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Bush's Middle East Democracy Tour. Let Them Eat Cake

George Bush's democracy/schamocracy photo-op tour in the Middle East is gratefully terminating now in Cairo. From the La Times,

"President Bush on Wednesday praised Egypt as making progress toward "greater political openness."He made no mention of the Egyptian government's continued crackdowns on dissent and the jailing of an opposition presidential candidate....

This is the latest of a series of flattering and fawning statements by the leader of the free world which have future donations to his Freedom Institute in Dallas written all over them.

Michael Hirsh of Newsweek has more on this democracy "hypocrisy":

A day after George W. Bush gave his big democracy speech and declared the opening of "a great new era ... founded on the equality of all people"--a line he delivered at the astonishingly opulent Emirates Palace hotel, where most of the $2,450-a-night suites are reserved for visiting royals--the president flew to Saudi Arabia on Monday. There he planned to spend a day with King Abdullah at his ranch, where the monarch keeps 150 Arabian stallions for his pleasure, and thousands of goats and sheep "bred to feed the guests at the King's royal banquets," as the White House put it in the "press kit" it handed out to reporters on the eve of the president's eight-day Mideast tour. Bush was also expected to take time out to meet with a group of "Saudi entrepreneurs."

What could not be found on Bush's schedule was one Saudi dissident or political activist, much less a democrat.

'Whatever it is, I'm Against it' continues:

Yesterday Bush met with some Saudi entrepreneurs, because "It's important for the president to hear thoughts, hopes, dreams, aspirations, concerns from folks that are out making a living."

He said, "I love the fact that some of you were educated in America. I think you'll find you got a good education there, but more importantly, Americans get to see you, and you get to see them." You get to see them looking nervously at you in restaurants, crossing hurriedly to the other side of the street, looking around for a cop.

He said, "One thing that's for certain: the United States benefits when people come to my country," adding, "especially those fifteen 9/11 guys that came from here, they really saved my bacon"

The last part of the speech Bush actually didn't say but the rest of his speech was no less unreal.

Wasn't it Ronald Reagan who publicly called the Nicaraguan Contra leaders "the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers" (privately he called them "thugs"). Bush's public praise on these medieval tyrants is no less unctuous and harms us in the eyes of real democrats and those struggling to obtain democracy around the globe.

Let's give the last word on the futility of Bush's obsequious middle east tour to..

Hisham Kassem, an Egyptian political activist who last year received a U.S. National Endowment for Democracy award, was left dispirited by Bush's tour.

Anger grew in his voice. "Bush, as far as American foreign policy vis-a-vis democracy, civil rights, is right back to square one," Kassem added. "This trip marks it."

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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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