"Anti-American Rhetoric Vs. Reality"

Third World leaders faulted for keeping families in United States
By Khalid Hasan
Daily Times, January 22, 2007

WASHINGTON: A university professor, known to be President George Bush’s favourite historian, has attacked countries that are hostile to America or its policies and yet see no contradiction in the family members of their leaders living in the United States.

Victor Davis Hanson of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, writing in the Washington Times at the weekend, cites Pakistan as one of his examples. He writes, “Bilal Musharraf, son of Pakistan strongman Gen Musharraf, has been a Boston-based consultant and a Stanford business and education student. Meanwhile, his father’s government is either unwilling or unable to arrest on his soil the remnants of Al Qaeda, among them, most likely, Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri.”

Another example he quotes is that of Nabih Berri, the Lebanese Amal militia chief who is now allied with both the anti-American Hezbollah and Syria, much of whose family is residing in Dearborn, Michigan. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, former Saudi ambassador to the United States and high cabinet official in a monarchy that “funds much of the world’s radical madrassas,” is selling his 56,000-square-foot mansion in Aspen, Colorado, the asking price being $135 million, which makes it the most expensive home ever put up for sale in the US.

Describing the phenomenon as incongruous and betraying “obvious hypocrisy,” Hanson concludes that allaying with “radical Shiites in Lebanon, anti-American Syrians or Islamists in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia does not seem to disqualify Middle Eastern politicos from appreciating the freedom, security and opportunity of the United States. For all the talk of America’s faults, no Middle Easterner worries about vengeful Americans kidnapping or car-bombing his relatives. And few seem to consider that if the worldview of a present-day Lebanese militia or Saudi Arabia ever sweeps the globe, there would be no Dearborn or Aspen for their kin to find sanctuary.”

The families of leaders of autocratic nations often hostile to the United States are kept safe and sound in the US precisely because of American openness and respect for guests and foreigners. “Unlike most of the Middle East, where it is nearly impossible for Christians, single women or homosexuals to live openly and freely, Americans are a tolerant people who are not captive to tribal, religious or sectarian vengeance.”

Hanson writes, “The US probably will not - and probably should not - deny entry to the families of Lebanese militia leaders, Pakistani dictators, Saudi sheiks or Syrian high officials. But we should at least point out to them ... that there is certainly a reason why Prince Bandar and Messrs Berri, Musharraf and Salem want their children over here - and apparently as far away as possible from the countries where they themselves are in charge.”

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