Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

"Counting Down to Jan. 20, 2017" and "Libertarians + Liberals = Lunacy"

by Burt Prelutsky on Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

There used to be a popular radio show, followed by an equally popular TV show, called “The Amateur Hour.” Singers, comedians and musicians, including even accordion players, would seek fame and fortune by competing on the show. These days, that notion has morphed into any number of similar shows, the most successful of which is “American Idol.”

What led me to think about all this is the realization that by the time the next president is inaugurated, Barack Obama will have held office for 2,922 days. (Don’t forget to count leap years before writing to question my math.) Or in other words, we will have suffered through the equivalent of 70,128 amateur hours.

In his book “Presidential Power,” Richard Neustadt wisely wrote: “The Presidency is no place for amateurs. It requires politicians of extraordinary temperament. That sort of experience can hardly be acquired without deep experience in political office. The Presidency is a place for men of politics. But by no means is it a place for every politician.”

I happen to agree with his analysis, which is why I opposed Herman Cain’s candidacy in 2012 and oppose Dr. Ben Carson’s today. Both men seem to be intelligent and decent fellows, and while I consider both qualities essential in a Chief Executive, I don’t see how that qualifies them to sit in the Oval Office. Heck, I’m intelligent and decent, and have devoted far more time to politics than either of them, and even I wouldn’t vote for me. Well, not unless I was the only thing standing between Hillary Clinton and a return trip to the White House.

In the same way, I tend not to support senators or congressmen. Their jobs don’t provide them with executive experience. What it does provide them with is a megaphone, so they are able to capture people’s attention.

For instance, I very much like Paul Ryan, but except for his expertise when it comes to budgetary matters and a very pleasant personality, I have no idea how he would govern. I am also taken with Trey Gowdy, and the way he cuts through the crapola when questioning the smarmy likes of IRS chief John Koskinen. But I can’t help feeling that the country might be better served if they either stayed where they are or were promoted to Cabinet positions as Secretary of the Treasury and Attorney General, respectively.

Speaking of the IRS, I always thought I had a great way to lessen the annual pain of writing a check to the Treasury. It would take advantage of people’s addiction to lotteries. Don’t you think that people would be somewhat more anxious to pay what they owe if the IRS instituted a lottery that would pay out a first prize of, say, a hundred times the amount you paid in? I would also have runner-up prizes that would return 75-1, 50-1, 25-1, 10-1 to a handful of lucky taxpayers, and perhaps a thousand additional payouts to those whose prize would be the return of their checks torn into several pieces.

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Where the Black Flags Fly

by Daniel Greenfield on Monday, August 25th, 2014

This is article 1229 of 1231 in the topic International

Media conveys immediacy, but it doesn’t convey culture. Its famous flattening effect makes shoppers at a Staples in D.C. or a Whole Foods in Berkeley feel like they’re right among the toppled buildings of Aleppo or Gaza, without actually giving them any insight into the motivations of the players.

They’re watching foreign movies in a language that they don’t understand and attributing their own motivations to the main characters. They assume that the differences are incidental, but if the differences really were incidental, America would look a lot more like Iraq.

It’s been a while since Westerners lived in a society in which human life was truly worthless, in which no one trusted anyone else and it was easier to kill than not to kill.

Outside of a few urban centers in the Middle East where the elites start the revolutions that end up stringing them from the gallows, life is cheap and worthless. Men kill their wives and daughters over petty suspicions. Clans murder each other in vicious brawls. Wedding celebrations begin with firing guns into the air and end with bodies on the ground.

Everything is worth more than people. A camel has value. A pickup truck has value. A smartphone has value. All these things are hard to make.

People are easy to make.

The birth rates are high. Everywhere there are too many people. Too many sons to inherit. Too many daughters to marry off.

The UN and a whole bunch of international organizations slop in enough aid to keep hunger and disease away, but not enough to make life livable or worthwhile. The wealthy have satellite dishes on which they watch American reality shows and Turkish soaps. The poor kidnap them and hold them for ransom. It’s not just life in the Middle East. It’s the whole Third World experience.

About the only reliable source of wealth comes out of the ground and the countries that have it are usually too lazy to get it themselves. That’s what the armies of Western engineers are for. They don’t build their own skyscrapers with the oil money. That’s what the disposable Asian workers are for.

Killing is the easiest solution to most problems. Men kill over honor. Women kill themselves out of desperation. Children grow up torturing animals.

Clerics settle religious questions with murder. It’s just easier that way.

Theological debates are complicated and impossible to settle, but fly the black flags, seize a village, kill the men and force the women to convert to the true faith of the machine gun and the sword and the debate is over.

ISIS is how Islam has been settling questions of theology since the 7th century. Why stop now just because you can order takeout from your smartphone? Westerners are innately fascinated by new technology. For the Middle East, technology is a tool for settling medieval disputes. Twitter is just a way of showing off your latest crop of severed heads. The pickup truck substitutes for a camel.

Politicians settle political debates with more murders. Elections are complicated. Democracy is messy. It’s easier for a colonel to take everyone out back and shoot them. And then spend the next twenty years building palaces with his people’s wealth. And the people mostly like it that way too.

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Why Won’t Putin Help Middle East Christians?

by Cliff Kincaid on Monday, August 25th, 2014

This is article 1230 of 1231 in the topic International

An article titled, “Iraq’s Christians See Putin As Savior,” appeared on the website of The Daily Beast in late June. It was picked up by literally dozens of “news” sites all over the Internet, contributing to the perception that Russia was actually prepared to do something on behalf of these Christians and other minorities.

The article referred to “Russia’s increasingly cozy relationship with Middle Eastern Christians” and included a photo of Putin under a halo.

But when the Christians in Iraq actually needed some help, it was the U.S. and Britain which intervened on their behalf. Humanitarian aid was delivered to the minority religious groups under attack, and air strikes were conducted against the terrorists. Later, France and Australia joined in the effort.

The Christian “Stand Firm in Faith” website asks, “So where is President Putin now that Christians are being wiped out in Iraq?”

“So now Putin keeps his shirt on?” writer Timothy Fountain asked.

The latter is a reference to the many photos of a shirtless Putin. He has been shirtless on a horse, holding a rifle and fishing.

Walter Hickey at Business Insider had published “39 Photos That Prove Vladimir Putin Is The Most Badass Leader In The World.” These photos also showed Putin firing weapons, on a motorcycle, and in a race car.

But this tough guy hasn’t lifted a finger of behalf of persecuted Christians in Iraq.

While some argue with justification that the U.S. effort has not been enough and too slow, I searched the website of the Russian Embassy in Washington to see if there was an announcement of Russia participating in, or offering the delivery of, aid to Christians and others in Iraq—and could find nothing.

There is no evidence that the “international partners” helping Christians and other minorities in Iraq include Russia. Instead, Putin has been trying to sneak “humanitarian aid” into Ukraine, to benefit the Russian terrorists who shot down the Malaysian airliner with nearly 300 passengers.

One can search the Internet and find all kinds of stories about how Putin is not only defending Christians but is supposed to be a Christian himself. A story carried by the Christian Post said, “Putin has long been a supporter of Christianity and Christian values within Russia. He has called for the Church to play a larger role in citizens’ social lives, better religion classes in schools, and television programs emphasizing religious values.”

Some other stories include:

  • “Pope, Putin Summit to Benefit Christians” from Newsmax
  • “Vladimir Putin, Christian Crusader?” from The American Conservative, and written by Patrick J. Buchanan
  • “Putin Policies Aim to Defend Christian Beliefs” from the Liberty Voice blog
  • “Vladimir Putin is a Christian Man” from The Daily Stormer (an anti-Semitic site)
  • “US threatened by Russia’s Christianity” from the Russian Pravda
  • “Russia will develop as democratic state, defend Christian values—Putin” from the Voice of Russia
  • “Putin promises to protect Christianity worldwide” from Russia Today

The Timothy Fountain article noted that “Just over two years ago, Russia’s President received a briefing from Metropolitan Hilarion, the foreign relations representative of the Russian Orthodox Church.” Putin was told, “Every five minutes one Christian was dying for his or her faith in some part of the word.”

After hearing several examples of the persecution of Christians, Putin replied with an offer of help and said, “You needn’t have any doubt that that’s the way it will be.”

It turns out that the source of the report about Putin vowing to defend Christians around the world was Russia Today (RT), the well-known disinformation outlet for Russian propaganda.

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U.S. journalist’s ‘executioner’ IDed by MI5; ISIS continues recruiting in West

by Jim Kouri on Sunday, August 24th, 2014

This is article 782 of 783 in the topic Terrorism

MI5, the United Kingdom’s internal intelligence and security agency, early Sunday morning reported that the British Muslim terrorist who allegedly butchered and killed the American journalist James Foley in a videotape that’s gone viral on the Internet has been identified. The case of of a murder by a suspected believed to be a British national has renewed fears in the West of terrorist organizations such as the ruthless Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) successfully recruiting hundreds of foreign fighters from Europe and the United States.

The masked man with a London accent, who is said to be known to fellow fighters as “Jihadi John”, was seen in the shocking video of Foley’s death released by the Isis extremist army last week, according to MI5 (Military Intelligence Section 5) and confirmed by Britain’s foreign intelligence service MI6.

While the British government provided limited details about the man, they did report that their primary suspect is 23-year-old Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary whose Egyptian family live in a multi-million dollar mansion west London. According to British security officials Bary deserted his obviously opulent surroundings last year in order to join the jihadists in Syria.

The homegrown radical Muslim was so proud of his brutality that he circulated a picture of himself holding up a severed head on the social media web site Twitter.com.

Concerns in the U.K. continue since a disproportionate number of young British citizens have been going to Syria, and now Iraq, to help Islamist groups in their rebellion against both the Syrian and Iraqi governments’ military forces. What troubles Prime Minister David Cameron is the prospect that many of these jihadists are expected to return home better trained with a taste for blood.

In noticeable contrast with U.S. President Barack Obama, Cameron has been on top of the investigation from the moment he heard about Foley’s execution-style murder. While he had been on vacation, he quickly returned to 10 Downing Street and began “working the phones,” contacting the U.K.’s military, intelligence, security and law enforcement officials including Scotland Yard.

“Cameron wasn’t seeking photo ops because he’s been pretty low-key preferring to back his minions with logistical support and remaining on top of his commanders within the military and police communities,” said Larry Lorre-Reid, a former police inspector who has training hundreds of police investigators in intelligence gathering and analysis.

“Unfortunately, even though Foley was an American citizen, after Obama’s televised announcement about the Foley murder within an hour he was back on the golf course. One suspects that Obama has little regard for American citizenship since he appears more animated and more concerned over illegal aliens and their treatment by cops,” Lorre-Reid stated.

The British intelligence agency MI5 estimates that about 500 British extremists are already fighting in the Middle East, but many of them are expected to return home, possibly with assignments to commit terrorist acts.

According to an Examiner news story last May, “British Islamists are the largest group of foreign fighters in Syria helping al-Qaida and other terrorist groups to battle the Syrian military and helping to overthrow the brutal and oppressive regime of President Bashir al-Assad.

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Genocide! A Christian Holocaust

by Alan Caruba on Monday, August 18th, 2014

This is article 1227 of 1231 in the topic International
Syrian victims of Islamic State slaughter
By Alan Caruba
In the last century and now this one, I have lived long enough to have been alive when the Nazis killed six million European Jews and another five million other “enemies of the state” that included unionists, homosexuals, Seventh Day Adventists, and any others that ran afoul of that hateful and hate-filled regime.
There were genocides in the last and this century. The killing of Kurds by Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi dictator who used poison gas—a weapon of mass destruction—against them is largely forgotten by everyone but the Kurds.
In the 1990s there was a genocide in Rwanda by the Tutsi tribe against the Hutu people. Hundreds of thousands were killed, most by machete. Reportedly rape, mutilation, and the deliberate spread of disease were also used against them. The final body count was estimated by some at well over a million.
In the Middle East, the Islamic Ottoman Empire whose final years were directed from what is now modern-day Turkey was responsible for the Armenian Genocide that began in 1915. The Armenians were a Christian minority and what is occurring in the land claimed by the new Islamic State (IS) reflects the same barbarity that afflicted and killed between 600,000 and 1.8 million Armenians.
In Europe following the fall of the Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia, thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Serbs were “ethnically cleansed” between 1990 and 1995. Some twenty thousand were killed.
And now the fanatical Islamic State that stretches from areas of northern Syria through much of northern Iraq, just outside of Baghdad, is waging a systematic and utterly barbaric genocide of the area’s Christians. They are killing Muslims too.
And what is the world doing? Virtually nothing.
The President of the most militarily powerful nation on Earth has dropped some “humanitarian” aid to thousands of Yazidis, an ancient, little known group driven from their homes in northern Iraq where they have lived for hundreds of years. Thousands of Christians were driven from Mosul. There has been an increase in U.S. air attacks on IS forces, but a far greater effort will be needed to destroy this evil entity.
Nigerian Christians killed by Boko Haram

In Nigeria, Boko Haram, an Islamist terrorist group, is slaughtering thousands.

The Islamic State is now the most militarily powerful force in the Middle East and one of the most wealthy. It threatens the Kurds who have finally begun to receive weapons from the U.S.
What President Obama should be doing is orchestrating a military coalition just as George H.W. Bush did to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, but the fact is that Europe is fearful of participating because it is now home to a large population of Muslims.

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The Fat Lady Is Practicing Her Scales

by Burt Prelutsky on Monday, August 18th, 2014

I don’t think there is any way to overestimate the importance of the mid-term elections. Although I wish I could view the world through non-partisan eyes, Barack Obama and Harry Reid have conspired to make that impossible. I’m just hoping that a sufficient number of Americans come out of their collective coma before the fat lady has a chance to warble “Nearer My God to Thee” at this nation’s funeral.

The trouble is that we have a president who seems to lie awake nights trying to come up with new ways to destroy America. For openers, he is terrified — partly because of his liberal base and partly because of his own questionable background — to be confrontational towards the Islamists who are enthusiastically waging war on us and our allies. So even as he does the right thing in Iraq by trying to prevent the barbarians from exterminating Christians and Kurds, he keeps assuring those who are out to create a caliphate that we are limiting our response.

His defenders like to say that he is thoughtful and deliberate, seemingly slow to act only because he is so concerned with nuance, so profoundly aware of the possible consequences of taking action. What makes that analysis so comical is that when Hamlet behaved exactly the same way, most people wrote it off as pathological indecision at best, cowardice at worst. It’s also worth noting that, thanks to Hamlet’s constant dithering, everyone is dead by the end of Act V.

For anyone who is curious what this impending caliphate would look like, they merely have to consider the fact that these savages are beheading children; turning captured women into sex slaves, much as the Japanese did during World War II; and committing genocide with a relish unseen since the days when Nazi Germany was running its gas ovens 24/7.

Instead of doing everything in his power to defeat pure evil, Obama prefers to remind us that Bush’s war in Iraq was a disaster. He happens to be right, but for the wrong reason. The war was a blunder not so much because we waged it or because we failed to find weapons of mass destruction, but because George Bush insisted that our actual mission was to bring democracy like a gift box of chocolates to that misbegotten land, and because he kept repeating the moronic message that Islam is a religion of peace as if he were a parrot gone berserk.

I do not believe that the majority of Americans are as weary of war as they are of squandering billions of dollars and thousands of military lives in the naïve hope that at the conclusion of hostilities, our sworn enemies will like us, when the aim should be that they, along with every other potential foe, fear us.

I believe that if Obama unleashed our full military might on the Islamic State or whatever these creeps are calling themselves this week, and turning the sand these monsters stand on into glass, most Americans would stand up and cheer.

I also believe that it is time that our politicians quit pretending that there are good Muslims and bad Muslims.

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How to Write About Israel

by Daniel Greenfield on Sunday, August 17th, 2014

This is article 1226 of 1231 in the topic International

Writing about Israel is a booming field. No news agency, be it ever so humble, can avoid embedding a few correspondents and a dog’s tail of stringers into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, to sit in cafes clicking away on their laptops, meeting up with leftist NGO’s and the oppressed Muslim of the week.

At a time when international desks are being cut to the bone, this is the one bone that the newshounds won’t give up. Wars can be covered from thousands of miles away, genocide can go to the back page, but, when a rock flies in the West Bank, there had better be a correspondent with a fake continental accent and a khaki shirt to cover it.

Writing about Israel isn’t hard. Anyone who has consumed a steady diet of media over the years already knows all the bullet points. The trick is arranging them artistically, like so many wilted flowers, in the story of this week’s outrage.

Israel is hot, even in the winter, with the suggestion of violence brimming under the surface. It should be described as a “troubled land.” Throw in occasional ironic biblical references and end every article or broadcast by emphasizing that peace is still far away.

It has two types of people; the Israelis who live in posh houses stocked with all the latest appliances and the Arabs who live in crumbling shacks that are always in danger of being bulldozed. The Israelis are fanatical, the Arabs are passionate. The Israelis are hate-filled, while the Arabs are embittered. The Israelis have everything while the Arabs have nothing.

Avoid mentioning all the mansions that you pass on the way to interviewing some Palestinian Authority or Hamas bigwig. When visiting a terrorist prisoner in an Israeli jail, be sure to call him a militant, somewhere in the fifth paragraph, but do not mention the sheer amount of food in the prison, especially if he is on a hunger strike. If you happen to notice that the prisoners live better than most Israelis, that is something you will not refer to. Instead describe them as passionate and embittered. Never ask them how many children they killed or how much they make a month. Ask them what they think the prospects for peace are. Nod knowingly when they say that it’s up to Israel.

Weigh every story one way. Depersonalize Israelis, personalize Muslims. One is a statistic, the other a precious snowflake. A Muslim terrorist attack is always in retaliation for something, but an Israeli attack is rarely a retaliation for anything. When Israeli planes bomb a terrorist hideout, suggest that this latest action only feeds the “Cycle of Violence” and quote some official who urges Israel to return to peace negotiations– whether or not there actually are any negotiations to return to.

Center everything around peace negotiations. If Israel has any domestic politics that don’t involve checkpoints and air strikes, do your best to avoid learning about them. Frame all Israeli politics by asking whether a politician is finally willing to make the compromises that you think are necessary for peace. Always sigh regretfully and find them wanting. Assume that all Israelis think the same way.

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"It’s Chinatown"

by Burt Prelutsky on Friday, August 15th, 2014

This is article 1228 of 1231 in the topic International

At the end of the movie, “Chinatown,” when the rich, powerful and totally depraved Noah Cross drags his granddaughter away in order to use and abuse her as he used and abused his own daughter, the private eye, J.J. Gittes, tries to stop him. But he’s held back by a friend, who says, “Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.” And although at the time they are standing in the middle of a street located in L.A.’s Chinatown, what he’s really saying is that some things never change, that those in power are always corrupt and, tragically, that corruption always triumphs at the end of the day.

If the movie had been made in 2014 rather than 40 years ago, he might have said, “Forget it, Jake, it’s Washington,” and conveyed the same cynical message.

Recently, the IRS agreed, on behalf of the atheist group Freedom from Religion, to go after churches that they feel have gotten too involved in politics, and should therefore face forfeiture of their tax-exempt status. But how involved is obviously less important than who’s involved.

For instance, when the Catholic Church pushes for amnesty on behalf of illegal aliens, 99% of whom just happen to be Catholics and are likely to fill its pews and collection plates, not to mention the ranks of the Democrats, I have a feeling the Church is not likely to be reprimanded by Obama’s IRS. And when at election time, black Baptist ministers pick up a few extra bucks by renting out their pulpits to leftwing candidates, I don’t think they have to worry about Eric Holder’s Justice Department lowering the boom.

One would have thought that America would have recognized what a terrible idea it was to join the United Nations back in 1945. After all, it had been less than ten years earlier that Haile Selassie, the leader of Ethiopia, had gone before the League of Nations, the precursor of the U.N., to plead for the world’s help in fending off the invading Italian forces. Predictably, the League, a pipedream of the vile Woodrow Wilson, did nothing. On his way out the door, Selassie uttered the ominous warning: “Today, it’s us; tomorrow, it will be you.”

As he foretold, World War II was waiting in the wings, even as Neville Chamberlin promised “Peace in our time” and the isolationists in the U.S. had us twiddling our thumbs for an additional three years until the Japanese foolishly dragged us into the fray by demolishing our fleet at Pearl Harbor.

That is why I get so annoyed when people like Rand Paul suggest that we keep our noses out of foreign affairs and others insist that Americans are sick and tired of waging war. I could be mistaken, but what I think Americans are sick and tired of is rushing off to defend one sect of Muslims being attacked by some other sect, and settling for cease-fires instead of actually winning wars by defeating the enemy.

That’s not to suggest we should keep our hands off the Middle East. For one thing, we have an ally in that part of the world, Israel, with whom we share a great deal, including civilized values, human rights and common enemies. What we shouldn’t do is what George W.

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"Notes From My Bunker" and "To Impeach Or Not To Impeach"

by Burt Prelutsky on Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

One of my readers is given to sending me messages fraught with anger and frustration over news items related to the ever-increasing amount of madness in the world. In his last communique, he let me know that it was getting to be too much for him to bear and that he had resorted to listening to more music and less news. I wrote back to report that my wife, who is addicted to Fox News, will sometimes switch it off in order to lower her blood pressure by watching cooking shows and old movies.

I then acknowledged that I’m lucky because when the bad news begins to overwhelm me, I sit down and write another article ridiculing liberals or Muslims. And lately, I added, it’s become increasingly difficult to distinguish between the two villainous groups.

Speaking of those who should be bombed back to the Stone Age, except for the fact that they’ve never really emerged from it, I have noticed that even Fox has focused far more sympathetic attention on the Palestinians than on the Israelis. That might be the inevitable result of their stationing their Middle East correspondent Conor Powell in Gaza rather than in Tel Aviv. I have begun to suspect that Mr. Powell, who wears a helmet to protect himself from Israeli bombs, has become a victim of the Stockholm syndrome. Inevitably, he has begun to empathize with those who are being bombed today instead of those who have been under missile attack for the better part of the past decade. But, then, we know that even Fox is not impervious to the media motto that dictates that if it bleeds, it leads.

If the Israelis want to start garnering a little sympathy, they have to stop using the Iron Dome defense system to bring down Palestinian missiles. And if they station women and children in targeted zones, I’m sure they’ll do even better in the PR war.

Of course if they really want the world’s pity, at least for a week or so, they can simply roll over for the Muslims in Gaza, Syria and Iran, and allow themselves to be wiped off the face of the earth.

In what passes for stupid even by her own Olympian standards, Nancy Pelosi had the gall to say: “According to Qatar, Hamas is a humanitarian organization.” So, even though most of the civilized world, including the United States, has declared Hamas a terrorist organization, the House minority leader is willing to go on TV and seriously parrot the words of one group of Muslim terrorists about another

But, then, in what must go down as one of the oddest moments in human history, we have America’s Secretary of State John Kerry siding with Hamas and the terrorist gang’s supporters in Qatar and Turkey, while Egypt, Saudi Arabia and most of the Middle East, sides with Israel.

The fact that there are demonstrations against Israel in particular and the Jews in general all over Europe is no surprise. For one thing, many of the demonstrations are led by the demented followers of Islam. For another, anti-Semitism is part of Europe’s DNA. Far more troubling is the fact that there have been scores of similar demonstrations here in America.

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Spectacularly Wrong

by Alan Caruba on Saturday, August 9th, 2014

This is article 1224 of 1231 in the topic International

By Alan Caruba

“A greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: assalaamu alaykum”

The speaker had what one might imagine, given his background, a better insight into Islam, Muslims, and the Middle East than others who had preceded him. He said he was seeking “a new beginning” that was “based on mutual interests and mutual respect” because his nation and those in the Middle East shared “common principles—principles of justice and progress, tolerance and dignity of all human beings.”

He cited “civilization’s debt to Islam” and noted that there were more than 1,200 mosques in this country. He declared that his nation would never be “at war with Islam” and he quoted from “the holy Koran” several times during his speech.

Five years later, noting the Islamic holiday of “Eid-al-Fitr” on July 28, he said “In the United States, Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy,” but the U.S. did not elect its first Muslim-American congressman until 2007. No Muslims took part in our founding.

At one point he cited his nation’s “strong bonds with Israel” calling them “unbreakable.” Noting the Holocaust in which six million Jews were killed, he said that “Threatening Israel with destruction—or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews is deeply wrong” but that he deemed the situation of Palestinians “intolerable” adding that “Palestinians must abandon violence.” Noting his opposition to Israeli settlements, he managed to be on both sides of the issues that divide Israel and its Palestinian opponents.

Turning his attention to Iran, he noted that “For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country”, citing reasons why Iranians felt justified to feel that way. He also pointed out that Iran “has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence” against U.S troops and civilians.”

“It is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point” and that preventing “a nuclear arms race in the Middle East could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path” adding that “No single nation should pick and choose which nations have nuclear weapons.” Presumably he was referring to Israel which would be directly threatened, indeed destroyed, by an Iranian nuclear weapon.

While noting the “controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years” he asserted that “No system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any another” despite the fact that the U.S. invaded both Afghanistan and Iraq specifically to impose new governments that would not threaten the U.S.

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