Mideast Protests and President Bush's 'Freedom Agenda'

Monday, February 07, 2011

Egyptian anti-government demonstrators wave their national flag as they gather at Cairo's Tahrir Square on February 6, 2011 on the 13th day of protests calling for the ouster of President Mubarak. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images/Getty)

As political unrest spreads across the Middle East, analysts here in the United States wonder whether and how U.S. policy has influenced the protestors. How does the U.S.’s increasing role in the Middle East since 9/11 — in Afghanistan, Iraq and in the Israel-Palestine conflict — relate to the current political instability in the reigon?

Elliott Abrams, senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, was a deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration. He believes the protests in Egypt and throughout the Middle East confirm President Bush’s beliefs about freedom in the Arab world.

Guests:

Elliott Abrams

Comments [3]

JIm Burchell from Madison, NJ

Elliot Abrams preaching about Democracy!? I wish you had pressed him more about his role in Central America. See the excerpt below Wikipedia about how he promoted democracy in El Salvador. I wonder how the 5,000 victims of the El Mozote massacre by the Salvadoran military financed and trained by the US government, felt about Abrams' perception of democracy and the 'fabulous achievement" of his and Reagan's death squad democracy policy in El Salvador.

Why no mention of his conviction in the Iran/Contra scandal for withholding information from Congress or that the first president Bush pardoned Abrams for his crimes?

I have broken tortillas with families in Northern Nicaragua who remember the terror and their losses due the violence brought down upon them by the contras financed and trained by Reagan's government and Abrams policies.

Please challenge such obvious hypocrisy especially by one of the biggest hypocrites of the all.

Jim Burchell

"In early 1982, when reports of the El Mozote massacre of civilians by the military in El Salvador began appearing in U.S. media, Abrams told a Senate committee that the reports of hundreds of deaths at El Mozote "were not credible," and that "it appears to be an incident that is at least being significantly misused, at the very best, by the guerrillas."[12] The massacre had come at a time when the Reagan administration was attempting to bolster the human rights image of the Salvadoran military. Abrams implied that reports of a massacre were simply FMLN propaganda and denounced U.S. investigative reports of the massacre as misleading. In March 1993, the Salvadoran Truth Commission reported that 5,000 civilians were “deliberately and systematically” executed in El Mozote in December 1981 by forces affiliated with the Salvadoran state.[13] Also in 1993, documentation emerged suggesting that some Reagan administration officials could have known about El Mozote and other human rights violations from the beginning.[14] However, in July 1993, an investigation commissioned by Clinton secretary of state Warren Christopher into the State department’s "activities and conduct" with regard to human rights in El Salvador during the Reagan years found that, despite the department's mistakes handling El Mozote, its personnel “performed creditably and occasionally with personal bravery in advancing human rights in El Salvador.”[15] Abrams himself claimed that Washington’s policy in El Salvador was a ”fabulous achievement.”[16]

Feb. 07 2011 01:32 PM
Hannah J from rural Kansas

Oh, Please! Eliot Abrams!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-zogby/politics-and-nonsense-on_b_819067.html
Bush is not in any way responsible for this Egypt development. I agree with the above poster!

Feb. 07 2011 11:51 AM
amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

It would be HILARIOUS to consider GW Bush's "calls for democracy" during his days of cowboy military adventure in any way positive, but rather pernicious to that very end. Yee haw!!

Just as time heals all wounds, so, too, does time push memories away, and like the Reagan revisionism that is currently happening, GW Bush's history as a mostly failed president might be revised as well.

Finally, to Mr. Abrams, it might be true that the Obama admin. doesn't have as his priority the democratic rights activists in Syria, but frankly neither has any other president in memory.

Feb. 07 2011 09:43 AM

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