In light of what is going on now with the media in Afghanistan and how President Bush is not addressing the raid and abuse of reporters at Tolo TV, instructed by Attorney General Abdul Jabar Sabet, I decided to revisit some of the past speeches coming out of the White House. In September 2001, Bush said, "Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber -- a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other."
Now, after several years since the president spoke those words, the hypocrisy is palpable. The administration's hands are not only dirty, but a bit bloody, too. Bush recently recalled the story of his first decision in the White House, which was to have Laura get a rug for the Oval Office that reflected optimism "because you can't make decisions unless you're optimistic that the decisions you make will lead to a better tomorrow." If the president really cared about a better tomorrow and all those freedoms he ticked off for the Afghan people, why not acknowledge what is going on over there now? The question is rhetorical since the president hasn't quite grasped what freedom of speech means here. Still, shouldn't there be an urgency, or at the very least, a cause for concern when Afghanistan's parliament with its suspect cast of characters is on the cusp of revising their country's media laws?
Our media here in the States need to abandon the script and exercise their freedom of the press by asking the president to define what our mission is in Afghanistan. And while they are asking such a question, they may want to suggest that it's time for the Oval Office to get a new rug, since the old one is obviously flawed.