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. John

    About 2/3 of the period of house arrest was on her husband's watch. Sorry. Too little,too late.

    June 27, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  2. Imarriedmy sister in TheOleSouth

    @TCM.why dont YOU try finding a real job instead of spending 24/7 on this site,using 50 names to spew your hate.I love to hear you cry though.hahaha

    June 27, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. PT

    Laura Bush is in the same league with her husband-that's why she attracted him. She was, and has always been a shallow soriority girl who loves being rich. Both Bushes need to keep quiet and let our country heal.

    June 27, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. Luke Brown

    I'm with "sensible Cape Coral" ... There are many terrible situations around the world like that of Suu Kyi. No, Americans can't save everyone, but this is one where Americans can speak out and make a difference ... especially people like Laura Bush.

    What is the big deal about being an American if all we stand for in the world is being narcissistic, lazy, & materialistic. The only thing that makes us any different from any other nation is that we stand for values in the world that are enduring, though sometimes it is hard to see that.

    Sometimes we become so self-absorbed that we forget that we are the nation that others who are oppressed and without freedom look to.

    Laura, you go girl! We need you (but tell your husband we've heard enough from him.)

    June 27, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. Dean in Florida

    Donkey Party,

    You name a time and place.

    June 27, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  6. Bman

    If she really cared about those people and their country, she would learn to call it Myanmar, It hasn't been called Burma for decades.
    This sort of thing exemplifies the stupid american foreign policy we've put behind us thankfully. Lets leave Laura back in the annals of bad history.

    June 27, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. Annie

    @JJ in New York – only if conservatives get to write it. However, we still have it all on tape, so that's where the proof will ultimately lie.

    Personally, Mrs. Bush is a class act (though her choice of husband escapes me). And Burma is only the tip of the iceburg. There's a lot of abuse (female and male) that needs to be stopped worldwide.

    @ coffee time – assume much?

    June 27, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  8. David Evan

    A mentor for me from young adulthood was a woman named Madeleine L'Engle Franklin. She who wrote books such as a Wrinkled in Time and a Wind in The Door which talk about finding the good in everyone.

    So yes, I'll be a Democrat that says there is good (such as this) in the Bushes, and yes there is good in every Republican, no matter how misguided or outright deceitful.

    I believe that these days we are so judgmental as individuals and societies that we can't even see the truth, such as this woman's honest concern for human rights, even when her compassion is so clearly set forward.

    June 27, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. Susie

    Laura Bush should just stay QUIET. She was admired, respected for her demeanor for all the years of the "Shrubs" reign. Now she should retain her dignity and enjoy Her life and keep our kindest thoughts by remaining a private woman and not stirring up annoyance with her – what the hell does she know about Burma or??? Makes you think she's just looking for a new book deal to make $$$.

    June 27, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. ChuckJ

    So how many of you are aware of the Bill that was passed on to the Senate last night???

    While CNN and the other media outlets have been focusing on the death of a celebrity among other things, they failed to inform you about the Climate Cap and Trade bill that was voted on YESTERDAY!!!

    Dont you find it a little odd that one of the most important bills in 100 years wasnt brought to all of your attention? There is a reason for that. CNN and others play to the liberal agenda of this administration. I swear to you, if you knew what was in this bill and how it will affect you, youd be shocked. Dont expect to hear about it on CNN.

    June 27, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  11. Jen

    This isn't about GWB or the Republicans. I'm glad Laura Bush is using her spotlight to bring attention to an international crisis.

    I'm a big bad liberal writing from San Francisco; but you know, if we can't step beyond our culturally ordained (superficial) boundaries to see things for what they really are from time to time, we're all doomed.

    Kudos, Laura. We should all be advocating for the immediate and unconditional release of Aung San Suu Kyi, but many of you have probably never even heard of her before, even AFTER reading this article. Sad.

    June 27, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. Steven

    You dumbacrats are so stupid. Laura Bush is speaking out against human rights violations/oppression, and you're making it sound like she is doing something bad.

    How much more stupid can your party get?

    Grow up for a "change" already.

    June 27, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. stevie

    @T Mckinley

    dude, get over the 2000 election thing.......................

    you need to move on............you will never be happy if you dont just let it go..................

    What about the 2008 election being bought, will you ever knock that half breed and all those crooks for that...............no

    you are part of the problem the usa faces today

    June 27, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. Steven

    Are you referring to "our people" meaning "our military" protecting the United States?

    -------------

    mark Owens June 27th, 2009 11:23 am ET

    Where was Laura when the U.S. was committing human rights violations against the people of Iraq?!?!?!?!?!

    June 27, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. Mark in Atlanta

    Good for you, Laura. While her husband was an unmitigated disaster as President, that really isn't her fault. She seems like a bright, decent woman and the situation in Burma DOES warrant our attention. God knows what's happening in Burma diserves more coverage than the unfortunate but ultimately meaningless death of Michael Jackson.

    June 27, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  16. CNN = Moveon.org

    @T Mckinley

    boo-hoo, poor baby. Like it was said before, grow up and move on. Bush won both times and your guy lost both times. Stop acting like a cry baby. Of course, then again, liberalism is all about being cry babies as you never stop complaining about anything even when you have all the votes to get anything you want done. Again, democrats need to stop whining about being poor, because they vote for people who spend their money and tax them more, and take more of their money away. So, apparently, democrats don't mind being poor. I for one will never, EVER, feel sorry for someone who is poor and votes for a Democrat.

    June 27, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  17. Ruty

    Let's take care of America first.Our problem seems to be that we take care of overyone but our own.

    June 27, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. Gator

    Leave it to CNN to go out and get the old right wingers to tell us now how we should operate. Where was all the action when they were in office? Let's get John King to do another good right wing interview with Dick Cheney again. That is always good for a couple of day's news for Blitzer and crowd. Maybe we should have the "Family Values" crowd tell us again how bad those left leaning godless Liberals are and how they hate our country. Bill Bennett, where are you when we need you?

    June 27, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. Minnesotan

    Laura Bush is as out of touch as her dithering and irrelevant husband.

    June 27, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Pat in IL

    I'm a democrat and not at all fond of the previous administration. I've never had anything against Laura Bush, though, except to wonder what on earth made her marry, and stay with, someone so far beneath her intellectual and moral code level. Even now, she, at least is concerned about real things and still working toward the betterment of human conditions in the world, and not wasting her time just dissing the current administration. Kudos!

    June 27, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. Socrates in Leominster

    Well.. Now that she is not in the White House suddenly she cares about people in Burma..? How come she didn't say more when she was there meanwhile her husband was sending thousands of our young soliders to defend a war that was made of deception and greed? For her to have been married to a mediocre individual as her husband is.. tells me a lot about her.
    How come when she was in the White House didn't use her situation to do more for homeless people in this country..? Do you know why? Because her husband is controlling and a macho Texas joke.. look how walks and in the way he does will tell you a lot about his personality. Also.. have you ever seen holding his wife's hand or offering her his arm when coming down from Air Force 1?
    Both they deserve each other but the sad part is that people that can't see beyond the tip of their noses elected the individual, next to a parasite as Cheney is, and the country is as how it is now. And on top of that.. these so called "conservatives" who say that believe in the rule of God.. are hypocrites who cheat their wives but they are expert pointing fingers at others.

    June 27, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  22. Jack in Des Moines

    "Former First Lady Laura Bush — who has kept a low profile since her husband's administration came to an end..." What do you mean SINCE? She was one of the most "low profile" First Ladies we have ever had. I rarely ever saw anything of her during the 8 years of her husband's administration. For all we know, she spent the better part of those 8 years sitting in the rose garden tossing back cosmos!

    June 27, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  23. David

    As usual, the ditto-head republicans feel the need to leave their oversimplified, stereotypical and grossly unoriginal comments here. Echoing the same Right-wing-nut commentators to the likes of Limbaugh, Beck, Coulter and Hannity. Hey Republicans, quit crying! You guys got us into this mess, now shutup and let the educated people figure out how to fix it.

    June 27, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  24. Texan

    Ken,
    Must HAVE.....not must "of". Perhaps you missed English class as well.

    June 27, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. cali j

    Maybe Obama and his kool aide drinkers can fly on Pelosi's air force jet and go apologize to Burma and the magic fairy will make everything better again.
    Where did such a large amount of ignorance come from all of a sudden. Obama promises to spread the wealth and ACORN voters come crawling out of the woodwork. History will show that Obama and his ilk will make the 60's seem tame when totaling up the damage he and his administration are doing to this country. How can you push not one, but two huge bills through congress that will bankrupt this country, without those who voted for them, having read them. Unbelieveable! And there are many on this board who support it. Tilt the cup and SWALLOW. Progressives my butt.

    June 27, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
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