From President Bush’s inaugural address:
“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 for you.”
This, from the 1/26/05 press conference:
Okay, fine, the President shouldn’t have to comment on a case on which he is self-admittedly ignorant. However, nothing excuses this dodge of the follow-up question.
Q Mr. President, let me take you up on that, if I may. Last month in Jordan, a gentleman named Ali Hatar was arrested after delivering a lecture called, "Why We Boycott America." He was charged under section 191 of their penal code for slander of government officials. He stood up for democracy, you might say. And I wonder if here and now, you will specifically condemn this abuse of human rights by a key American ally. And if you won't, sir, then what, in a practical sense, do your fine words mean?
THE PRESIDENT: I'm unaware of the case. You've asked me to comment on something that I didn't know took place. I urge my friend, His Majesty, to make sure that democracy continues to advance in Jordan. I noticed today that he put forth a reform that will help more people participate in future governments of Jordan. I appreciate His Majesty's understanding of the need for democracy to advance in the greater Middle East. We visited with him at the G8, and he has been a strong advocate of the advance of freedom and democracy.
Now, let me finish. Obviously, we're discussing a process. As I said in my speech, not every nation is going to immediately adopt America's vision of democracy, and I fully understand that. But we expect nations to adopt the values inherent in a democracy, which is human rights and human dignity, that every person matters and every person ought to have a voice. And His Majesty is making progress toward that goal. I can't speak specifically to the case. You're asking me to speak about a case that I don't know the facts.
Q Fair enough. If I could just follow up. Will you then -- does your inaugural address mean that when it comes to people like Mr. Hatar, you won't compromise because of a U.S. ally and you will stand --
THE PRESIDENT: Again, I don't know the facts, Terry. You're asking me to comment on something I do not know the facts. Perhaps you're accurate in your description of the facts, but I have not seen those facts. Now, nevertheless, we have spoken out in the past and we'll continue to speak out for human rights and human dignity, and the right for people to express themselves in the public square.
President Bush said in his inaugural address that the promotion and defense of freedom and liberty is “the urgent requirement of our nation’s security, and the calling of our time.” Has Pres. Bush (43) become soft on national security, or, are we supposed to just go along with Pres. Bush’s (41) assertion that his son’s speech was just “rhetorical”? Yeah, just like the Aug. 6, 2001 PDB, “Bin Laden Determined to Attack in the US,” was an historical document and not a warning.