(by Stephen Dinan, WashingtonTimes.com) NEW YORK – President Bush yesterday told Iranians they deserve a better
government than they are getting, and he told Muslims worldwide to
ignore radical “propaganda and conspiracy theories” that incite them to
killing and terrorism.
But just hours later, Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the U.N. General Assembly that the world’s
conflicts are the result of aggression by the U.S., Israel and other
wealthy nations, and said the set-up of the United Nations is
The biggest security crisis in the world
took center stage as the two leaders spoke in the diplomatic version of
the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Mr. Ahmadinejad called out the U.S. and
Britain by name, and taunted Mr. Bush, saying “the occupiers are
incapable of establishing security in Iraq.”
For his part Mr.
Bush talked around the Iranian leader, using his 20-minute noontime
address in the General Assembly’s cavernous green chamber to “speak
directly to the people across the broader Middle East.”
“Extremists in your midst spread propaganda claiming that the West is
engaged in a war against Islam,” he said. “This propaganda is false,
and its purpose is to confuse you and justify acts of terror.”
The speech was the last of a series Mr. Bush has been delivering over
the past three weeks on the war on terror. In the earlier speeches, he
challenged Congress and U.S. voters to give him the tools he wants to
fight Islamic terrorists, but in yesterday’s speech he made clear he
expects other countries to join the U.S. fight worldwide.
“Will we support the moderates and reformers who are working for change
across the Middle East — or will we yield the future to the terrorists
and extremists? America has made its choice: We will stand with the
moderates and reformers,” he said.
He mentioned three U.N.
resolutions — on disarming Hezbollah in Lebanon, calling on Iran to
end its nuclear-weapons program, and on expanding the peacekeeping
force in the Darfur region of Sudan — and said the world body must now
meet its commitments.
Mr. Bush had specific words for the
people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and Darfur. He also warned Syrians
their “rulers have allowed your country to become a crossroad for
terrorism.” But he saved his harshest words for Iran’s leaders, telling
Iranians that Americans respect them and their culture but “your rulers
have chosen to deny you liberty and to use your nation’s resources to
fund terrorism, and fuel extremism, and pursue nuclear weapons.”
He spoke to a full chamber, while the chamber was mostly empty for Mr.
Ahmadinejad. The two leaders never crossed paths, as the Iranian missed
yesterday’s leaders’ lunch, and Mr. Bush hosted a closed reception
during the Iranian’s speech.
Mr. Ahmadinejad questioned the
fairness of the United Nations, saying the Security Council had failed
the Palestinians for years, and failed Lebanon this year.
Security Council sat idly by for so many days,” he said, adding that
the reason is clear. “When the power behind the hostility is itself a
permanent member of the Security Council, how then could this council
fulfill its responsibilities?”
Iran has defied a U.N. Security
Council resolution that imposed an Aug. 31 deadline for suspending its
uranium-enrichment program. But the six nations leading the effort to
block Iran’s program have not been able to agree on what the next step
In his speech, Mr. Ahmadinejad insisted Iran’s
nuclear activities were “transparent, peaceful and under the watchful
eye” of U.N. inspectors and accused the U.S. of a double standard in
criticizing his country’s program while maintaining its own nuclear
Democratic National Committee
Chairman Howard Dean yesterday said that Mr. Bush’s speech sounded
“worried more about his party’s political prospects this November than
about how to protect America and fight and win the real war on terror.”
He said if other nations are wary of joining Mr. Bush’s calls
for action on Sudan and Iran it’s the president’s fault. And House
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said Mr. Bush’s
speech spoke “in broad, general terms,” but didn’t show a commitment to
the hard work of diplomacy in the Middle East.…
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢David R. Sands in Washington contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.
NOTE: Several paragraphs have been omitted from this posting. For the full article, click here.
Copyright 2006 News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted
with permission of the Washington Times. This reprint does not
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1. a) In his speech to the U.N. yesterday, what message did President Bush have for Muslims worldwide?
b) What did the President specifically say about extremists and propaganda?
2. a) In his
speeches to the American people over the past three weeks, what did
Preisdent Bush ask of Congress and U.S. voters?
b) How was yesterday’s speech different?
3. What promise did President Bush make during his speech to moderates and reformers in the Middle East?
4. A resolution is a formal statement of a decision adopted by an assembly such as the U.N.
a) List the three resolutions made by the U.N. that President Bush mentioned in his speech.
b) Why did he mention them?
5. What did President Bush say to the Iranian people in his speech?
6. If he was
speaking to the leaders of the world at the U.N. general assembly, why
did President Bush address the people of the world? How do you think
groups specifically addressed felt about his remarks? (for example:
encouraged, hopeful, skeptical, angry, etc.) Why?
7. OPTIONAL: Read or watch the complete speech at WhiteHouse.gov. Were you encouraged or discouraged by the President’s speech? Why?
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