Bush Speaks Up for Jailed Reporter!

Journalist linked top officials in faith-based government to political assassinations—oops, this is the Iranian reporter he's defending

Striking a blow for press freedom, George W. Bush's handlers released a statement Tuesday condemning Iran's jailing of Akbar Ganji.

Meanwhile, Judith Miller of the New York Times rots in jail, unable to contact Ahmed Chalabi for more details on Saddam Hussein's massive WMD stockpiles.

akbar-ganji-105mug.jpgSupport for Ganji (left) just proves that there's no place the Bush regime won't rove in the pursuit of capital—political and otherwise. And Bush himself apparently doesn't flinch when confronted with prisoners stripped of their rights. Or even if they're forced to wear underwear on their heads.

Ganji's plight is a worthy cause, although cockroaches are streaming out of the right-hand side of the kitchen to creep onto his bandwagon. He's been at it for years, pestering the Iranian mullahs about their involvement in political assassinations. But the heightened pressure on journalists these days—they're getting killed overseas, sometimes by U.S. troops—simply reflects the growing brutality toward human beings in many parts of the world. (Reporters Without Borders keeps good tabs on journos' dilemmas.)

However, in light of non-reader Bush's striking defense of those who write, I can't help plugging in the Wayback Machine to take a trip to 1947, when President Harry Truman and editorial writers were decrying the Soviet Union's rigging of elections in Eastern Europe.

Particularly galling to black Americans at the time was the president's March 12, 1947, speech to Congress that helped kick off the George Kennan-inspired Cold War containment concept. In his Truman Doctrine announcement, the president said:

    At the present moment in world history nearly every nation must choose between alternative ways of life. The choice is often not a free one. One way of life is based upon the will of the majority, and is distinguished by free institutions, representative government, free elections, guarantees of individual liberty, freedom of speech and religion, and freedom from political oppression.

    The second way of life is based upon the will of a minority forcibly imposed upon the majority. It relies upon terror and oppression, a controlled press and radio, fixed elections, and the suppression of personal freedom. I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.

Days later, the NAACP's magazine Crisis (at the time an eloquent and dynamic voice, though ignored by most of America, much like today's Black Commentator) wryly noted:

    Mr. Truman and the American people can peer far beyond the seas, wring their hands, and choke with rage at an election in Poland, but they are strangely dumb at a similar election in South Carolina or Mississippi.

"Strangely dumb." Reminds me of another American president.


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