One day after delivering an address in the United Arab Emirates about the need for the Middle East to live in “free and democratic” societies, President Bush traveled to Saudi Arabia to spend a day with King Abdullah at his ranch. Newsweek’s Michael Hirsh notes:
What could not be found on Bush’s schedule was one Saudi dissident or political activist, much less a democrat. Just a day after his speech in Abu Dhabi — and two years after declaring in his second inaugural address that “it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture” — the president made time for a tour of Saudi Arabia’s National History Museum but not for a meeting with Fouad al-Farhan. Farhan, Saudi Arabia’s most popular blogger, was arrested in Jidda last month for daring to defend a group of Saudis who wanted to form a civil rights group.
Hirsh writes, “Don’t plan a major democracy speech when you know you’re not going to act on it, with not even a symbolic move of any kind to accompany it. There’s a word for this kind of thing. It’s called hypocrisy.”