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Why is President George W. Bush still so upbeat about the war in Iraq? In his own words, it's his theology.

In a July 13 meeting with nine conservative journalists, the President described his belief in the "universality of freedom: I strongly believe that Muslims desire to be free just like Methodists desire to be free." The White House did not release a transcript of the meeting, but National Review's Rich Lowry quoted the President at length on "whether or not it is a hopeless venture to encourage the spread of liberty":

People have said, you know, this is Wilsonian, it's hopelessly idealistic. One, it is idealistic, to this extent: It's idealistic to believe people long to be free. And nothing will change my belief. I come at it many different ways. Really not primarily from a political-science perspective; frankly, it's more of a theological perspective. I do believe there is an Almighty, and I believe a gift of that Almighty to all is freedom. And I will tell you that is a principle that no one can convince me … doesn't exist.

As an example, Bush noted that Japan, once America's enemy, is now

an ally in peace who actually committed defensive troops into Iraq. It's a remarkable development in a part of the world that was a very troubled and dangerous part of the world for U.S. interests. And I ascribe a lot of that to … U.S. presence, allowing for the inevitable to happen. And the inevitable is forms of government that are based upon liberty. Now, they don't always look like the United States, nor do they advance at the pace that some of [us] would want. … And of course, this situation in the Middle East will look differently, it will evolve differently, but we've got all the same odds of achieving the same ...
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hide thisSeptember September

In the Magazine

September 2007

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