Today at the press conference, President Bush attempted to defend the fact that he hasn’t spoken out against the Egypt elections:
“But I was asked about the Egyptian elections, and I said, we expect for the Egyptian political process to be open and that for people to be given a chance to express themselves in an open way, in a free way. And we reject any violence toward those who express their dissension with the government. I’m pretty confident I said that with President Abbas standing here, maybe not quite as articulately as just then.”
Actually, this is the supposedly “firm stance” to which President Bush is referring:
“I also embraced President Mubarak’s first steps and said that those first steps must include people’s ability to have access to TV, and candidates ought to be allowed to run freely in an election and that there ought to be international monitors. That’s — and the idea of people expressing themselves in opposition in government, then getting a beating, is not our view of how a democracy ought to work. It’s not the way that you have free elections. People ought to be allowed to express themselves, and I’m hopeful that the President will have open elections that everybody can have trust in.”
See how all the tough talk disappears when it’s time to actually start talking about the situation in Egypt? Instead, the President toes the line — describing what would be an ideal election process — instead of facing reality. Meanwhile, the run-up to elections in Egypt have turned out to be extremely violent and decidely unfree.