in a great democratic revolution. Since the 1960s Empires have been crumbling. Brtish, French, Portuguese, Dutch, and Soviet systems have crumbled. Likewise, tyrannies are unacceptable. There can be no permanent tyranny. (The paranoid will note that Leo Strauss warned of a permanent tyranny and what must be done to prevent it).
Some, I know, have questioned the global appeal of liberty – though this time in history, four decades defined by the swiftest advance of freedom ever seen, is an odd time for doubt. Americans, of all people, should never be surprised by the power of our ideals. Eventually, the call of freedom comes to every mind and every soul. We do not accept the existence of permanent tyranny because we do not accept the possibility of permanent slavery. Liberty will come to those who love it.
To the hopeless: we are on your side. No nation is more of a “hopeless tyranny” than North Korea. The next few sentences are meant to scare regime leaders.
Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world:
All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.
About ten percent of North Korean flag officers have defected to either the People’s Republic or the United States since Bush took office. They are a military government in exile. Note the mention to prison….
Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country.
And what are the plans of our friends, those leaders in exile?
The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.”
“Ruh roh.” War is not inevitable. But it requires systemic changes in government. These will not be easy — new habits have to be learned. And it means the end of autarcky. Because we will be escorting them. Immediate and total change is not necessary. But the journey must be begun.
The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: To serve your people you must learn to trust them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side.
Free societies must attack their enemies together. When I heard this, I thought of George Soros’ Open Society Institute. While there is internal deliberation about the best course of action, the U.S., the E.U., and OSI worked together to bring democracy to George and the Ukraine. This effort should continue.
And all the allies of the United States can know: we honor your friendship, we rely on your counsel, and we depend on your help. Division among free nations is a primary goal of freedom’s enemies. The concerted effort of free nations to promote democracy is a prelude to our enemies’ defeat.