When photographs of Saddam Hussein in his underwear were printed in the New York Post and the London Sun, President Bush told the Associated Press: “I don’t think a photo inspires murderers. These people are motivated by a vision of the world that is backward and barbaric.” Then he added, “I think the insurgency is inspired by their desire to stop the march of freedom.”
Before the next news cycle began, the White House rushed to clean up the president’s candid remarks, express regret about publication of the pictures, and promise an investigation. The new reaction replaced the “backward and barbaric” version, which disappeared from subsequent news stories. Unfortunately, the ideology of this administration does not go away. The president’s remarks echoed an earlier observation—he would punish the enemy by launching a “crusade,” a term highly provocative to Muslims, who equate Crusades with Western colonial domination.