By Howard Karten
June 3, 2004

I disliked Bush from the start. I think for 3 reasons: (1) there was just something about him I didn't like (2) I'm inherently suspicious of "highly religious folks", whether OrthoJews, BACs, etc.; (3) I knew that the right-wingers loved him, and that always makes me v. nervous. Plus, being a Dem. is somehow in my blood.

Prior to the start of the war, I was ambivalent about it. I thought it might do some good--tho no one was able to tell me why it was the job or obligation of the *US* to do those things--why not, for expl, other Arab nations?

I did not think then that democracy could ever come to Arab or mostly-Muslim states. From what I've read and learned (especially Bernard Lewis' book) since then, I think there is something fundamentally incompatible between democracy and Islam, and also between Arabic culture and democracy. I doubt that any Arab or Muslim country will *ever* have democracy and freedom, as least as we understand those ideas. Further, I suspect that non-democratic countries are inherently or structurally hostile to democr atic neighbors. Which means the Israeli-Arab conflict will never go away.

You often hear Arabs and naive Westerners ask, "Why is the US so hostile to Arab countries and so favorable to Israel?" My answer is, DUH : Do you think it could have something to do with the fact that Arab rulers and diploimats are notorious for lying to US diplomats and US citizens? Do you think it could have something to do with the fact that Israel embodies Western democratic values, and no Arab or Muslim country does?

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