Tag Archives: Islam

Why 100 Years in Iraq isn’t Possible

Andrew Sullivan is really on to something. America’s long term presence in Japan and Korea, which McCain invokes as an example for our future in Iraq, already causes problems.

But a long term presence in the Middle East is even harder to pull off. Despite the cultural gap that exists in Asian societies, the gap is bigger with the Middle East. Its an atmosphere where a serviceman getting bacon in a care package or getting caught with alcohol could cause a major problem. Already we’ve had multiple incidents where American servicemen have been accused of desecrating the Qu’ran multiple times. That doesn’t even take into account our interrogation policies that are calculated to humiliate and insult the Muslims we are interrogating or the fact that there are a lot of people in the United States with casting our fight against terrorism as a fight against Islam in general and have no problem insulting Muslims.

Thats not to say that we couldn’t keep long term bases. Certainly we could, if we were willing to devote the resources to maintain them, as we did in Saudi Arabia and do in Qatar and Kuwait. The question is would it be counterproductive to establish a long term presence? I think it would be. It would inflame public opinion in the Islamic world, especially when these types of incidents occur. It would give al-Qaeda and their ideological ilk a valuable recruiting tool. Yet John McCain continues to insist that a 100+ year presence in Iraq is no big deal.

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Virginia Republicans in Congress Make Fools of Themselves

Congressmen Eric Cantor and Virgil Goode really made fools of themselves today.

Goode came first. In the debate over Iraq today, Goode went on a bizarre rant against Muslims.

When the commentary begins in the Middle East, in no way do I want to comfort and encourage the radical Muslims who want to destroy our country and who want to wipe the so-called infidels like myself and many of you from the face of the Earth. In no way do I want to aid and assist the Islamic jihadists who want the crescent and star to wave over the Capitol of the United States and over the White House of this country. I fear that radical Muslims who want to control the Middle East and ultimately the world would love to see “In God We Trust” stricken from our money and replaced with “In Muhammad We Trust.”

He’s really just following up on his rant against Kieth Ellison.

I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran.

Its never a good day when you further prove yourself to be a bigot.

Goode’s race against Tom Periello this fall ought to be fun. You see, Periello “was once the co-director of an organization that ran an apology on the Qatar-based network al-Jazeera on behalf of people of faith in the U.S. to the Iraqis for atrocities committed in U.S. detention facilities.”

Cantor came next, a little later in the day.

In an interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffery Goldberg Barack Obama said:

JG: Do you think that Israel is a drag on America’s reputation overseas?

BO: No, no, no. But what I think is that this constant wound, that this constant sore, does infect all of our foreign policy. The lack of a resolution to this problem provides an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists to engage in inexcusable actions, and so we have a national-security interest in solving this, and I also believe that Israel has a security interest in solving this because I believe that the status quo is unsustainable.

Cantor, along with House Minority Leader John Boehner, immediately put out a statement:

“It is truly disappointing that Senator Obama called Israel a ‘constant wound,’ ‘constant sore,’ and that it ‘infect[s] all of our foreign policy.’ These sorts of words and characterizations are the words of a politician with a deep misunderstanding of the Middle East and an innate distrust of Israel”

Only an idiot would read Obama’s comments as talking about only Israel, as opposed to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Does Cantor want us to think that Obama doesn’t think Israel is a “drag on America’s reputation abroad” but does think that it is a “constant wound” and a “constant sore.” Obama didn’t explicitly say the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it’s pretty damn clear what he was referring to. As ABC News’ Jake Tapper wrote Obama was very, very pro-Israel:

After describing some of the first times he thought about Zionism, Obama said “the idea of a secure Jewish state is a fundamentally just idea, and a necessary idea, given not only world history but the active existence of anti-Semitism, the potential vulnerability that the Jewish people could still experience.”

He talked about how “the idea of Israel and the reality of Israel is one that I find important to me personally. Because it speaks to my history of being uprooted, it speaks to the African-American story of exodus, it describes the history of overcoming great odds and a courage and a commitment to carving out a democracy and prosperity in the midst of hardscrabble land.”

He assailed Hamas as a terrorist organization and said the United States “should not be dealing with them until they recognize Israel, renounce terrorism, and abide by previous agreements.”

Does that sound like someone hates Israel? Tapper says that “Boehner et al are falsely accusing Obama of besmirching a nation and a people. They are accusing him of being anti-Israel, even anti-Semitic. It is false,” and that “Voters may conclude that Republicans think they have to make things up to beat Obama.” He’s right.

Talk about a bad day.

[Update] It’s not just me. Jeffery Goldberg agrees. After calling on Boehner to retract his statement on Obama and the “constant sore” comment Goldberg writes:

If he doesn’t, however, I would, sadly, have to agree with my colleague, the less-forgiving Andrew Sullivan, who called Boehner’s statement a “flat-out lie.” In fact, I would add to Andrew’s post, by calling Boehner’s statement mendacious, duplicitous, gross, and comically refutable. So Mr. Boehner, do the right thing, and correct the record. I’ll be happy to post the correction right here.

Not to mention, these wonderful performances came less than a week after voting against Mother’s Day.

It was already shaping up to be a difficult year for congressional Republicans. Now, on the cusp of Mother’s Day, comes this: A majority of the House GOP has voted against motherhood.

On Wednesday afternoon, the House had just voted, 412 to 0, to pass H. Res. 1113, “Celebrating the role of mothers in the United States and supporting the goals and ideals of Mother’s Day,” when Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), rose in protest.

“Mr. Speaker, I move to reconsider the vote,” he announced…. This time, 178 Republicans cast their votes against mothers.

It has long been the custom to compare a popular piece of legislation to motherhood and apple pie. Evidently, that is no longer the standard….

Republicans, unhappy with the Democratic majority, have been using such procedural tactics as this all week to bring the House to a standstill, but the assault on mothers may have gone too far. House Minority Leader John Boehner, asked yesterday to explain why he and 177 of his colleagues switched their votes, answered: “Oh, we just wanted to make sure that everyone was on record in support of Mother’s Day.”

By voting against it?

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John Hagee’s not the only one

So, it turns out that John Hagee isn’t John McCain’s only problem when it comes to crazy pastors. Rod Parsley, who has endorsed McCain and appeared at events with him, has this to say about Islam.

I can’t begin to tell you how important it is that we understand the true nature of Islam. That we see it for what it really is. In fact…I do not believe that our nation can truly fulfill its divine purpose until we understand our historical conflict with Islam…I know that this statement sounds extreme. But I am not shrinking back from its implications. The fact is that…America was founded in part with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed. And I believe September 11, 2001, was a generational call to arms that we no longer can afford to ignore.

Now, I don’t know how close McCain is with Parsley or how vehemently McCain sought Parsley’s endorsement. But whatever the circumstances, this seems to be to be far more damaging than McCain’s association with Hagee, or at least it should be. Not because of the political distastefulness of Parsley’s views. I think that Matt Yglesias is likely right that “anti-Muslim bigotry is a fairly mainstream and popular sentiment in the United States so associating with the Daniel Pipes’ and Rod Parsley’s of the world is only a problem in the actual, substantive sense of indicating that McCain’s foreign policy views are bad and dangerous, not in the freak show “this’ll hurt in November in Pennsylvania” sense.”

But these views are really, really bad. If McCain were to become President this is the sort of thing that would make for a dynamite al-Qaeda recruiting video. If we are really serious about combating al-Qaeda, this is really the sort of thing we need to work to avoid. The video of McCain appear with this nut job would galvanize all sorts of people in the Muslim by convincing them that American actions in the Middle East really are a war on Islam and that American foreign policy really is designed to destroy Islam. This is the sort of guy we really need to marginalize if we are to be successful in fighting al-Qaeda and their ideologically related organizations, as it confirms the stereotype of America that al-Qaeda is already working hard to project in the Muslim world.

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