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Was that really George W. Bush at the UN?

By Michael Freund
9/21/2006, 12:00 AM

What has happened to George W. Bush?

In his address at the UN on Tuesday, the president spent more time talking about the need for creating a Palestinian state than he did about the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran.

Bush_at_the_unJust take a look at the speech, which is filled with mealy-mouthed boilerplate taken straight out of the State Department's files, and you'll see what I mean.

Indeed - three huge paragraphs in the text are devoted exclusively to Israel and the Palestinians, as though that were the central problem facing the world today.

In fact, Bush devoted more verbiage to the Palestinian issue than he did to Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur combined!

There is no mention of sanctions on Iran should they continue to pursue nuclear weapons, no talk of isolating them diplomatically, economically or militarily, and not one line – not one single line! – explaining the danger that nuclear-armed mullahs in Teheran would pose to the future of the world.

But perhaps the most astonishing part of the speech was this: "The leaders of Hamas campaigned on a platform of ending corruption and improving the lives of the Palestinian people, and they prevailed. The world is waiting to see whether the Hamas government will follow through on its promises, or pursue an extremist agenda."

Sorry, George, but no one should still be "waiting to see" whether Hamas will pursue an "extremist agenda" – for that is exactly what they have been doing since the very first moment they came into existence.

Hamas continues to fire rockets into Israel from Palestinian-controlled territory, they are smuggling in arms and ammunition, and they are holding abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit incommunicado since kidnapping him back in July. Isn’t that extreme enough?

Perhaps the President was just having a bad day on Tuesday, or maybe by accident he pulled up a speech from the Clinton era and used it instead of his own.

But if his statement at the UN truly reflects his policy agenda, then the world is in deeper trouble than it realizes.