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Muslim Violence in the Middle East Results in Tragedy

The US ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, was killed when the American Embassy was overrun in Benghazi. Several other embassy staffers were killed. Ambassador Stevens is the first US ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1979. There are lots of things in this world that I don’t understand. Senseless violence (or any violence for that matter) in the name of religion is sad, ironic and goes against the Judeo – Christian – Islamic heritage. The God that I worship, as a Christian, is about love, kindness and understanding. The God that I worship is supposed to be the exact same God of Islam. Then again, when you look back in history, senseless violence has followed religion everywhere. We had the Crusades. We had prolonged and extended violence in Northern Ireland as Protestants fought Catholics. In this country, the United States, we had an Al Qaeda-like terrorist organization, the Ku Klux Klan, who wrap themselves in biblical scripture to justify their acts of barbarism. We’ve also seen the rise of various extremist groups over the last decade or so and many of these groups try to use biblical scripture to justify their unjustifiable acts. (I do not want to forget to mention that other embassies were attacked in the Muslim world, including our embassy in Egypt.)

Tomorrow, or maybe later on tonight, I will talk about Mitt Romney’s senseless attack on President Obama. At some later time we will need to discuss the vulnerability of our ambassadors worldwide.

From NYT:

In a statement confirming the four fatalities, President Obama said he strongly condemned the killings and had ordered increased security at American diplomatic posts around the world. It was the first death of an American envoy abroad in more than two decades.

By |2012-09-12T20:28:29-04:00September 12th, 2012|Foreign Affairs, Party Politics|3 Comments

Bill O’Reilly Remains True to Form

It was only a couple weeks ago when Bill O’Reilly was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Bill was promoting his new book. He and Stewart sparred but there was no meaningful exchanges. It was only a week earlier when Jon Stewart was on the O’Reilly Factor. Stewart mentioned that O’Reilly had become “the reasonable one.” This was true. Over the last two or three years, Glenn Beck is become the wild and crazy face of right-wing politics. Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly have become reasonable. O’Reilly doesn’t want reasonable. Reasonable does not sell books. So, O’Reilly goes on The View.

Now this was vintage Bill O’Reilly. Edgy, combative, condescending, demeaning were all traits that Bill O’Reilly exhibited over his career and brought to the forefront for this interview. He did not want to Jon Stewart detente type of interview. He wanted more. He wanted something that America could talk about. He wanted something that would fire up those right wing extremists to run out and buy his book. That’s exactly what he got.

In some ways, I agree with Barbara Walters. We should be able to discuss issues without leaving the room. In other ways, this is a throwback to Leave It to Beaver type mentality. We should be able to discuss issues. We should not let conversations deteriorate into shouting matches. These women, on The View, had to know that Bill O’Reilly wanted to start something. They had to know that their show was the perfect venue for him to “misspeak” then apologize. If they didn’t know it, why didn’t they?

Bill O’Reilly, never to let an opportunity go to waste, spent all of his talking points commentary on defending himself. He’s right and they (liberals) are wrong. He basically stated that he said what he said because he was right. The problem, as he sees it, is that America’s fighting Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. He doesn’t see that were fighting Muslim extremists. He then expands his argument by noting many in the Muslim world hate the United States. He states the polls clearly show this. Therefore, he concludes that we’re actually fighting all Muslims since they support the extremists. The most interesting thing of O’Reilly’s diatribe is that he doesn’t note that most Muslims do not support extremists. This is key. This is the flaw in the O’Reilly logic. (There are actually many flaws but this is the most glaring.)

Bill O’Reilly ends his rant with one of the most unsubstantiated statements in his whole commentary. But this is an O’Reilly classic. This is one of those statements that most Americans would agree with on the surface. At first glance it sounds great. “If most moderate Muslims would ally themselves with the United States, the jihad would not exist.” What? What kind of blather is that? If most moderate Muslims would align themselves with the United States… Most moderate Muslims do not support violence. There’s a reason that Osama bin Laden is not sipping tea in Kabul, Islamabad or Istanbul. It is because he is not accepted there. There’s a reason that he’s hiding in the mountains in Western Pakistan. There’s a reason that he will not show his face in any major city. Moderate Muslims will not protect him. There’s a reason that we were able to find Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. We got information from moderate Muslims.

Finally, and most glaringly, Bill O’Reilly is distorting the facts, as usual. He puts forth the facts that support his point of view but won’t paint the whole picture. Sure, in multiple polls, Muslims are not in love with the United States. But these polls go further. The majority of Muslims want better relations with the West. They also show that majority of Muslims, the same 70% that Bill O’Reilly quotes, do not support violence against civilians. Let me say that again, the vast majority of Muslims polled in countries like Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan and Indonesia do not support violence against civilians. Bill O’Reilly remains a controversial figure that will not go away. For reasons that are unclear, thoughtful, intelligent conservative Americans continue to embrace this guy. He distorts the facts. He promotes himself relentlessly. He simply wants to sell more books which by the way, will also distort facts.

By |2010-10-19T07:54:10-04:00October 19th, 2010|9-11, Bin Laden, Media, Religion|18 Comments

Obama's Speech Hits a High Note

Larry King, who about 1000 years old, has the beautiful Queen Noor of Jordan as a guest. Israel and Palestine had a guarded but upbeat response to Obama’s message.

From CNN:

The main themes of the address resonated well with Palestinian and Israeli officials, while a Jewish settlers’ group — upset that Obama spoke against settlement activity — found problems with the speech, and others, like a Hamas official, expressed mixed or negative views.

The government of Israel expressed “hope that this important speech in Cairo will indeed lead to a new period of reconciliation between the Arab and Muslim world and Israel.”

“We share President Obama’s hope that the American effort heralds the beginning of a new era that will bring about an end to the conflict and lead to Arab recognition of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, living in peace and security in the Middle East,” it said.

From NYT:

While Mr. Obama emphasized that America’s bond with Israel was “unbreakable,” he spoke in equally powerful terms of the Palestinian people, describing their plight as “intolerable” after 60 years of statelessness, and twice referring to “Palestine” in a way that put Palestinians on parallel footing with Israelis.

Mr. Obama’s speech in Cairo, which he called a “timeless city,” was perhaps the riskiest of his presidency, as he used unusually direct language to call for a fresh look at deep divisions, both those between Israel and its neighbors and between the Islamic world and the West. Among his messages was a call for Americans and Muslims to abandon their mutual suspicions and do more to confront violent extremism.

But it was Mr. Obama’s empathetic tone toward the Palestinians that attracted the most attention in the region and around the world. His words left many Palestinians and their Arab supporters jubilant but infuriated some Israelis and American backers of Israel because they saw the speech as elevating the Palestinians to equal status. (more…)

By |2009-06-05T04:22:12-04:00June 5th, 2009|Foreign Affairs, Obama administration|Comments Off on Obama's Speech Hits a High Note
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