Monday, December 17, 2007

George Bush on the Saudi rape victim who'd been punished by the courts: "If it had been one of my daughters..."

We’ve never heard our president openly shudder at the thought of one of the Bush girls losing a limb or her life in Iraq nor has he seemingly wondered how he’d have felt if say, Jenna, had been among the Katrina victims left to fend for themselves or imagined his Barbara with no health insurance.

The leader of the free world appears not to agitate when daughters of other Americans suffer, yet now he's weighing in and expressing “astonishment” over the case of the 19-year-old Saudi Arabian female who’d been repeatedly raped by seven men and then sentenced to a prison term and severe beating as punishment for being alone with a man to whom she was neither related nor married.

There's been an international outcry over this incident and human rights workers have been investigating it. It’s not clear if Bush’s reaction, which was not communicated directly to the Saudi king, played any part in the recent pardoning of the rape victim by King Abdullah, the only official empowered to issue a pardon, who did it while insisting that the Saudi legal system is “honest" and "fair".

Can we conclude from this that W would have felt differently if one of the Bush girls had a condition that might benefit from stem cell research? Would leaking have been taken seriously if the story involved Jenna? Would waterboarding be seen as torture if it were being done to Barbara? Or it that atrocities have to occur elsewhere and not be connected to the American administration to inspire reflection and empathy from this president?

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