Islamisme: Et si l’idiot du village n’était pas celui qu’on croit? (Actions speak louder than words – in defense of shoeless George Bush)

Le multipartisme est une erreur politique, une sorte du luxe que les pays en voie de développement, qui doivent concentrer leurs efforts sur leur expansion économique n’ont pas les moyens de s’offrir. (Abidjan, février 1990)
Ici, le message millénaire de l’islam rejoint l’héritage et les valeurs de la République. Chirac (Grande Mosquée de Paris, avril 2002)
Pendant des décennies le Monde libre a abandonné les musulmans du Moyen-Orient aux tyrans, et aux terroristes, et au désespoir. Et cela au nom de la stabilité et de la paix, mais cette approche n’a apporté ni l’un ni l’autre. Le Moyen-Orient est devenu un incubateur pour le terrorisme et le désespoir, et le résultat a été une augmentation de l’hostilité des musulmans envers l’Occident. Moi, j’ai consacré le cœur-même de ma présidence à l’aide aux Musulmans dans leur lutte contre le terrorisme, la revendication de leur liberté et l’élaboration de leurs propres voies vers la prospérité et la paix. Bush (Centre islamique de Washington, le 27/7/07)

A l’heure où, avec les derniers attentats déjoués de Grande-Bretagne et leurs aussi méprisables que minables « médecins islamistes », s’entrouvre enfin le voile de bonnes intentions et bons sentiments qui (Brown compris) dissimulaient jusqu’ici la vérité sur l’idéologie violente et totalitaire que reste l’islam …

Petit retour sur le parcours du responsable politique qui contrairement aux idées reçues aura probablement été le président américain ou même le dirigeant occidental à avoir le plus fait pour les Musulmans en général tout en ayant été (paradoxe des paradoxes ou ingratitude des ingratitudes?) le plus haï d’eux, à savoir le président George Bush.

Accusé de tous les maux et accablé de toutes les insultes (y compris maintenant… « va-nu-pieds » ou « déchaussé »!), l’idiot désigné du village planétaire n’était certes pas le plus préparé à la tâche herculéenne que lui avait léguée ses prédécesseurs, le beau parleur mais très passif Clinton comme son propre père qui n’avait pas fini le travail en 91.

Ayant fait campagne sur un programme résolument non-interventionniste et élu avec l’infime marge que l’on sait, celui que The Economist baptisera « le président accidentel » s’est retrouvé moins d’un an plus tard, on s’en souvient, avec sur les bras la première attaque ennemie du territoire américain de l’histoire depuis Pearl Harbor (qui n’était d’ailleurs même pas sur le continent américain lui-même).

Et contre toute attente et malgré les sarcasmes, celui-ci se montrera largement à la hauteur de la situation (même si la stabilisation et la reconstruction se révèleront une autre paire de manches) avec les brillantes campagnes d’Afghanistan puis d’Irak qui en quelques semaines et contre les prédictions les plus apocalyptiques et les plus fantaisistes des médias et des observateurs, défirent les régimes parmi les plus effroyables de l’époque récente.

D’où, ce que n’arrivent apparemment toujours pas à comprendre ses critiques même les plus objectifs, les inévitables hésitations, erreurs et revirements (dont probablement cette dernière bizarre proposition d’envoyer – après la Russie il ya deux ans – un observateur à l’Organisation de la Conférence islamique à Jeddah: les EU auraient-ils vocation à se compter un jour parmi les Etats islamiques?) mais aussi avancées qui ont marqué, tout au long de son séjour à la Maison Blanche, son discours et ses discours.

Ainsi, comme le rappellent Daniel Pipes ou Paul Berman, les premiers lieux communs sur l’Islam « religion de paix », puis enfin les allusions à la réalité violente et totalitaire de ladite religion (« califat », « extrémisme islamique » et « Islamofascisme ») et les vibrants appels à la libération et à la démocratisation du Moyen-Orient, mais aussi, après les inévitables difficultés et échecs, le retour aux plus plates et fades des périphrases (« l’extrémisme », « un groupe d’extrémistes »).

Mais, comme le reconnaît lui-même Pipes, qui se souvient aujourd’hui que le grand président Truman dut lui aussi en son temps répondre à la douce appellation de… “marchand de cravates” ou “de bretelles” ?

George Bush aux pieds nus
Daniel Pipes
The New York Sun, 3 juillet 2007

Lorsque Dwight D. Eisenhower consacra le Centre islamique de Washington, D.C., en juin 1957, son discours de 500 mots déborda de bonne volonté («la civilisation doit au monde islamique certains de ses plus importants instruments et de ses principales réalisations»), jusque dans les embarrassantes maladresses du président américain (il déclara ainsi que les Musulmans américains avaient le droit de disposer de leur «propre église»). Il faut relever aussi qu’il ne prononça pas un mot de politique.

Juste 50 ans plus tard, un George W. Bush déchaussé a consacré une nouvelle fois ce même Centre islamique la semaine passée. Son discours de 1600 mots a également vanté la culture islamique médiévale («Nous venons exprimer notre appréciation pour une foi qui a enrichi la civilisation des siècles durant»), mais il savait tout de même faire la différence entre une église et une mosquée. Et son message dépassait le simple cadre de la flatterie.

Il était plus frappant, sans doute, de l’entendre déclarer avoir «consacré le cœur-même de ma présidence à l’aide aux Musulmans dans leur lutte contre le terrorisme, la revendication de leur liberté et l’élaboration de leurs propres voies vers la prospérité et la paix». Comme le signale ce cri du cœur [en français dans le texte], Bush comprend à quel point les actions des Musulmans vont définir son héritage.

S’ils acceptent son rêve et trouvent «leurs propres voies vers la prospérité et la paix», sa présidence, si dévastée qu’elle puisse paraître à l’heure actuelle, aura sa justification. Comme pour Harry S. Truman, les historiens admettront qu’il a été plus clairvoyant que ses contemporains. Mais si les Musulmans étaient les «laissés-pour-compte du mouvement mondial vers la prospérité et la liberté», les historiens poseraient sur ses deux mandats un regard aussi sévère que celui de ses compatriotes contemporains.

Bien sûr, le sort des Musulmans dépend largement de l’évolution future de l’Islam radical, laquelle dépend à son tour de la compréhension qu’en a le président américain. D’une manière générale, avec les années, Bush a plutôt manifesté un meilleur discernement face à ce thème. Il débuta avec des lieux communs et des notions apologiques de l’Islam «religion de paix» – une expression dont il a encore fait usage en 2006. Il lui est même arrivé de dicter aux Musulmans la vraie nature de leur religion, une ambition absurde qui m’incita à le qualifier d’«Imam Bush» en 2001.

À mesure que sa compréhension s’aiguisait, Bush parla de califat, d’«extrémisme islamique» et d’«Islamofascisme». Ce qu’il appelait par euphémisme la «guerre contre la terreur» en 2001, il le qualifiait sans plus d’indulgence en 2006 de «guerre contre des fascistes islamistes». Les choses allaient dans le bon sens. Peut-être que les officiels de Washington commençaient à comprendre, après tout.

Mais ces analyses suscitèrent l’opposition des Musulmans et, à l’approche de son crépuscule politique, Bush a fait retraite sur un terrain plus sûr et est revenu la semaine passée à des métaphores très défraîchies, permettant d’éviter toute mention directe de l’Islam. Ainsi, il évoqua sans élégance «la grande bataille contre l’extrémisme qui se joue actuellement dans tout le Moyen-Orient élargi» et «un groupe d’extrémistes qui tentent d’user de la religion comme d’une voie vers le pouvoir et d’un outil de domination».

Pire encore, le discours annonçait à grands roulements de tambours la désignation d’un envoyé spécial américain auprès de l’Organisation de la conférence islamique, chargé d’«écouter et de s’inspirer» de ses homologues musulmans. Mais, sous ses airs d’ONU strictement musulmane, l’OIC est une organisation parrainée par les Saoudiens pour promouvoir les ambitions wahhabites. Comme l’a relevé Steven Emerson, la lamentable initiative de Bush «ignore totalement le radicalisme rampant, le soutien au terrorisme et les sentiments anti-américains transportés usuellement par les déclarations de l’OIC et de ses dirigeants».

Pour ajouter encore au ton complaisant de l’événement, certaines des principales assistantes du président, y compris Frances Townsend et Karen Hughes, portaient des hijabs de fortune en l’écoutant parmi l’assistance.

Bref, du «déjà vu» et revu. Pour citer Diana West, «presque six ans après le 11 septembre, six ans après avoir proclamé que ‹l’Islam est paix› lors de sa première visite du Centre islamique, M. Bush n’a rien appris». Mais nous avons maintenant moins d’espoir qu’en 2001 de le voir apprendre, absorber et développer une bonne compréhension de la nature de l’ennemi islamiste.

Nous devons conclure qu’il a échoué devant cette question centrale et nous tourner plutôt vers ses successeurs possibles, en espérant les voir reconquérir le bon sens occasionnel de Bush et reprendre les concepts délicats de califat et d’extrémisme islamique. C’est précisément ce que font plusieurs républicains – Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney et (surtout) Fred Thompson. Hélas, les candidats démocrates préfèrent garder un silence à peu près total sur le sujet.

Près de trente ans après la première attaque islamiste contre des Américains et à la veille de trois tentatives d’attentats majeurs en Grande Bretagne, le discours du président révèle bien toute la confusion qui persiste à Washington.

Légende: Frances Townsend (à gauche) et Karen Hughes, les dames en hijab de fortune assises ici au premier rang du Centre islamique de Washington le 27 juin 2007, sont des membres importantes de l’administration Bush.
July 03rd 2007 Posted to Islam

Saddam launched his slaughters 25 years ago, and, in the Western countries, everyone knew, yet most people managed not to see, and no one ever succeeded in organizing a truly mass protest.

A truly large and powerful protest movement took to the streets all over the Western world only in February 2003–and this was not to denounce the terrible dictatorship, but to prevent an invasion from overthrowing the terrible dictatorship. Those were the largest mass protests in the history of the world. Some of the protesters marched in a mood of cautious practicality, fearful that overthrowing Saddam might unleash still worse horrors, or might undermine the manhunt for Al Qaeda. But there was also in those marches, and in the larger mood of the moment, an unmistakable moral fervor–an outraged feeling that invading Iraq was a criminal act.

In the rest of Iraq, the ideological legacy of the Baath party has proved to be lamentably hardy, even among people who were fervent enemies of the Baath–a legacy of anti-liberalism, conspiracy theories, and racist hatreds.

But the Kurds were always an object of Baathist hatred. And this may have permitted the Kurdish provinces to shuck off the larger ideology with relative ease. Then, too, the Kurds have benefited from 13 years of military intervention by U.S. and British forces (and even by the French, at the start).

severe oppression justifies intervention, no matter what other explanations Bush may have offered; that Baathism and radical Islam are extremist movements with a visible link to European fascism and have worked together to achieve their shared ideal, the human bomb; that a great struggle over totalitarian ideas is precisely the issue in Iraq; that Muslim liberals do exist in both Iraq and Afghanistan (though I am willing to be tolerantly flexible about the definition of liberalism, under the circumstances), and merit our support; that liberalism’s gain will be terrorism’s loss; and that every country in the liberal democratic world has a role to play, even if certain passages in the damnable National Security Strategy might suggest otherwise.

the White House itself has become dimly aware of the appeal of these arguments. The president’s speeches have certainly taken to beating an anti-totalitarian tattoo lately, which you would never have predicted from his National Security Strategy or his initial justifications for the war in Iraq.

Some of his speeches have been rather good. I would have applauded him at the Air Force Academy in early June. He laid out a more coherent explanation of the Iraq war than ever before. But these speeches have had no impact. It is because they have come too late, and people don’t know whether to take Bush’s words seriously anymore, and because the newspapers don’t even print these speeches (a big mistake, on their part). Anyway, as a recent convert to the cause of idealism against totalitarianism, the president can never seem to get his new message entirely right.

I have found that, in most places, the best way to call for solidarity is to begin by deploring the policies, character, rhetoric, culture, political tradition, and diplomacy of America’s president. People become surprisingly open-minded if you begin this way.

We could have presented a human rights case to the world, instead of trying to deceive people about weapons and conspiracies–and we would have ended up with more allies, or, at least, with allies who understood the mission.

We could have applied the lessons of Kosovo, which would have meant dispatching a suitable number of soldiers. We could have protected the government buildings and the National Museum, and we could have co-opted Saddam’s army–further lessons from Kosovo. We could have believed Saddam when he threatened to wage a guerrilla war in Baghdad. We could have prepared in advance to broadcast TV shows that Iraqis wanted to watch. We could have observed the Geneva Conventions. (What humiliation in having to write such a sentence!) We could have–but I will stop, in order to ask: What if, in mulling these thoughts,

It is said that Bush should have asked America as a whole to make large efforts and sacrifices–and not just the soldiers and civilian workers who have put themselves in danger.

FIVE LESSONS FROM A BAD YEAR.
Silence and Cruelty
by Paul Berman
The New Republic
06.28.04
http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040628&s=berman062804

One: We have learned that Saddam Hussein’s Baathist dictatorship was just as bad as everyone said, and worse. We have learned about the 300,000 Shia killed after the 1991 war, the perhaps 30,000 people buried in a single grave, the 40,000 marsh Arabs killed, the millions of refugees, and so forth–mass destruction with and without weapons of mass destruction. We have learned about the survivors. In Baghdad, a woman schoolteacher approached George Packer of The New Yorker and said, « Please, sir, can you help me? … I must work with Americans, because my psychology is demolished by Saddam Hussein. Not just me. All Iraqis. Psychological demolition. »

We have certainly learned that most Iraqis do not say, « I must work with Americans. » But we have learned about psychological demolition. We have learned that victims are not always attractive–hardly a new lesson. We have learned that hundreds of political parties have sprouted up, not because democracy is in bloom, but because people have no idea how to proceed. And, so, they attend the sermons of Moqtada Al Sadr, who stands before his congregants dressed in a shroud, in order to prepare his flock to go where he intends to lead them.

We have learned a lesson about social conscience in the modern age–and this, too, is hardly new. In the twentieth century, crimes on the hugest scale took place in the open, yet somehow, through the alchemies of political ideology, the crimes were rendered invisible and thus were allowed to continue unimpeded. This has been Iraq’s experience precisely. Saddam launched his slaughters 25 years ago, and, in the Western countries, everyone knew, yet most people managed not to see, and no one ever succeeded in organizing a truly mass protest.

A truly large and powerful protest movement took to the streets all over the Western world only in February 2003–and this was not to denounce the terrible dictatorship, but to prevent an invasion from overthrowing the terrible dictatorship. Those were the largest mass protests in the history of the world. Some of the protesters marched in a mood of cautious practicality, fearful that overthrowing Saddam might unleash still worse horrors, or might undermine the manhunt for Al Qaeda. But there was also in those marches, and in the larger mood of the moment, an unmistakable moral fervor–an outraged feeling that invading Iraq was a criminal act.

Some of the protesters invoked « just war » theory. In « just war » theory, to invade a country in order to stop massacres currently underway is deemed perfectly just. But to send in armies to rescue the survivors after the massacres have ended is deemed unjust. The marchers in 2003 gazed at Iraq and saw plainly enough that massacres had come to an end. (And logically so: The survivors had already been clubbed into submission, and no Iraqi was going to rise in rebellion ever again.) And the marchers therefore swelled in moral indignation.

Some of the protesters invoked the authority of the United Nations. The United Nations was founded in 1945 in a spirit of anti-Nazism, in order to struggle against every kind of racist and totalitarian state that might reflect Nazi or Nazi-like influences. This has always been a source of the U.N.’s singular prestige. The Baath party, on the other hand, was founded in 1943 (originally in Damascus) in a spirit of pro-Nazism, in order to adapt the racist and totalitarian ideas of Europe for the Arab world. The whole purpose of the United Nations, from a 1945 point of view, is to rid the world of parties like the Baath.

But the United Nations is also a parliament of states, eager to protect its members from one another. In 2003, the United Nations had to choose between humanitarianism and the sanctity of borders. The United Nations chose. And, all over the world, people came to look on the invasion as a terrible wrong yet again–an affront to the moral legitimacy of the parliament of states.

And how did the peace marchers react, afterward, to the mass graves and other discoveries? The abstract principles of « just war » and U.N. legitimacy pressed on one side of the balance and the human realities of extreme suffering pressed on the other. And the abstractions were found to be weightier. That is a main reason why a number of wealthy countries around the world have declined to send aid to the suffering Iraqis, even though everyone can now see how desperate are the needs. It is a matter of principle.

Two: We have learned that, in northern Iraq, the Kurds, for all their suffering (the genocide and gassings of 1988, the 4,000 villages destroyed, the million refugees, et cetera), have nonetheless put together a fairly healthy society, duly appointed with viable opposition parties and newspapers and even wise leaders. These successes owe something to Kurdistan’s difference from the rest of Iraq. In the rest of Iraq, the ideological legacy of the Baath party has proved to be lamentably hardy, even among people who were fervent enemies of the Baath–a legacy of anti-liberalism, conspiracy theories, and racist hatreds.

But the Kurds were always an object of Baathist hatred. And this may have permitted the Kurdish provinces to shuck off the larger ideology with relative ease. Then, too, the Kurds have benefited from 13 years of military intervention by U.S. and British forces (and even by the French, at the start). America is an impatient country, but not always, it turns out, and this is good news.

And so, during this last year we have learned that people who smirk at putting the words « liberal democracy » and « Iraq » into a single sentence ought to reduce their smirk by 20 percent, in proportion to Iraq’s Kurdish population. We have learned that, in Kurdistan, the democratic left has turned out to be especially strong. And we have learned that, in some of the world’s liberal democracies, other democratic leftists couldn’t care less. « They shall not pass » was the slogan of the left in the Spanish Civil War. « Yes, they will, » is the slogan of Spanish socialism today. Iraqi success, as much as Iraqi suffering, turns out to be invisible in the modern world.

Three: We have learned that there are many paths to hell, and one of those paths is called the « National Security Strategy » of 2002. This is the White House document that affirmed U.S. hegemony over everyone else as the national goal and preemptive war as the policy–two ideas that were guaranteed to strike terror in half the world. The statement affirmed, « For most of the 20th century, the world was divided by a great struggle over ideas: destructive totalitarian visions versus freedom and equality. That great struggle is over »–which, in regard to the Muslim world, is simply not the case.

Yet, this most wrongheaded of national security strategies expressed the mentality that governed the invasion–the hubris and the indifference toward waging a battle of ideas. A good many people always dreaded the probable effect of this set of attitudes, and I’m reassured to see, when I glance back at my own writings and statements from the weeks before the invasion, that I, too, warned against Bush’s approach. I participated in a New Republic symposium very much like this present exercise early in March 2003, and I howled piteously about the president’s rhetoric, ignorance, and Hobbesian brutishness, and concluded by declaring myself « terrified » at the dangers he was courting–terrified that American power, stripped of liberal principles, was going to end up as no power at all (« Resolved, » March 3, 2003).

And then, like everyone else who had issued a few warnings, I had to figure out what to do when these warnings turned out to be on the mark. I responded by devoting most of this past year to composing op-eds, conference papers, Q&As, and statements of every shape and size, and lobbing these things into the pages of newspapers and magazines in some 15 or 20 countries in a one-man campaign to minimize whatever sorry consequences the National Security Strategy and sundry related White House policies might be having on world opinion and events in Iraq.

I tried to persuade people that severe oppression justifies intervention, no matter what other explanations Bush may have offered; that Baathism and radical Islam are extremist movements with a visible link to European fascism and have worked together to achieve their shared ideal, the human bomb; that a great struggle over totalitarian ideas is precisely the issue in Iraq; that Muslim liberals do exist in both Iraq and Afghanistan (though I am willing to be tolerantly flexible about the definition of liberalism, under the circumstances), and merit our support; that liberalism’s gain will be terrorism’s loss; and that every country in the liberal democratic world has a role to play, even if certain passages in the damnable National Security Strategy might suggest otherwise.

This, you may say, has surely been a quixotic way to spend a year. But, in distributing these opinions to the world, I have learned one more thing, which is that, in spite of everything you may have heard, opinions like these do enjoy some support, here and there, even among the journalists and intellectuals of Western Europe. I suppose the White House itself has become dimly aware of the appeal of these arguments. The president’s speeches have certainly taken to beating an anti-totalitarian tattoo lately, which you would never have predicted from his National Security Strategy or his initial justifications for the war in Iraq.

Some of his speeches have been rather good. I would have applauded him at the Air Force Academy in early June. He laid out a more coherent explanation of the Iraq war than ever before. But these speeches have had no impact. It is because they have come too late, and people don’t know whether to take Bush’s words seriously anymore, and because the newspapers don’t even print these speeches (a big mistake, on their part). Anyway, as a recent convert to the cause of idealism against totalitarianism, the president can never seem to get his new message entirely right. He goes on about World War II and the early cold war. But the obvious place to begin, if he wants to undo his old errors, is to speak about the principles and lessons of Kosovo.

The people I have encountered around the world who root for liberal victories in Iraq tend to be the very people who dragged their various countries into the Kosovo war. The White House might pause to reflect that reconstructing the alliance of 1999 ought to be a lot easier to do than reconstructing the alliances that defeated fascism in 1945 or formed to combat communism in 1949. But Bush is not going to sing the virtues of the Kosovo war–or has he changed his mind about this, too? In my one-man campaign, therefore, I have thrown in a few extra points, touching on Bush–a few remarks to acknowledge that America’s president does make people cringe, and that, even so, in the wars presently taking place between liberalism and extremism in Iraq and Afghanistan, the liberals do need our aid. I have found that, in most places, the best way to call for solidarity is to begin by deploring the policies, character, rhetoric, culture, political tradition, and diplomacy of America’s president. People become surprisingly open-minded if you begin this way.

To be honest, I have come to notice a weak point in arguments like mine. The weak point rests on a perhaps too-easy assumption that I have tended to make ever since the Kosovo war. This is the assumption that, regardless of a given president’s views, the U.S. military can be counted on to be disciplined, professional, and reasonably skillful at the tasks of modern war. The U.S. military and its allies did seem to be pretty effective in Kosovo–even if the Air Force accidentally bombed the Chinese embassy. They seem to have done well enough in Afghanistan, too–though, maybe in Afghanistan, the other shoe has yet to drop. But the news from Iraq makes me wonder if President Bush’s armed forces are the same armed forces that used to operate so skillfully under (the slitted eyes of tough-guy readers widen in horror) President Clinton. Military professionals can’t outperform their commanders back in Washington, I suppose.

Four: I am dreading what some people claim already to have learned from the blunders in Iraq. Even now, some people are saying: You see! There’s no point in overthrowing dictators by force! (Though many dictators have been forcibly overthrown, to good effect–from Germany to Afghanistan.) And no point in trying to do good for anyone else! (Though humanitarian intervention has had its successes, from Kosovo to East Timor, not to mention Kurdistan.)

The U.S. failure in Somalia led to a different kind of U.S. failure in Rwanda. There will surely be Rwandas in the future–there is one right now in Darfur, Sudan (where the ethnic cleansers come out of the same mix of radical Islamism and Arab nationalism that has caused so much suffering in many other places, including our own places). Who in his right mind is going to call for U.S. intervention? Doubtless, in the future, when things are not so grim for us, some people will, in fact, call for U.S. interventions, and justly so. And yet, other people are going to say, Oh, right, and let’s put Donald Rumsfeld in charge. And this will be a devastating reply.

Five: We have learned that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s axiom–about intelligence as the ability to hold in mind two contradictory thoughts at the same time–has a corollary in the field of emotion. Sometimes you also have to hold in your heart two contradictory emotions. This is difficult. To understand Saddam Hussein and the history of modern Iraq, you have to feel anger–or else you have understood nothing.

But what if, in addition to feeling anger at Saddam (and at Sadr in his shroud, and at Mussab Al Zarqawi with his knife, and at Saddam’s army, which was organizing suicide terrorists even before the invasion), you have also come to feel more than a little anger at George W. Bush? What if you gaze at events in Iraq and say to yourself: Things did not have to be this way. We could have presented a human rights case to the world, instead of trying to deceive people about weapons and conspiracies–and we would have ended up with more allies, or, at least, with allies who understood the mission.

We could have applied the lessons of Kosovo, which would have meant dispatching a suitable number of soldiers. We could have protected the government buildings and the National Museum, and we could have co-opted Saddam’s army–further lessons from Kosovo. We could have believed Saddam when he threatened to wage a guerrilla war in Baghdad. We could have prepared in advance to broadcast TV shows that Iraqis wanted to watch. We could have observed the Geneva Conventions. (What humiliation in having to write such a sentence!) We could have–but I will stop, in order to ask: What if, in mulling these thoughts, you find that angry emotions toward George W. Bush are seeping upward from your own patriotic gut?

Here is the challenge: to rage at Saddam and other enemies, and, at the same time, to rage in a somewhat different register at Bush, and to keep those two responses in proper proportion to one another. That can be a difficult thing to do, requiring emotional balance, maturity, and analytic clarity–a huge effort.

It is said that Bush should have asked America as a whole to make large efforts and sacrifices–and not just the soldiers and civilian workers who have put themselves in danger. The complaint is unfair. Bush has asked a great deal of America. He has asked us to draw on our emotional balance, maturity, and analytic clarity: the qualities that are needed to help us distinguish our feelings about the enemy from our feelings about the commander in chief. To distinguish between outright hatred and a certain kind of contempt. And so we have learned how to do this–the final thing we have learned during this past year. And we will have to go on learning how to do this, perhaps for a few months, perhaps for a few years.

Paul Berman is a writer in residence at New York University and the author, most recently, of Power and the Idealists: Or, The Passion of Joschka Fischer and Its Aftermath (Norton).

Extraits (traduits au babelfish) :

L’Amérique s’est tenue avec des musulmans cherchant à pratiquer librement leur croyance dans des endroits comme la Birmanie et la Chine (…)Les Américains sont venus à l’aide des victimes des tremblements de terre dévastateurs au Pakistan et en Iran, et ont répondu avec urgence et compassion aux destructions du tsunami en Indonésie et en Malaisie. Notre pays a défendu des musulmans en Bosnie et Kosovo après la dissolution de la Yougoslavie. (applaudissements.) Aujourd’hui nous rassemblons le monde pour confronter le génocide au Soudan.

« pendant des décennies le Monde libre a abandonné des musulmans dans le Moyen-Orient aux tyrans, et aux terroristes, et au désespoir. Ceci a été fait dans l’intérêt de la stabilité et de la paix, mais à la place cette approche n’a apporté ni l’un ni l’autre. Le Moyen-Orient est devenu un incubateur pour le terrorisme et le désespoir, et le résultat a été une augmentation de l’hostilité des musulmans envers l’ouest. J’ai consacré le cœur-même de ma présidence à l’aide aux Musulmans dans leur lutte contre le terrorisme, la revendication de leur liberté et l’élaboration de leurs propres voies vers la prospérité et la paix».

Elles ont mis en scène des attaques spectaculaires sur des lieux saints musulmans pour diviser les musulmans et pour les pousser à se combattre les uns les autres. La majorité des victimes de leurs actes de terreur sont des musulmans. En Afghanistan, c’est des professeurs qu’ils ont choisis pour les frapper et les assassiner. En Irak, c’est un jeune garçon qu’ils ont tué, et dont ils ont piégé le corps pour qu’il explose au moment où sa famille viendrait le récupérer. C’est des enfants qu’ils ont mis sur la banquette arrière d’une voiture pour les aider à passer au travers d’un point de contrôle, et puis ils ont tout fait sauter la voiture avec les enfants dedans. Ces ennemis ont attaqué une réception de mariage à Amman, Jordanie, un immeuble d’habitation en Arabie Saoudite, un hôtel à Jakarta. Ils prétendent entreprendre ces actes de boucherie et de mutilation au nom d’Allah. Pourtant cet ennemi n’est pas le vrai visage de l’Islam, cet ennemi est le visage de la haine.

Et si nous le savons, c’est à cause des 8 millions de personnes qui ont bravé les menaces et l’intimidation pour voter en Afghanistan. C’est à cause des presque 12 millions de personnes qui sont venus voter dans des élections libres en Irak. Et si nous le savons, c’est parce que le monde a vu comment les citoyens du Liban ont brandi la bannière de la Révolution de cèdre, renvoyer chez eux leurs occupants syriens, et se sont choisis de nouveaux chefs dans des élections libres.

Même encore maintenant l’espoir de la liberté se fait sentir dans les coins les plus reculés du Moyen-Orient — chuchotant dans les salles de séjour et les cafés, et dans les salles de classe. Des millions sont en quête d’un avenir où ils pourront dire ce qu’ils pensent, voyager là où ils le souhaitent, et adorer comme il le choisissent. Ils revendiquent silencieusement leur liberté — et ils espèrent que quelqu’un, quelque part leur répondra.

Alors aujourd’hui, dans cet endroit de culte libre, au coeur d’une nation libre, nous disons à ceux qui aspirent à la liberté de Damas à Téhéran : Vous n’êtes pas liés pour toujours àvotre misère. Vous n’avez plus à revendiquer silencieusement. Le Monde libre vous entend. Vous n’êtes plus seuls. L’Amérique vous offre sa main dans l’amitié. Nous travaillons pour le jour où nous pourrons vous souhaiter la bienvenue dans la famille des nations libres. Nous prions que vous et vos enfants puissiez un jour connaître la liberté en tout, y compris la liberté d’aimer et adorer le Dieu tout-puissant.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/06/20070627-2.html

Office of the Press Secretary
June 27, 2007

President Bush Rededicates Islamic Center of Washington
The Islamic Center of Washington
Washington, D.C.

THE PRESIDENT: Imam, thank you very much. Thank you for inviting me. I bring my personal respect to you, sir. And I appreciate your friendship. I do want to thank the governors of the Islamic Center. I welcome the Ambassadors. Thank you all for coming. I appreciate other distinguished guests who are here. It is an honor to join you at this rededication ceremony.

As the Imam mentioned, half a century has passed since one of our great leaders welcomed the Islamic Center into our nation’s family of faith. Dedicating this site, President Dwight D. Eisenhower offered America’s hand in friendship to Muslims around the world. He asked that together we commit ourselves « to peaceful progress of all men under one God. »

Today we gather, with friendship and respect, to reaffirm that pledge — and to renew our determination to stand together in the pursuit of freedom and peace. We come to express our appreciation for a faith that has enriched civilization for centuries. We come in celebration of America’s diversity of faith and our unity as free people. And we hold in our hearts the ancient wisdom of the great Muslim poet, Rumi: « The lamps are different, but the light is the same. »

Moments like this dedication help clarify who Americans are as a people, and what we wish for the world. We live in a time when there are questions about America and her intentions. For those who seek a true understanding of our country, they need to look no farther than here. This Muslim center sits quietly down the road from a synagogue, a Lutheran church, a Catholic parish, a Greek Orthodox chapel, a Buddhist temple — each with faithful followers who practice their deeply held beliefs and live side by side in peace.

This is what freedom offers: societies where people can live and worship as they choose without intimidation, without suspicion, without a knock on the door from the secret police. The freedom of religion is the very first protection offered in America’s Bill of Rights. It is a precious freedom. It is a basic compact under which people of faith agree not to impose their spiritual vision on others, and in return to practice their own beliefs as they see fit. This is the promise of our Constitution, and the calling of our conscience, and a source of our strength.

The freedom to worship is so central to America’s character that we tend to take it personally when that freedom is denied to others. Our country was a leading voice on behalf of the Jewish refusniks in the Soviet Union. Americans joined in common cause with Catholics and Protestants who prayed in secret behind an Iron Curtain. America has stood with Muslims seeking to freely practice their beliefs in places such as Burma and China.

To underscore America’s respect for the Muslim faith here at home, I came to this Center six days after the 9/11 attacks to denounce incidents of prejudice against Muslim Americans. (Applause.) Today I am announcing a new initiative that will improve mutual understanding and cooperation between America and people in predominately Muslim countries.

I will appoint a special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. This is the first time a President has made such an appointment to the OIC. (Applause.) Our special envoy will listen to and learn from representatives from Muslim states and will share with them America’s views and values. This is an opportunity for Americans to demonstrate to Muslim communities our interest in respectful dialogue and continued friendship.

We have seen that friendship reflected in the outpouring of support Americans have extended to Muslim communities across the globe during times of war and natural disaster. Americans came to the aid of the victims of devastating earthquakes in Pakistan and Iran, and responded with urgency and compassion to the wreckage of the tsunami in Indonesia and Malaysia. Our country defended Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo after the breakup of Yugoslavia. (Applause.) Today we are rallying the world to confront genocide in Sudan. Americans of all beliefs have undertaken these efforts out of compassion, conviction, and conscience.

The greatest challenge facing people of conscience is to help the forces of moderation win the great struggle against extremism that is now playing out across the broader Middle East. We’ve seen the expansion of the concept of religious freedom and individual rights in every region of the world — except one. In the Middle East, we have seen instead the rise of a group of extremists who seek to use religion as a path to power and a means of domination.

These self-appointed vanguard — this self-appointed vanguard presumes to speak for Muslims. They do not. They call all Muslims who do not believe in their harsh and hateful ideology « infidels » and « betrayers » of the true Muslim faith. This enemy falsely claims that America is at war with Muslims and the Muslim faith, when in fact it is these radicals who are Islam’s true enemy. (Applause.)

They have staged spectacular attacks on Muslim holy sites to divide Muslims and make them fight one another. The majority of the victims of their acts of terror are Muslims. In Afghanistan, they have targeted teachers for beatings and murder. In Iraq, they killed a young boy, and then booby-trapped his body so it would explode when his family came to retrieve him. They put children in the backseat of a car so they could pass a security checkpoint, and then blew up the car with the children still inside. These enemies bombed a wedding reception in Amman, Jordan, a housing complex in Saudi Arabia, a hotel in Jakarta. They claim to undertake these acts of butchery and mayhem in the name of Allah. Yet this enemy is not the true face of Islam, this enemy is the face of hatred.

Men and women of conscience have a duty to speak out and condemn this murderous movement before it finds its path to power. We must help millions of Muslims as they rescue a proud and historic religion from murderers and beheaders who seek to soil the name of Islam. And in this effort, moderate Muslim leaders have the most powerful and influential voice. We admire and thank those Muslims who have denounced what the Secretary General of the OIC called « radical fringe elements who pretend that they act in the name of Islam. » We must encourage more Muslim leaders to add their voices, to speak out against radical extremists who infiltrate mosques, to denounce organizations that use the veneer of Islamic belief to support and fund acts of violence, and to reach out to young Muslims — even in our country and elsewhere in the free world — who believe suicide bombing may some day be justified.

We need to rally the voices of Muslims who can speak most directly to millions in the Arab world left behind in the global movement toward prosperity and freedom. For decades the free world abandoned Muslims in the Middle East to tyrants, and terrorists, and hopelessness. This was done in the interests of stability and peace, but instead the approach brought neither. The Middle East became an incubator for terrorism and despair, and the result was an increase in Muslims’ hostility to the West. I have invested the heart of my presidency in helping Muslims fight terrorism, and claim their liberty, and find their own unique paths to prosperity and peace.

The efforts underway in Afghanistan and Iraq are central in this struggle, but that struggle is not going to end the threats; it’s not going to end there. We believe the ultimate success of Afghans and Iraqis will inspire others who want to live in freedom, as well. We will work toward a day when a democratic Palestine lives side by side with Israel in peace. (Applause.) We have already seen stirrings of a democratic future in other parts of the Middle East, though it will take time for liberty to flower. A democratic future is not a plan imposed by Western nations, it is a future that the people of the region will seize for themselves. A future of freedom is the dream and the desire of every loving heart.

We know this because of the 8 million people who braved threats and intimidation to vote in Afghanistan. We know this because of the nearly 12 million people who cast ballots in free elections in Iraq. And we know this because the world watched as the citizens of Lebanon raised the banner of the Cedar Revolution, drove out their Syrian occupiers, and chose new leaders under free elections. Even now the hope for freedom is felt in some dark corners in the Middle East — whispering in living rooms, and coffee houses, and in classrooms. Millions seek a path to the future where they can say what they think, travel where they wish, and worship as they choose. They plead in silence for their liberty — and they hope someone, somewhere will answer.

So today, in this place of free worship, in the heart of a free nation, we say to those who yearn for freedom from Damascus to Tehran: You are not bound forever by your misery. You plead in silence no longer. The free world hears you. You are not alone. America offers you its hand in friendship. We work for the day when we can welcome you into the family of free nations. We pray that you and your children may one day know freedom in all things, including the freedom to love and to worship the Almighty God.

May God bless you.

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