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Monday, July 17, 2006

Out of the Mouths of Babes and Presidents

George Bush is being roasted in the blogosphere for telling Vladimir Putin that he hoped one day Russia could become as democratic and tolerant of religion and the free press as Iraq is today.

Now, La Russophobe has no problem with roasting George Bush, as readers well know. And certainly, Iraq is a disaster in terms of the standard of living of ordinary people and their public safety. The average Russian has a better level of personal safety and a higher economic standard of living than the average Iraqi, no question about it.

But to be fair to the Moron in Chief, after all, he didn't mention economics or personal safety. He mentioned the two key attributes of democracy, freedom of religion and freedom of the press. Here, does Russia exceed Iraq?

Clearly not.

Now granted, the Moron in Chief was stupid to provide the duplicitous Putin with such an easy avenue to change the subject, to lie and prevaricate, by focusing on the standard of living rather than democracy. The Moron in Chief should have directly challenged Putin to defend his attacks on religion and the press case by case. But that doesn't mean the analogy to Iraq is wrong.

Iraq isn't proudly playing the Sadaam anthem at the Olympics the way Russia is proudly playing the Stalin anthem.

The Iraqi press, and the American press too, is full of front-page revelations about atrocities Americans have committed in Iraq. Do we see such revelations about Russian atrocities in Chechnya, such as those documented by Amnesty International, leading Russian TV broadcasts? We do not.

More and more every day, Alexei II and the Russian Orthodox Church are becoming the official religion of Russia. There is no attempt in Iraq by the government of the country or the government of the United States to suppress or control religion, which is one of the main reasons the war continues there.

The fact is that, as screwed up as Iraq is, Russia is even more screwed up. When Russia is attacked, all the Russophile nutjobs can talk about is how Russia needs "time," yet no time is offered to Bush on Iraq by his critics. Russia needs time to "transition" from the dictatorship of the USSR while Iraq is offered no such time.

And, of course, there is a major difference between Iraq and Russia in that dicatorship has been driven from Iraq in a hot war. In fact, often hot war itself is not even enough to kill off the evils of dicatorship, as we saw in the United States when Jim Crow replaced slavery after the Civil War and when Germany II arose after Germany I fell.

Russia does not face the kind of religious divide between Sunni and Shia that is present in Iraq, yet Russia is intentionally moving backwards into a much darker past than mere religious schism, it is headed back into the darkest days of the USSR, obviously because Russians did not suffer under the USSR enough. Iraq hasn't had the centuries Russia has had to grow and develop, to find its way.

Iraq's future is as unknown today as was Russia's a few years after the fall of the USSR. But Russia's own fate seems more and more sealed.

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