I think this writer is onto something: it turns out George Bush and the US deserve some credit for the wave of human rights demands sweeping the Arab world. Not how he'd want it, maybe; but credit nevertheless:
Some have linked the emergence of a strong human rights agenda in the Arab world with the policies of the last American president. In a way they are right: post-9/11 abuses overseen by the Bush administration were the tragedy that brought to light the urgency of claiming rights.
In the stunning popular uprisings that have been sprouting up throughout the Arab world, the desire for the realization of rights seems ubiquitous. For this, some have argued, George W. Bush deserves some credit. In fact, there is a link to be made between recent developments and Bush administration policies. However, it is not so much that we are finally seeing the fruits of the Bush era’s democracy and human rights promotion agenda, or that a liberated Iraq has now set an example for the rest of the region to follow. Rather, we are seeing the fruits of an Arab engagement with human rights which was in part spurred by the Bush Administration’s array of post-9/11 policies thwarting human rights....
“Abu Ghraib probably brought home the concept of human rights more strongly than anything else. People started debating human rights issues in talking about Abu Ghraib…What is your right to be treated like a human being in dignity?” an Arab activist told me in Amman in 2006.
It's a serious piece, and I find it worthy of some thought.
And if it's not ironic, I don't know what is.