Bush and those damn freedom loving Dutch (who hate fascists too)
Bush in Holland today had to deal with those nasty Dutch question bearing youths who asked his discusting questions about the his war civil rights after 9/11 and his inbalanced policies about taking care of the impoverished American.
Bush Gets Tough Queries From Youths in Holland
# Amid war ceremonies, president holds a round- table where he is asked about anti-terrorism measures and impact of combat on U.S. public.
By Peter Wallsten, Times Staff Writer
MAASTRICHT, Netherlands — At home, President Bush regularly travels the nation for "conversations" with hand-picked audiences who routinely shower him and his policies with praise. But abroad on Sunday, some youths in Holland had a rare, unscripted opportunity to ask questions that some Americans might want to pose if given the chance.
Based on the questions asked in the first half-hour, before reporters were ushered from the room, this group of students might not have passed muster at a typical White House event.
After all, other than the occasional news conference, the president is rarely put on the spot about his domestic agenda.
"I have a question ... concerning the terrorism," said the first student to be called on, a young woman. "And you made many laws after 9/11, many — many laws and many measures. And I'm wondering, will there be a time when you drop those laws and when you decrease the measures?"
"Look," Bush replied, "a free society such as ours, obviously, must balance the government's most important duty, which is to protect the American people from harm, with the civil liberties of our citizens. And every law we passed that was aimed to protect us in this new era of threats from abroad and the willingness for people to kill without mercy has been scrutinized and, of course, balanced by our Constitution."
The president explained that Congress was reviewing the Patriot Act, the controversial measure that gives law enforcement agencies greater power to conduct surveillance and share information.
He told her that the Sept. 11 attacks had changed his nation's mind-set, resulting in the need for different laws.
"I mean, it was more than just an attack; it was a whole mind-set," he said. "And that's why your question is really relevant — did that mind-set, did that change of attitude cause us to then begin to take away certain civil liberties, and I would argue it did not."
Bush's co-host at the event, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, wondered if the young woman was satisfied.
"You're convinced by the president?" he asked amid laughter.
"Don't put her on the spot," Bush quipped.
The next question — the last heard by reporters or included in the White House transcript — concerned the cost of the Iraq war.
The unidentified questioner noted that the U.S. had been involved in "a lot of wars," and wondered about the impact on Americans at home.
She said she had recently received a brochure seeking donations for poor people in the United States and asked Bush: "What's the balance between the responsibility to the world and the responsibility to your own people?"
Said Bush: "I think we have a responsibility to both." Reverting to what resembled a campaign stump speech, he then listed the value of small businesses in creating jobs and spoke of the United States' role in fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa and safeguarding freedom around the world.
Media were then asked to leave, though the meeting, held in a window-lined room at a glorious chateau near Maastricht, went on for another half-hour.
On Saturday, Bush met with Latvian civic leaders and is to meet with a group of Russians today.
After the "youth roundtable," Bush addressed Dutch and U.S. World War II veterans at the Netherlands-American Cemetery and Memorial.
In their opening statements to the students, Bush and Balkenende stressed their two nations' cooperation, both in the wake of the liberation of Holland in World War II and in the battle against terrorism today. But culturally, the Netherlands is more liberal on issues such as euthanasia, gay rights and drugs.
"Holland is a free country," Bush said in an interview with a Dutch TV journalist last week. "If that's what the people of Holland want, that's what the government should reflect."
Wallsten is traveling with President Bush.
Monday 9th May 2005 (16h24) :
The Dutch don't like Bush either
Thousands protest Bush Dutch visit
MAASTRICHT, Netherlands (AP) -- Thousands of anti-war activists protested U.S. President George W. Bush's visit to the Netherlands on Saturday, saying the man who started the Iraq war should not pay tribute to those who died in World War II for Dutch freedom.
Bush will attend a ceremony Sunday marking the 60th anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe at the Margraten battlefield cemetery 10 kilometers (6 miles) from Maastricht, where the graves of 8,300 American servicemen are spread neatly over a grassy hill.
The thousands of demonstrators who turned out in Amsterdam and Maastricht injected a note of public discord into Bush's four-nation trip, which also includes Latvia, Russia and Georgia, where he is expected to receive warmer welcomes.
Police issued a permit for 100 demonstrators to be outside Maastricht Airport for the arrival of Air Force One.
"It is an insult that this president is coming to visit our war cemetery. He is the cause of a lot of agony in the world that is feeding fear and anger," said Nina Bocken, a 23-year-old Maastricht therapist wearing a homemade shirt with Bush's picture on the front and "The Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction" written on the back.
"Bush is not the one to go there. It is not right that a president who has begun a war -- and the war is still going on, just read the news every day -- that he is the one to pay tribute to the victims."
Bush is deeply unpopular in the Netherlands, even though the Dutch government supported the U.S. decision to invade Iraq. Because of widespread public opposition to the war, it didn't send troops to Iraq until after major hostilities were over and withdrew them in March after an 18-month deployment, despite pleas from Washington.
Last week several small anti-war groups asked a Dutch court to issue an arrest warrant for Bush when he steps onto Dutch soil. The court threw out the petition.
A published poll last week said one-third of those questioned thought it would be better if Bush would not come to Margraten to mark the VE Day anniversary. Other polls have shown about two-thirds don't approve of the job Bush has done as U.S. president, and about half say the Dutch should not have participated in the Iraq coalition.
Jos Zuidgeest, a member of the regional parliament in Maastricht, said he would stay away from the Margraten ceremony on Sunday because he thought Bush would use the World War II memorial to justify the war in Iraq.
"We have to be grateful to the young Americans who died for our freedom," Zuidgeest said. "But Bush will try to draw a line from the past to the present, even if he doesn't mention the word 'Iraq."'
The Dutch protests also focused on Bush's environmental policies and what many perceive as his high-handed conduct of policy that even influences domestic policies in Europe.
"I feel like I've lost my human rights because of his war on terrorism," said Esme Cokbee, a civil servant, unhappy over Dutch laws extending police powers. "The Dutch government is just following their (the Americans') lead. Whatever they want, we do. I don't think that's right," she said.
The turnout in Maastricht fell short of organizers' expectations -- about 300. But in Amsterdam, a colorful crowd of around 2,000 gathered on Museum Square to harangue Bush, including socialists, squatters, and everyday Dutch.
Dutchwoman Anja Wassink came with her teenage daughter Simone, who carried a "Wanted: George W. Bush, terrorist," sign.
"We came because we want to do something to show we don't agree" with Bush's policies, Anja said. She said she had never attended a protest before.
One Iraqi man who addressed the crowd alleged he had witnessed atrocities committed by U.S. soldiers in Falujah, Iraq.
"Mr. Bush, you killed our people but we will sue you," said Salam Ismael, introduced as an Iraqi doctor.
by : Rutgaer
Monday 9th May 2005
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