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Dear Luigi

Reader comment on item: Confirmed: Barack Obama Practiced Islam
in response to reader comment: Barack Obama, etc.

Submitted by Arthur (United States), May 28, 2008 at 17:51

Dear Luigi,

Thanks, that's a coherent and thoughtful post, but I fear that I see in your perspective a distinct bias towards the GOP, as manly saviors of all that is good and great, versus an animosity toward Democrats as lily-livered weak-kneed pacifists. Do I have that about right?

But help me here. Who got us into World War II? What did Truman do that showed lack of resolve? Who chose to go storming INTO Vietnam, a Republican? And when you say: "And if history is any indication, it'll take a republican to clean up the mess, just as it took Nixon to clean up the mess in Vietnam... "

Well, help me understand what Nixon did that "cleaned up" the mess in Vietnam? His dithering lead to the death of another 20,000 US servicemen, if my memory is right, and in the end what did his and Kissinger's delays accomplish. And since I happen to know a lot about the CIA support for the Tibetan resistance movement, a CIA project, it was Kissinger who bargained that group of individuals into oblivion and defeat, caught in a pincer between the Chinese and the Nepali Army.

Why? to placate China so that Nixon could have his meeting with Mao. Kissinger simply threw the Tibetans and other resistance groups under the bus, in the interests of a large prize. What character! What resolve! What scum. The idea of a war between cultures, which is what you appear to be suggesting, strikes me as remarkably like what happened during the Crusades. That did not work out too well, did it? As to your Catholic forebears being persecuted by Muslims, many Muslims recall the Crusades as long series of wars with European invaders, some of whom had odd ideas of how to show the gentle face of Christianity.

No, I think we have to accept that neither can the Muslim populations of the world overrun Europe or the United States, but equally it is untenable for any Europeans except the most extreme and delusional right-wing zealots (Le Pen, perhaps). What is needed in the Middle East is development and increased contact and connection with the West, not aggravated assault. Polygamy? Mmm, a bad idea in my estimation, not because I think it is evil, immoral or against the word of God.

I suspect some Biblical Kings had a series of wives, didn't they? No, I think it is a bad idea because it would be confusing and complicated and I wouldn't like it. Having one wife is plenty complicated for me. A friend of mine spoke of running into a Sheikh in an elevator in Bangkok with three or four wives and a gaggle of children. All the way up toward the penthouse the women bickered with each other and nagged at the one man, who looked like he wished he'd stayed home.

An isolated case? maybe. As to western women who choose to marry into a polygamous relationship? Help me here, but is that strikingly worse than for example (a) living alone (b) being in a lesbian relationship (c) becoming a hooker, or (d) marrying two men? In all instances, that is a choice that impacts the individual, far more than it has any impact on the society, my society, my life. I may choose to do some things that others would consider dumb, but isn't that my choice? or is it only men who are to be permitted to make mistakes? No, I would not wish to live under Sharia, but do you seriously think anyone would come here and suggest that I do so? Good luck to them to try.

But do I have the right to go there and tell them NOT to do so? Help me here, oughtn't it to cut both ways? If not, then I am afraid that we are somehow doing a form of math that counts my vote three times, while counting the vote of an Egyptian as a 3/4 vote or something of the sort. Again, if we look to Christian doctrine, are not all men brothers? Is one brother's voice to count for more than that of another brother? And if so, what sort of family is that going to be? I would suggest an unhappy and acrimonious one.

But the war thing? your apparent belief that it is the solution to cultural differences? I see it more as what happens when reasonable relations between different peoples and cultures break down. To fall into the Iraq War trap was to fall blindly into the exact trap that bin Laden wanted Bush to fall into. Luckily for BL the Bush administration was so damn dumb that they didn't know the difference between a Sunni and a Sh'ia. Reading about the history of Baghdad I was stunned to read that a thousand years back it was common for there to be pitched street battles between Sunni, Shia and Christian gangs. Wonderful.

So when our brave soldiers rode into town they stepped neatly into the role of the latest "Christian gang", in a sectarian blood sport with a thousand plus year history. Have you ever read the 1920 letter to the editor by Lawrence of Arabia, talking about the idiocy of the British occupation of Iraq at that time? Read it and it will stand your hair on end. We are repeating history, just as we blithely assumed that even though the French could not subdue Vietnam, that because we are so much smarter and so much manlier, that we could do it easily. Dumb idea, that did nothing but cost us lives, treasure, world stature and national prosperity. And for nothing.

Arthur

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