Kean said he sees democratic gains in Syria and Lebanon as evidence of the United Statesâ€™ ability to help foster freedom in the region.
As David put it, “Democratic gains in SYRIA? Is he KIDDING?” This is a huge gaffe for someone running for the Senate. Simply put, there have been no Democratic gains in Syria, especially not as a result of the Iraq War. Here’s an instructive passage from earlier this month in The Guardian that he pulls to illustrate just how wrong Kean is about Syria.
It was early in the morning as Anwar al-Bouni drove to the court in Damascus where he works as a human rights lawyer. He had just spent 10 days in hiding, afraid that the regime was trying to frame him in a criminal case to silence his outspoken views. He barely noticed the two motorbikes next to him.
When he slowed to make a turn, the second bike pulled up and the pillion passenger kicked at Bouni’s door. He stopped the car. “What happened? What’s the matter?” he said. The man jumped off the bike, opened the door and began punching and kicking Bouni.
“He didn’t say anything. He just beat me on my head, my nose, my mouth. He hit me, he kicked me and then when people started to gather around us, he got on the bike and drove off,” said Bouni, sitting in his apartment chain smoking, and sipping black coffee. He was bruised and badly shaken, but escaped serious injury.
The incident was a crude reminder of the perils of criticism in Syria’s closed society. During decades of dictatorship all opposition movements have been firmly repressed. There are few who dare to publicly condemn the regime. Bouni is one of them and now he is too scared to go back to work. Others have been forced into exile or sent to jail.
While both David any myself are understandably mystified at Kean’s ignorance of the geopolitical situation in the Middle East, it’s interesting that Kean is indicating that he will be running as a Bush ally. Here are a few quotes from the Hunterdon Review profile:
The war in Iraq looms as a flashpoint in the campaign, and Kean said had he been in the U.S. Senate in 2002 he would have voted in favor of authorizing Bush to go to war in Iraq.
â€œApplying any moral lens to Saddam Hussein and what he had done to his own people, seeking to remove him from power was the right thing to do,â€ said Kean….
Kean said he does not believe American boots on the ground are stoking the flames of an insurgency so much as serving as the harbingers of a new era in the Middle East….
The candidate would have voted for the renewal of the United State Patriot Act, he said.
Now, to be fair, there are a few things tucked in the article that indicates Kean is willing to at least appear independent. He says that he finds some of the aspects of the war frustrating. He pays lip service to the idea that you can’t deliver democracy at the barrel of a gun.
But none of that obscures the fact that, at the end of the day, Tom Kean Jr. wants to go to Washington for one reason and one reason only — to be a rubber stamp for George W. Bush and the national Republican Party.