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Friday, February 11, 2011


As former CIA director Woolsey  emerges on CNN to credit the Bush Freedom Agenda for its role in Egypt uprising, I offer a few points in the off chance that history may trump ideological commitment and actions may be considered as well as words:

1) Lets be clear about what our foreign policy elite means when they say that "Egypt has been helpful to us in the War on Terror". It means that we have relied on Egyptian security forces to do "interrogations" of terror suspects that we brought to Egypt precisely to avoid American laws against torture. That is right, the very security forces that the democracy demonstrators in Egypt have reserved their harshest language for, were the people that from 9/11 until his retirement the Bush team utilized for their "enhanced interrogation methods". It is shameful that even as we mourn for protesters killed in these weeks of protests by these security forces, we hear those who relied on these same forces try to credit themselves with a role in the protest's success.

2) It is beyond dispute that the most repressive regime in the Arab world is Saudi Arabia. Government funds from Saudi Arabia bankroll the Wahabi extremism that across the world has served, and continues to serve, as an incubator for terror. Nearly all of the 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Yet with all of this reality the Bush administration, far from confronting this regime, the United States maintained its decades long partnership with this regime, even while we invaded Iraq as part of our Freedom Agenda.

3) It remains a simple fact that the clearest contribution that the United States made to the wave of protest that started in Tunisia and carried to Egypt was blunt American cables leaked by Wikileaks detailing Tunisian corruption. In other words, the most significant step towards Arab democracy was aided by what our leaders regularly describe as our worst diplomatic error.

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