A Hat Tip To Bush
Freedom: As South Sudan joyfully celebrated its independence from Sudan, President Obama hailed it as the fruit of partnership, togetherness, hope and unity. South Sudanese, however, hailed President Bush.
Kiir dons a 2006 gift from Bush. AP View Enlarged Image
Proudly wearing the black cowboy hat given to him by President Bush, South Sudan's new president, Salva Kiir Mayardit, couldn't have made a stronger statement about who made his country's independence possible after 50 years of warfare.
"It was George Bush and the Christian fundamentalists who heard the cry of South Sudan," affirmed a South Sudanese man quoted by the Los Angeles Times.
But to hear the White House — in its official recognition of the new republic, as well as on the White House blog and in an op-ed published earlier this year, President Bush had nothing to do with this.
"Today is a reminder that after the darkness of war, the light of a new dawn is possible," wrote Obama, as if such events just .. . happen.
Fact is, these events didn't just happen.
In 2005, President Bush put South Sudan at the top of the U.S. foreign policy agenda. Knocking heads, he forced the murderous Islamofascist government of Sudan to negotiate with the South Sudan rebels, including their right to secede. That hard work led to today's result — and with it, the first chance South Sudan has ever had to break free of its oppression.
Obama made sure to thank the African Union, civil society groups and even Sudan itself. But recognition of President Bush was relegated to nothing more than a nameless "U.S. leadership" that "played a part." Christian groups that made it their cause were also ignored.
Weird, given that the New York Times reported crowds in the new capital, Juba, cheered Bush, and a man held a sign reading: "Thank you, President Bush."
Those are magnificent affirmations of President Bush's freedom agenda succeeding further.
If Obama can't give credit to Bush for this accomplishment, it's a sorry statement about his own leadership. The South Sudanese know differently — and thanked the real liberator of their new country.