…and it’s offensive. Maybe not to those in Cairo and the Muslim universe, maybe not to anti-Americans overseas, maybe not to half the country who thinks like President Barack HUSSEIN (his decision- it’s cool and hip to include, now) Obama, but offensive to myself and fellow conservatives who see danger in a president who doesn’t defend America, but castrates it before the world.
Transcript and video of the “New Beginning” speech here, speaking at the Grand Hall of Cairo University.
I don’t have time to fisk the entire speech (I’ll leave it to readers to dissect the parts they want to take issue with- or parts they may praise!).
But before I go off to work….
As a student of history,
I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America’s story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President John Adams wrote, “The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims.” And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, served in government, stood for civil rights, started businesses, taught at our Universities, excelled in our sports arenas, won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch. And when the first Muslim-American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers — Thomas Jefferson — kept in his personal library.
I guess President Barack HUSSEIN Obama didn’t study the rest of the story. Since bringing this up in itself would have been undiplomatic; and since it would have provided another opportune fodder to apologize to Muslims for our long history of oppression and tyranny against them…..I have to chalk this one up to historical ignorance.
Let me also address the issue of Iraq. Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world.
President Barack HUSSEIN Obama believes this. But it is a partisan issue that should be debated at home, not conceded abroad beyond America’s shores.
Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein,
Er….so…uh….it was a GOOD choice, then?
This is another example out of many where President Barack HUSSEIN Obama wishes to have it both ways. (Read Peter Wehner’s excellent commentary on Obama employing Aristotle’s golden mean, the search for the midpoint between two extremes. Hat tip: Steve Schippert. David Frum also notes how Obama straddles the line, and positions himself as an intermediary).
I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible. Indeed, we can recall the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said: “I hope that our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power the greater it will be.”
Diplomacy was tried and failed. It didn’t begin under President Bush #43 but under Bush #42, with the original Cease-Fire Agreement which Saddam Hussein violated while the ink was still wet.
Diplomacy was tried and failed under President Clinton, leading him to sign the Iraqi Liberation Act. “Regime change” became official U.S. policy under Bill Clinton, because the Saddam Hussein regime was recognized as irredeemable and diplomacy exhausted.
There was no “rush to war”.
Hitting the reset button on diplomacy each time we have a new Administration only gives rogue regimes like Iran and North Korea and Saddam’s Iraq the gift of time.
And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter our principles. 9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.
“unequivocally prohibited the use of torture”?!? Puh-lease….you mean the meaningless window-dressing EO you signed on day two that revoked President Bush’s 2007 EO that basically said the same thing as the new EO, prohibiting torture?
This is not only a slam at the policy decisions of the previous administration, but an insult to our military, CIA, and our country.
We have not “altered our principles” or acted “contrary to our ideals”. The Administration never lashed out at al Qaeda and the Islamic terror network out of “fear and anger”. The course that President Bush and his Administration pursued was one of prevention; on how best to stop the next terror attack, not seek revenge. This is even true of Afghanistan.
Set the record straight on Guantanamo. The men and women who have served at Gitmo deserve better. They deserve recognition for the fine job they have been doing there. It is not a gulag. Explain instead, why Guantanamo should remain open for business:
How about using his political capital with the Muslim world to convince them that Guantanamo is a paradise compared to any other prison/detention facility in the world? How about this: Change the name. Don’t call it “Gitmo”. Change the perception. It’s not a “gulag”. Call it ‘Al muntazah al-dini lilmujaheden al Muslimin,’: “The Religion Resort for Islamic Militants.”
If he can call the “war on Islamic terror” a kinder, gentler PC name (Overseas Contingency Operations) in order to keep prosecuting it without appearing to be perpetuating Bush-era foreign policy, then he can come up with an alternative for Gitmo as well.
For a great article on the perils of political apologies, read Peter Feaver.
Apologies can bring with it, more harm than good when applied incorrectly.
Scott coming away with a different take:
Obama’s Cairo Speech Almost The Same as Bush’s June 2002 Speech, pointing out the need for finding common ground, recognizing Israel’s right to exist and the formation of a Palestinian state, etc.
Marc Thiessen this morning:
“The world is the worse for this speech because it was not honest about the situation in the Middle East, not honest about the threat from Iran, not honest about Israel’s deep desire to be allowed to live in peace, and not honest about the determination of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran to destroy Israel and to gain the weapons necessary to do so in an instant.
“No speech so deeply dishonest in its omissions or so rhetorically misleading its its assumptions and arguments can do anything other than communicate extraordinary weakness on the part of the United States. It will indeed be a famous speech, for all the wrong reasons.”