Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Updated at 8:11 a.m., Thursday, October 23, 2003

Bush arrives in Hawai‘i following six-nation trip

 •  Lingle planning to lobby for Akaka bill during Bush visit
 •  Ban on rural flights to Honolulu lifted

Advertiser Staff and News Services

President Bush arrived in Hawai'i at 8:04 a.m. morning after a whirlwind tour of Asia and the Pacific that saw him praising allies for their support in the war on terrorism and hearing complaints from Muslims and protesters about how the United States is conducting that war.

What you need to know

• Navigating certain streets is likely to be a little trickier than usual between the hours of roughly 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

• The visit had threatened to ground commercial airline flights from rural airports to Honolulu International Airport, but yesterday the Federal Aviation Administration lifted the restriction.

• The Arizona Memorial, as well as the visitors' center, the book store, the museum and the Arizona Memorial parking lot, will be closed to the public until noon.

• Don't plan on visiting the USS Missouri this morning, because Bush will also spend time there.

• The president will likely visit a school in the Pearl Harbor area around midday.

• The motorcade will be traveling to the Kahala Mandarin Oriental Hawaii hotel in the early afternoon. Hono-

lulu police have been practicing blocking traffic on H-1.

• Around 6 p.m., Bush will leave Kahala for the Hilton Hawaiian Village fund-raiser. That may lead to congestion in Waikiki.

• After the event at the Hilton, the Bushes will return to Hickam to board Air Force One and depart for Washington. The motorcade may take H-1.

During his O'ahu visit, Bush is scheduled to visit the Arizona Memorial, meet with Pacific island leaders and attend Republican Party fund-raising events. A visit to a school is also planned. It is the first presidential visit to the Islands since Bill Clinton had a brief layover on the Big Island in November 2000 on his way to Vietnam.

During a stop in Indonesia yesterday, Bush got an earful from three Muslim leaders who criticized his staunch support for Israel, questioned the war in Iraq and expressed fears that most Americans consider Muslims to be terrorists. Bush was told his policies encouraged the very reactionary violence he wants to end.

"We told him U.S. foreign policy should seek a new paradigm if the U.S. wants to be respected by the world community and be safe," Syafii Maarif, head of Muhammadiyah, the second-largest Muslim group in Indonesia, told Reuters news service after Bush departed.

Hasyim Muzadi, leader of Indonesia's largest Muslim group, Nahdlatul Ulama, added: "The clash between Islam and America needs to be stopped because this will destroy everything."

But in a joint news conference with Indonesia's president, Megawati Sukarnoputri, Bush defended his policies and said they are not targeting Islam.

"Americans hold a deep respect for the Islamic faith, which is professed by a growing number of my own citizens," he said. "We know that Islam is fully compatible with liberty and tolerance and progress because we see the proof in your country and in our own."

Later Bush flew to Australia, the final foreign stop on his six-day, six-country tour. The trip to Australia was intended to give thanks for the country's role in the war on terrorism, but exposed deep divisions over the war in Iraq. About 5,000 protesters demonstrated during his speech to the Australian parliament earlier today, and nearly half of the lawmakers withheld their applause when Bush entered the chamber. Two members of the anti-war Green Party were threatened with ejection when they interrupted Bush's speech with heckling. Bush defused tension and won applause by saying "I love free speech."

The meeting in Indonesia with the clerics was intended to demonstrate Bush's willingness to listen and to clear up misconceptions many Muslims have of his foreign policies.

President Bush and his wife, Laura, were welcomed to Australia's Parliament House by Prime Minister John Howard. Australia was Bush's last foreign stop on his Asia and Pacific trip. He is scheduled to arrive in Hawai'i this morning.

Associated Press

When the religious leaders complained that U.S. policy was "tilted toward Israel," Bush told them that it was "tilted toward peace." He stressed that he was the first U.S. president to explicitly call for the creation of a Palestinian state.

"Our foreign policy is for the development of a Palestinian state that lives side by side with Israel in peace," Bush said at a later news conference. "In order to achieve a Palestinian state living side by side in peace, there needs to be leadership that will fight off the terror that's trying to prevent the state from emerging."

The Indonesians were also highly skeptical about the war in Iraq. When one suggested Bush ordered the invasion without justification, he countered by saying that the United Nations had repeatedly called for Saddam Hussein to disarm.

"I didn't get into all the (U.N.) resolutions, but I made it clear that a process had gone on way before I made the decision to use military force," Bush said. "I also made the point very clearly that there was a lot of human suffering, a lot of Muslims suffered in Iraq. I did bring up the mass graves and the torture rooms."

Bush tried to dispel the idea that Americans equate Islam with terrorism.

"There was a kind of a sense that Americans believe that Muslims are terrorists. I wanted to make it very clear that I didn't feel that way and Americans don't feel that way," he said.

The clerics, three Muslims, a Christian and a Hindu selected by the White House, also questioned recently revealed comments by Lt. Gen. William Boykin, deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence. Boykin, in telling a church group in January about a Muslim's boast that Allah would protect him, said, "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol."

President Bush and first lady Laura Bush disembark Air Force One under heavy security after arriving in Bali, Indonesia. Bush made a short stopover on the island resort in the world's most populous Muslim nation to meet with the country's president, Megawati Sukarnoputri.

Associated Press

"Boykin came up," Bush said. "I said he didn't reflect my opinion."

Azyumardi Azra, a scholar at National Islamic University in Jakarta, said he was impressed by Bush's willingness to listen.

"I felt he was quite a warm person," Azra said after the encounter. "He responded and he listened."

Bush's arrival in Bali came shortly after the first anniversary of the terrorist bombing of a Bali nightclub in which 202 people were killed — the deadliest attack since Sept. 11, 2001.

Megawati won U.S. praise for swift action against Jemaah Islamiyah, the al-Qaida-linked group responsible for the bombing. About 100 members of the group have been arrested over the past year, including about 30 connected directly to the bombing. On the eve of Bush's visit, charges were filed against four of the last five suspects in the bombings. They will face trial in about 10 days.

An Indonesian reporter chided Bush over the brevity of his visit, noting that it was the shortest stopover of his six-nation tour of Southeast Asia.

"It may not have been very long, but it's been very productive," Bush shot back.

Knight Ridder News Service, the Chicago Tribune and Advertiser staff writer Mike Gordon contributed to this report.