Now, even George Bush’s speechwriters know that the Hungarians did not actually succeed in 1956, nor did they actually overthrow their own Communist dictatorship nor expel the Soviets. The Soviet Union was the “Evil Empire” that claimed to have liberated Eastern Europe and establish true democracy. Eventually that Evil Empire died of its own excesses, and the Russians had to abandon their subject nations.
What the President is obviously telling the world is that Iraq, too, has been occupied by an empire that promised democracy but delivered only tyranny and violence, and the only hope he holds out for Iraq is the eventual dissolution of the American Empire.
I conclude from this speech that David Frum has been replaced by Stephen Colbert. ~Thomas Fleming
Dr. Fleming’s remarks are spot on. On a slightly different note, it is offensive to me, especially as someone with Hungarian ancestors, that Mr. Bush would dare to use the example of the rebellion of 1956 to justify his dreadful policy. The obvious anti-imperialist, anti-hegemonist nature of the 1956 rebellion is a standing repudiation of the foreign policy of any great power that seeks to dictate the political life of a small country through force of arms. 1956 was the failed, but heroic, attempt to reassert patriotic loyalty and the interests of the Hungarian people over the requirements of imported ideology and empire. It continues to puzzle me at least a little why the sons of those who rose up in 1956 have also so readily signed on with Brussels and Washington for another round of both.
Why the heirs of the victors of 1956 would join is no mystery. I would note that it was the “reformed” communists on the Socialist Party who threw their support behind the Iraq war and Mr. Bush, not the parties of the Hungarian right. Viktor Orban’s Fidesz consistently criticised and opposed Hungarian involvement in Iraq. The “New Europeans” the neocons and their friends are so keen to push as our best allies are typically the center-left and ex-communists of the old communist bloc, the ideological and political heirs of the very people who butchered the Hungarian patriots of 1956. Those are the sorts of people Mr. Bush joins hands with now, even as he desecrates the memory of 1956 with his opportunistic propagandising.