News Release

Claims of Democracy

“You won’t have any problem with Saddam. We’ll be rid of the bastard soon enough. And in his place we’ll install a pro-Western dictator, who will be good for us and for you.”
— U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos, quoted in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, 9/30/02
[Lantos denies saying this, but Ha’aretz, a respected Israeli daily, stands by the quote.] www.newamerica.net/index.cfm?pg=article&pubID=1004
www.townhall.com/columnists/jackkemp/jk20030218.shtml

As the Bush administration and supporters of its policies in the Middle East claim to be seeking democracy in Iraq, the following analysts are available for interviews:

JIM LOBE
A political analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus, Lobe has written extensively about the rise of “neo-conservative” hawks. He said today: “Bush’s speech on Wednesday was particularly significant because he spoke before the American Enterprise Institute. Richard Perle and others at AEI have been advocating — and anticipating — many of the policies Bush is pursuing.” Perle coauthored the 1996 paper “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm” (www.israeleconomy.org/strat1.htm) for Israel’s then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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CHRIS TOENSING
Toensing is editor of Middle East Report and can discuss the formulation of Mideast policy and the prospects for democracy there.
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LAMIS ANDONI
Andoni is an independent journalist and analyst who has covered the Mideast for over two decades. She said today: “U.S. pressure on Arab regimes to support war against Iraq has already resulted in further stifling of freedoms in Arab countries. To appease Washington they are acting against their people’s will and hence suppressing political freedom and banning protests. Bush’s statements make a mockery of the notion of democracy. The people there see that Bush continues to support Ariel Sharon’s military occupation and systematic destruction of Palestinian life, that the U.S. continues to strangle the Iraqi people with the sanctions while talking about the liberation of Iraq. The people of the region see the connection between the U.S. war hawks, the Likud policies and British colonialism. The policies Bush is pursuing are not the solution as the U.S. public is being told, they are what causes the resentment many feel against the U.S. government.”
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GREG PALAST
Author of the book The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Palast points to contradictions of Bush’s pronouncements for democracy while the administration has conducted anti-democratic actions. Palast specifically cites U.S. involvement in the failed coup against the democratically elected government in Venezuela, the purging of black voters in Florida and the continued absence of the democracy in Kuwait promised before the first Gulf War.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167