Former President Bush compares American extremists to foreign terrorists


Violent extremists in the United States and abroad are “children of the same evil spirit,” former President George W. Bush said in a speech marking the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The former president gave a speech in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where he recounted the heroism of the passengers and crew of Flight 93, which crashed into a field after his passengers and crew fought the hijackers to prevent another attack.

In his speech, Bush compared domestic extremists to foreign terrorists who attacked the United States 20 years ago.

“We have seen more and more evidence that dangers to our country can come not only across borders, but also from the violence that gathers within them,” Bush said.

“There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists in the country,” he continued.

The former president said that domestic and foreign extremists share “contempt for pluralism”, “neglect of human life” and determination to tarnish national symbols, which seems to be a reference to the January 6 uprising at the Capitol.

The former president said earlier that he was “tormented to the stomach” due to the riots at the Capitol, and said that he was “still upset” a few weeks after the uprising.

Of the more than 500 people arrested in connection with the Capitol uprising, dozens had ties to American extremist groups, such as Oath, Three Percent, and Proud Boys.

In his speech on Saturday, Bush criticized the presence of cultural wars in American politics as well.

“When it comes to the unity of America, those days seem far removed from ours,” Bush said. “There seems to be a malicious force at work in our life together that turns every disagreement into an argument, and every argument into a clash of cultures.”

The son of former President George HW Bush said our policy has become a “bare appeal to anger, fear and resentment,” and said he is worried about our future.

The president said that he remembers that “millions” of Americans gathered on the day of “trial and grief” after the terrorist attacks on September 11.

“At a time when nativism could provoke hatred and violence against people who are perceived as outsiders, I saw Americans reaffirm their welcome to immigrants and refugees,” Bush said. “It’s a nation I know.”

In his speech, Bush also paid tribute to critics of the war on terror he launched.

“The military measures taken in the last 20 years to find the dangers at their source have led to debate, but one thing is for sure, we owe security to all those who fought in the recent battles of our nation,” Bush said, praising military members.

“The goal you have pursued on duty is the noblest that America has to offer. You have protected your fellow citizens from danger,” Bush said. “You have defended the beliefs of your country and promoted the rights of the oppressed … we are grateful.”

Bush has faced not only criticism of foreign policy following the Sept. 11 attacks, but also of domestic policy that critics say has led over the years to a series of policies that allow surveillance and innocent Americans.

Human rights groups, such as The American Civil Liberties Union, have sharply criticized laws passed in the months and years after the attack, such as the Patriot Act, which allowed the government to monitor telephone and e-mail, bank records and online activities.

Several federal departments, such as the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Control, have been triggered by a sense of urgency caused by the attacks.

The increase in criminal prosecution of journalists also followed the attack. In 2013, Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, leaked confidential data to Wikileaks that shocked the nation, exposing widespread government surveillance of innocent Americans.

The U.S. government continues to take legal action against Wikileax founder Julian Assange, a move condemned by human rights groups and even the United Nations.


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