Monday, May 31, 2010

“Lifting Up What We Consider to be the Values”

Via Noam Chomsky, whose writings usually make me want to stab my eyes, I found this year-old quote from our president:

Justin Webb of the BBC: Do you regard President Mubarak as an authoritarian ruler?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I tend not to use labels for folks. I haven't met him; I've spoken to him on the phone. He has been a stalwart ally, in many respects, to the United States. He has sustained peace with Israel, which is a very difficult thing to do in that region, but he has never resorted to unnecessary demagoguing of the issue and has tried to maintain that relationship. So I think he has been a force for stability and good in the region. Obviously there have been criticisms of the manner in which politics operates in Egypt and, as I said before, you know, the United States’ job is not to lecture but to encourage, to lift up what we consider to be the values that ultimately will work not just for our country but for the aspirations of a lot of people.

What if we started giving Mubarak $1.3 billion a year in military aid? Could we “lecture” him then?

Oh wait.

Some detail on how “politics operates in Egypt":
• All media and universities are censored or directly run by the government.
• Egyptians can be arrested for insulting Mubarak or distributing leaflets and posters.
• Egyptian citizens are subject to detention without charge, and trial without legal protection.
• Torture and bribery are frequently practiced by police and security forces.
• Labor strikes are illegal.
• Egypt ranks 111 out of 180 countries in terms of political transparency.
• 16,000 people are currently detained in Egypt without charge.

But hey, there’s an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty to negotiate.

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