Friday, June 17, 2005

 

Bush looks in mirror, sees Iran

This is rich.
Bush Says Iran's Elections Ignore 'Basic Requirements'

WASHINGTON, June 16 - On the eve of the election in Iran, President Bush declared Thursday that the electoral process there had failed to meet "the basic requirements of democracy" and that the "oppressive record" of the country's rulers would undercut the legitimacy of the vote.

Mr. Bush has made democratization in the Middle East one of the central features of his foreign policy, even at the risk of further inflaming those in the Islamic world who view the United States as meddling in their borders. Administration officials said Mr. Bush was not trying to influence the outcome of the Iranian election as much as he was trying, in the words of one senior official, to "call it what it is."

For weeks, the administration has been debating how to deal with the election in Iran. But Mr. Bush's statement on Thursday, one official noted, made no reference to "regime change," and the president's aides appear to be preparing for the return of Ali Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani as president. Mr. Rafsanjani last was president in 1997.

Though eight candidates are on the ballot, Iran's appointed religious leaders have authority over the elected leaders. Mr. Bush denounced the current government and the method of selecting the next president.

"Today Iran is ruled by men who suppress liberty at home and spread terror across the world," Mr. Bush said in a statement. "Power is in the hands of an unelected few who have retained power through an electoral process that ignores the basic requirements of democracy." He called Friday's election "sadly consistent with this oppressive record."

"Iran's rulers denied more than a thousand people who put themselves forward as candidates," he said, "including popular reformers and women who have done so much for the cause of freedom and democracy in Iran."
This is almost too easy, of course, and I'm not the first person to notice how much Bush is projecting onto Iran precisely what he has been doing himself.

Suppressing liberty and spreading terror. Unelected few, an electoral process that ignores the basic requirements of democracy.

Well, if the shoe fits...

Granted, he's kind of speaking in code, using "Iran" to mean himself.

I didn't realize George W. Bush could be so self-critical.
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