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Vivian Salama

USA/Middle East

Vivian Salama is an award winning reporter, producer and blogger. Currently based in Lahore, Pakistan, she has reported for various publications from across the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Balkans, the United States and North and South Korea. She has also appeared as a commentator on the BBC, France24, South African Broadcasting Corp., TVNZ, NPR and as a reporter for Voice of America radio. Her byline has appeared in numerous publications including Newsweek, USA Today, the International Herald Tribune, the National, Jerusalem Post, and the Daily Star. Salama has an MA in Islamic Politics from Columbia University and she previously worked as a lecturer of international journalism at Rutgers University. Close.

Vivian Salama

USA/Middle East

Vivian Salama is an award-winning reporter, producer and blogger. Currently based in Lahore, Pakistan, she has reported for various publications from across the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Balkans, the United States and North and South Korea. more »

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President Bush Needs a Time Out

How about some diplomacy for a change? The only ones who’ll benefit from this kind of outrageous rhetoric are Ahmedinejad and his ilk.

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not to defend GW Bush, who I consider to be the worst president that I have witnessed in my lifetime and who many are saying will be considered the worst president in the history of the US. He is a man who squandered big budget surpluses when they could have been used to fix social security and/or medicare, a man who squandered an outpouring of goodwill after 9/11 by invading Iraq instead of dealing with Al Queda. But where were the senators (from BOTH sides of the aisle), who have the right to declare war, when the Iraq war was debated? Instead of chastising Bush for making the war vote a political vote, they all tried to get their picture taken with him in the photo-op. Where was the media? Didn't the media have the responsiblity to explain different theories on what would happen once Hussein was deposed, on how many troops would be needed to keep the peace, on how much this fiasco would cost? Who would have supported a war that would cost a TRILLION dollars. And most importantly, where are the voters, who allow themselves to be swayed by simplistic sound bytes, as if they are the answers to complex problems. Stand up for your rights fellow americans! And I am not talking about the far left or far right. I am talking about the silent majority in the center! In answer to the question why Bush is threatening Iran, it is very simple, no one is stopping him.

T Huff:

I know it's very difficult for people here to take the trouble to read a transcript to find out what was actually said in response to a series of questions. It just seems like so many of you "know" what he means and you form your opinion on second-, third- or fourth-hand interpretations of what someone says he said. You will never think differently because your minds are completely closed and you have an inherent bias--even bigotry-against the president.

But try to clear your mind for a second and actually look at the transcript (which doesn't actually show up on the and try to understand his point. He is talking about the use of sanctions and diplomacy to AVOID war. He is not threatening war.

For those of you interested in facts, here is an excerpt from the transcript:

"Q Mr. President, I'd like to follow on Mr. -- on President Putin's visit to Tehran. It's not about the image of President Putin and President Ahmadinejad, but about the words that Vladimir Putin said there. He issued a stern warning against potential U.S. military action -- U.S. military action against Tehran --

THE PRESIDENT: Did he say U.S.?

Q Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, he did?

Q He said -- well, at least the quote said that -- and he also said, "He sees no evidence to suggest Iran wants to build a nuclear bomb." Were you disappointed with that message? And does that indicate possibly that international pressure is not as great as you once thought against Iran abandoning its nuclear program?

THE PRESIDENT: I -- as I said, I look forward to -- if those are, in fact, his comments, I look forward to having him clarify those, because when I visited with him, he understands that it's in the world's interest to make sure that Iran does not have the capacity to make a nuclear weapon. And that's why, on -- in the first round at the U.N., he joined us, and second round, we joined together to send a message. I mean, if he wasn't concerned about it, Bret, then why did we have such good progress at the United Nations in round one and round two?

And so I will visit with him about it. I have not yet been briefed yet by Condi or Bob Gates about, you know, their visit with Vladimir Putin.

Q But you definitively believe Iran wants to build a nuclear weapon?

THE PRESIDENT: I think so long -- until they suspend and/or make it clear that they -- that their statements aren't real, yeah, I believe they want to have the capacity, the knowledge, in order to make a nuclear weapon. And I know it's in the world's interest to prevent them from doing so. I believe that the Iranian -- if Iran had a nuclear weapon, it would be a dangerous threat to world peace.

But this -- we got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel. So I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon. I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously. And we'll continue to work with all nations about the seriousness of this threat. Plus we'll continue working the financial measures that we're in the process of doing. In other words, I think -- the whole strategy is, is that at some point in time, leaders or responsible folks inside of Iran may get tired of isolation and say, this isn't worth it. And to me, it's worth the effort to keep the pressure on this government.

And secondly, it's important for the Iranian people to know we harbor no resentment to them. We're disappointed in the Iranian government's actions, as should they be. Inflation is way too high; isolation is causing economic pain. This is a country that has got a much better future, people have got a much better -- should have better hope inside Iran than this current government is providing them.

So it's -- look, it's a complex issue, no question about it. But my intent is to continue to rally the world to send a focused signal to the Iranian government that we will continue to work to isolate you, in the hopes that at some point in time, somebody else shows up and says it's not worth the isolation. "

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