Bush Likens Democracy Effort in Iraq to That in Postwar Japan

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Concluding a monthlong vacation marked by antiwar protests outside his Texas home and a rising death toll in Iraq, President Bush on Tuesday invoked the anniversary of the Japanese surrender in World War II and the postwar rebirth of that country as a parallel to present-day U.S. efforts in the Middle East. Bush spoke against the dramatic backdrop of the Ronald Reagan, a 1,092-foot, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier docked at North Island Naval Air Station, where he drew repeated applause from an audience of Marines, sailors and World War II veterans.

Bush pegged his remarks to the 60th anniversary Friday of Japan's formal surrender to Gen. Douglas MacArthur, likening the attack on Pearl Harbor, which sparked the U.S. entry into World War II, to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that led to today's fight against terrorism.

Bush sought to connect Japan's postwar transition to democracy to the effort by Iraq's leaders to draft and approve a constitution — a process that has frustrated U.S. officials, who tried unsuccessfully to coax Sunni Arab leaders in Iraq to support the document and avoid what some critics now say is a recipe for civil war.

"The Japanese Constitution would guarantee the universal freedoms that are the foundation of all genuine democracies while, at the same time, reflecting the unique traditions and needs of the Japanese people," Bush said, adding that it "set Japan on the path to a free society."

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