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Bush on the Freedom Agenda (Updated)

"I believe this country is engaged in an ideological struggle of a kind we have never seen before."

10:26 AM, Oct 20, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Last night former president George W. Bush said in a speech: "I believe this country is engaged in an ideological struggle of a kind we have never seen before."

Ben Smith writes: "The context isn't entirely clear, but it's a striking thing for a president consumed by foreign policy challenges say at a moment when Obama's pursuit of foreign policy has been marked by continuity with key elements of Bush's presidency."

I don't think Bush was referring to an internal ideological struggle in American politics, but rather a struggle between freedom and tyranny--the U.S. and its allies versus terrorists and their allies abroad. And I don't think Bush meant to imply that there isn't continuity between his policies and Obama's policies in the war on terrorism. The write-up seems to support that interpretation: 

[Bush] said he believes there is a God and one of the gifts of that God is for everyone to know freedom. 

It is in part because of this belief that he stayed the course in Iraq and believes that country is a better place because of the fall of Saddam Hussein. But the battle continues, he said. 

“I believe this country is engaged in an ideological struggle of a kind we have never seen before,” he said. 

We'll update if we get a transcript of the speech or clarification from Bush aides. 

Update: Emily Guevara, the Tyler Morning Telegraph reporter whose report on Bush's speech is quoted above, tells me that Bush was talking about the war on terrorism. "He just talked about how he believes everyone deserves freedom, and he talked about these countries like Afghanistan where he feels people don't have that," says Guevara. Paraphrasing Bush, she said, "We had communism before, but this enemy is less tangible ... terrorism or radical Muslims."

Update: Bush spokesman David Sherzer tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD: "The context of the statement is the ideological struggle America is facing against the enemies of freedom. It has nothing to do with domestic politics."

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