June 27th, 2009
06:01 PM ET
5 years ago

Laura Bush speaks out on Burma

Laura Bush is speaking out on the ongoing situation in Burma.
Laura Bush is speaking out on the ongoing situation in Burma.

(CNN) – Former First Lady Laura Bush - who has kept a low profile since her husband's administration came to an end - is speaking out on a cause she championed while in the White House: the ongoing situation in Burma.

In a Washington Post op-ed set to be published in the paper's Sunday edition, Bush draws parallels between the events in Iran and Burma (Myanmar), and urges the United Nations to press the ruling regime there to end human rights abuses.

"In the past 21 months, the number of political prisoners incarcerated by the junta has doubled," Bush writes in the op-ed. "Within the past 10 days, two Burmese citizens were sentenced to 18 months in prison. Their offense: praying in a Buddhist pagoda for the release of the jailed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. That is only the tip of the regime's brutality."

Suu Kyi, under house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years, had been expected to be freed by the military junta last month, until the new subversion charge was filed.  Suu Kyi is accused of violating her house arrest by offering temporary shelter to American John William Yettaw, who swam to her lakeside home on May 3. She said she doesn't know Yettaw, didn't know of his plans and didn't do anything wrong.

Related: Myanmar's Suu Kyi turns 64 in prison

Her supporters say the arrest is meant to keep her confined so she cannot participate in the general elections that the junta has scheduled for next year.  President Obama urged for her release last month.

In her op-ed, Bush also says the ruling regime has forced tens of thousands of child soldiers into its army, closed churches and mosques, and imprisoned comedians and bloggers who take aim at the government.

"With U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon planning to visit Burma this summer, it is crucial that he press the regime to take immediate steps to end human rights abuses, particularly in ethnic minority areas," writes Bush. "There have been 38 U.N. resolutions condemning these abuses, yet the horrors continue unabated. Under the junta's brutal rule, too many lives have been wasted, lives whose talents could have helped all of Burma prosper."


Filed under: Laura Bush
soundoff (213 Responses)
  1. Donkey Party

    Where was she during the 8 years that her buffoon of a husband was in power??? I'm tired of these right-wingers trying to make a statement to imply they still maintain some moral high ground.

    June 27, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  2. JJ in NY

    History will prove that Bush was a patriot !

    June 27, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  3. independent

    You wouldn't know a REAL AMERICAN if you tripped over one lying on the sidewalk outside your office; where more and more REAL AMERICANs are because of the disaster created by the last eight years of the previous administration.

    Never had a problem with Laura, especially after I heard she was a source of fun at college. She one of us and doesn't pretend not to be.

    June 27, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  4. John Black Hills/SD

    I'm sorry to say that my first thoughts concerning Burma's problems can be summed in two words...who cares. Leave these third world nations to themselves.

    June 27, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  5. T Mckinley

    It's nice to hear from a Republican who isn't trying to blame President Obama for something.

    June 27, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. EcoAZ

    It would be nice to hear from a Democrat who isn't trying to blame George Bush for something.

    June 27, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  7. T Mckinley

    @EcoAz

    The 2000 election was stolen.

    It is George W. Bush, and his boss Dick Cheney, who owe this country an apology. These two, along with their illegitimate administration, never should have been in the white house to begin with.

    June 27, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. coffeeTime

    Good ol' CNN – home of the tattooed & body-pierced comment posters who still believe the world would be peachy-keen if only Saddam, Uday and Qusay were back in their rightful place, that 9/11 was somehow our fault and that all the world's evil can be distilled down to four words: Bush, Cheney, Halliburton and neocon. Humorous and pathetic at the same time.

    June 27, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. B.H.

    Its too bad that she is connected to that complete Duffuss of a husband..
    I can’t imagine what she has had to endure all these years....

    June 27, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  10. Steven

    I am truly sorry Laura but.... WHO CARES!!! Seriously, Burma is at the bottom of my list on the importance scale. This woman is a nut, but then she was married to that moron for all these years.

    June 27, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. Karen

    She has been concerned about women's rights for many years.

    On the other hand we got a tax increase with the dark of night vote on the climate bill. Will be glad when he focuses on jobs and the economy!

    June 27, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  12. Bob

    To "Real American":

    You're absolutely right. Democrats (especially the 'progressive' ones) seem to be by far the most vile, hateful, self-righteous, spiteful, petty, immature and stupid of the people who post. I feel sorry for them in that their lives must be a constant state of liberal angst, wringing their hands and wondering who they will chastise next.

    Another of their characteristics is their belief that ALL things Republican are evil, and ALL things Democrat are Right, based on Truth and Virtue. They'll be the last to admit (if they ever do) that their beloved leaders aren't doing any better job than Republicans (if even that good a job). While the rest of the country begins to wake up to the fact that Obama is just another guy (and probably trying to cram too much down the country's throat at a single time), they'll continue to act like Obama Groupies...but as they look around they'll realize they're more and more alone.

    As for Laura, she's simply raising awareness of an issue she's been involved with. She's not advocating going in with F-16s; she's simply wanting to keep the focus on an issue of importance to her (and others).

    Some of you need to let go of your hatred and find other ways to energize yourselves. Grow up.

    June 27, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. Bob

    By the way, Laura Bush has done WAY more with her life than you complainers have...unless of course bitching on blogs counts as an accomplishment.

    June 27, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  14. EcoAZ

    T McKinley: As I said before, the 2000 election tantrums need to cease, and Left Wing bashers need to grow up and move on. BTW the 2000 election was very close, but legitimate. Enough.

    June 27, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  15. Glen

    Typical Democrat reply. No idea of the issues just a whole lot of foul, hot air. Sadly Laura Bush knows more than the two amateurs trying to run foreign affairs in the White House – the confused, ever apologetic Barack Obama and amateur Clinton. They truly lived up to their criticism – absolutely no idea of what they are doing.

    June 27, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. Carl

    I'm sorry, but those still whining about stolen elections in 2000, just take a look at Iran and our country.

    It obviously meant so much to you that Gore lost that you did two things: jack and **** about it.

    Things could not have been much worse (if at all) if Gore was in charge, but some of these comments are simply CNN pandering to the crazies so that people can read.

    Well mission accomplished. I read the crazy comments, and here I am commenting on one; actually thinking someone will get it. I guess that counts as crazy, right?

    June 27, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. ThinkAboutIt

    My feelings for her husband notwithstanding, I appreciate Mrs. Bush's public appeal on behalf of Myanmar (Burma). I hope her voice added to the chorus of calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and the listing of oppression in that country will make a difference.

    June 27, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  18. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Tell us about your drunk driving and manslaughter charges..... oh no? Then shut the hell up.

    June 27, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. Lynn

    Good for Laura Bush. She is a lady of class and conviction; funny how in love and marriage opposites attract.

    June 27, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  20. another independent

    Many of the comments on here have nothing to do with the article; as seems more and more common lately. Mrs. Bush, as a private citizen, albeit with more name recognition, has written an op-ed piece asking the UN to do something about Burma. That pretty much sums up the situation so why all the "you liberals" and "the repubs" talk?

    For you right- and left-wingers, die-hard democrats and republicans – here's a news flash! Most of us (about 40-50% of us) don't belong to either of your parties and don't WANT TO. We are middle of the road moderate independents and think you both have serious problems (personally I tend to vote 3rd party and am still waiting and hoping for a viable national better choice than either of you!!)

    Your two groups are way too quick to immediately accuse others of being one-of-them if we don't agree with you on all issues. Get over it! I didn't like Bush, do like her, don't think we need to be in Myanmar (or Iran or Iraq) but she's not asking for that, so let it go!!

    June 27, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  21. Susan Hinds

    Laura Bush has done a great job in bringing the Burma situation to our attention and hope to see more of her in the future. Speaking out on key issues and presenting us with solutions or hope. Thank you Laura as the Burma situation is a real human disgrace and will pray for them. God Bless.

    June 27, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  22. Cheryl F.

    Human rights are an issue close to my heart also. Thank you for speaking out Mrs. Bush and thank you for not making this political. I respect that very much.

    June 27, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  23. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    I think Laura Bush is pretty and genuine.

    Unlike Sugarskirt Palin.

    Maybe McCain should have chosen her.

    June 27, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. Connie

    I feel for anyone of any country that is in hardship, pain and suffering. It is all sad, BUT, look around these United States! Maybe if your hubby had put more into his own country during the 8 years he was in office, we would not be in the shape we are. Maybe if all that money had been kept here to help the millions of Americans so in need, so many here would not be suffering. Makes me both angry and sick.

    June 27, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  25. Allison

    Is Laura Bush for real????!!!! She did pratically nothing but give a speech here or there or read books to children for 8 years to come out and say anything. Her biggest crowning is the constant defending and making excuses for her husband.

    When I got to make exuses for any person I know I am in trouble and they are all wrong.

    June 27, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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