Like freedom on the march, only backward

What a difference two years can make.

By Tim Grieve
Published January 11, 2007 2:34AM (EST)

George W. Bush, March 8, 2005: "The chances of democratic progress in the broader Middle East have seemed frozen in place for decades. Yet at last, clearly and suddenly, the thaw has begun. The people of Afghanistan have embraced free government, after suffering under one of the most backward tyrannies on earth. The voters in Iraq defied threats of murder, and have set their country on a path to full democracy. The people of the Palestinian Territories cast their ballots against violence and corruption of the past. And any who doubt the appeal of freedom in the Middle East can look to Lebanon, where the Lebanese people are demanding a free and independent nation. In the words of one Lebanese observer, "Democracy is knocking at the door of this country and, if it's successful in Lebanon, it is going to ring the doors of every Arab regime."

George W. Bush, Jan. 10, 2007: "From Afghanistan to Lebanon to the Palestinian Territories, millions of ordinary people are sick of the violence, and want a future of peace and opportunity for their children. And they are looking at Iraq. They want to know: Will America withdraw and yield the future of that country to the extremists -- or will we stand with the Iraqis who have made the choice for freedom?"

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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