Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Why did Bush cut & run from a free press in Egypt?

Chris in Paris, AmericaBlog.com: This sounds a lot like Bush I abandoning the Iraqis who jumped up when the US said "I have you covered" during the first Gulf War. If Bush II wants to talk about democracy he's going to have to actually back up his talk with action because just like in Iraq after the Gulf War, people who heed the call and stand up will pay a very severe price. The Egyptians who promoted an independent press after listening to Bush are now being arrested and threatened with jail.

Two days later, on Sept. 13, Eissa and three other newspaper editors were hauled into court and sentenced to a year in prison for publishing articles critical of Mubarak; his son and presumed heir, Gamal; and other government officials. It was the biggest single assault on the press in Mubarak's quarter-century in power and one of the worst blows in years to media freedom in the Arabic-speaking world.

Yet there was no reaction from the State Department or the White House, which Kassem once credited with helping to create the space his newspaper occupied. "We were getting air cover from the Bush administration," the publisher told me. "But when the fighting started last month they were not out there with us in the outposts. Instead, they effectively said, 'You are on your own.' It's put us in a very difficult position -- and I mean all of us who supported democracy in the greater Middle East."

If the US has any interest in democracy and remaining friendly with Egypt into the future, we have to do better than this but since when has Bush ever really cared about democracy or a free press? So is Bush going to stand up for the three journalists in Egypt who were just sentenced to prison for "damaging the image of justice" whatever that's supposed to mean?

LSB: "damaging the image of justice"? Can you recall any American leader in our history that has damaged the image of justice more than Bush? What a laugh!

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