June 19, 2006

Strong reactions to President Bush's plans for the Muslim world (Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, to name a few)

Recently there has been serveral surprising responses to President George W. Bush and his new trend of diplomacy with Iran and his spreading of democracy in the Muslim world.

It was over a month ago when The Forward reported that Jewish activist groups asked President Bush to stop promising to defend the Israelis from the Iranians:
"Jewish community leaders have urged the White House to refrain from publicly pledging to defend Israel against possible Iranian hostilities, senior Jewish activists said." (here)
Perhaps the groups do not want the President to put ideas in the Iranians' heads! Especially if they are enriching uranium...

It was nearly three months ago that Conservative Christian groups had a strong reaction to Bush and his converting (so to say) the Muslim world to democracy. New York's The Forward also reported this, saying,
"With support for President Bush already at record lows, some Christian conservative leaders say that they are reconsidering their support for the administration's push to democratize the Muslim world. Religious conservatives spent the past few weeks urging the White House to stop an Afghan court from executing Abdul Rahman, a convert to Christianity who is accused of violating Islamic law. After complaints from American officials, the case was dismissed. But the controversy left the Christian Right questioning the Bush administration's assumption that Muslim countries can become democratic even while adhering to Islamic law and Muslim customs."
Meanwhile, President Bush said at the West Point military school graduation the following about his hopes for the Muslim world:
The United States is "pursuing a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East. I believe the desire for liberty is universal -- and by standing with democratic reformers across a troubled region, we will extend freedom to millions who have not known it -- and lay the foundation of peace for generations to come." (here)
It will be interesting to watch President Bush continue to spread democracy in the middle east. Afghanistan has fallen out of the news, except for the occasional car-bomb. Most Americans do not know about the government and rebuilding that Afghanistan is to go through. NATO is providing security in Afghanistan while it is being largely rebuilt. There are 9700 troops in Afghanistan now and there are plans to increase that number up to 15,000. 42 countries are helping out in the coalition in Afghanistan; the 26 members of NATO, plus 16 other countries. NATO has outlined its mission in Afghanistan, which includes mentoring and supporting the Afghan national army; supporting Afghan government programs to disarm illegally armed groups; supporting the Afghan national police; and supporting Afghan government and internationally-sanctioned counter-narcotics efforts. (information gathered here and here) The ladder link is the entire plan outlined by NATO.

In other news, FEMA announced its plan to cut cash payments to future disaster victims. Nice, huh? The plan has been erected because of claims of fraud. 13-WHAM reports,
"Federal Emergency Management Agency Director David Paulison says debit cards for food, clothing, shelter and transportation will be worth $500, instead of the $2,000 handed out after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. At least $7,000 people signed up for the FEMA debit cards last year. But congressional auditors say as much as 16 percent of that aid was used by scammers to buy everything from a Caribbean vacation to pro football tickets. Auditors say some 750 debit cards -- $1.5 million -- may not even have gone to storm survivors. Paulison says a new system to I.D. victims should cap some of that fraud, too." (here)


And, over the past few days North Korea has announced plans to launch and test a rocket. White House spokesman Tony Snow told CNN if the test is done, the U.S. "will have to respond properly and appropriately." He did not elaborate. We will have to see how the U.S. handles this baby-- it will foreshadow how the U.S. may handle the monster of Iran's making and testing weapons.

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