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national security--Obama has fallen short

Reader comment on item: Why I Am Voting Republican

Submitted by Richard Stoecker (United States), Nov 6, 2012 at 08:50

My main concern in this election is national security, particularly as it pertains to addressing the wildfire of radical Islam sweeping the Middle East and what Obama has done to either exacerbate it or fail to slow it down.

"Democrats marked softness on radical Islam" is very much to the point.

In the relationship between the U.S. and the Muslim majority countries, the ideal for me would be for them to leave us alone and for us to leave them alone in a way that involves mutual respect and reciprocity. If people in Muslim countries object to unfavorable depictions of Mohammed, surely those in the west also have the right to object when Christians are persecuted in the Middle East. But a section in a State Department report describing the persecution of Christians in that region was deliberately left out for fear of offending Muslim sensibilities. To say they are acting too violently might incite them to violence to prove they are not excessively fond of the use of force is puzzling. Shall we apologize that Christian heads have been in the sight of Muslim rifles? Such an approach may make sense to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but I do not understand it.

Obama may have thought that because he was exposed to a lot of Islamic thought and culture in his childhood, having had a Muslim father and attended a madrasah, and having lived in Indonesia, he would be able to understand Islam better than presidents with different backgrounds who had gone before. It looks to me that intimate familiarity with Muslims who were nice to him desensitized him to the very real dangers of Islamic extremism.

According to an article I read in FrontPage Magazine, on a trip to Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country, Obama praised the government there for their "pluralism," which was very diplomatic, but this statement was made not long after 10,000 Christians had been massacred in E. Timor.

In Saudi Arabia, Obama bowed to the king of Saudi Arabia, which has unfortunate symbolism because the Saudi king is the leader of the country considered most sacred to Muslims. If he had to bow to a foreign king, I wish it had been the king of Spain, the only country to successfully drive out Muslim invaders in the reconquest by Spanish Christians that took 800 years.

In Turkey, Obama had praise for the government there, in words to the effect that they were "progressive," but while Turkey was a secular democracy for a long time, at the time Obama expressed admiration for their government they were in the process of converting to a radical Islamic government.

We can no longer afford to "democratize" any Muslim nations, since it ought to be clear to everybody by now that even when they have elections, the results demonstrate that Muslim societies do not want to imitate the west. In any case, America does not have the human or other resources to liberate all the oppressed people of the world, and to try to do so would be to very quickly deplete our resources and destroy ourselves. The founding fathers warned us against such global ambitions.

But if excessive interventionism does not make us safer, neither does excessive conciliation.

When President Obama admitted in a speech that America has made mistakes in the Middle East, using Arab countries as proxies in the Cold War and intervening in their countries to support this or that leader or faction, for cynical reasons, he was technically right, but may have been strategically wrong, because admissions of mistakes, attempts to be overly cautious toward radical Islamic groups, or showing hostility toward Israel and pressuring Israel to change its borders to placate Muslims is seen as weakness and emboldens radical Islamists and terrorists.

We have seen ideological intoxication like radical Islam in other forms, whether communism or fascism, and there have been times in Christian history that were shameful, when people acting in the name of Christ did terrible things, fighting avoidable and selfish wars, brutalizing minorities, refusing to recognize the rights of others--but in the case of Christianity there is a corrective--the humane teachings of Christ himself. For example, when Columbus and the Spanish conquerors who followed him ill-treated natives in the Americas, Father Juan de las Casas, a Dominican priest widely called attention to the abuses which made correction possible. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Christian minister led the U.S. to correct its racial injustices, or at least make progress in this area. Mohatma Gandhi, a Hindu, followed Christian teachings of nonviolence to free India from British rule.

Mohammed led an army and forcibly converted the Arabian peninsula. After Mohammed's death, Muslim soldiers forcibly converted people throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and all the way to India and China. For the first 300 years of Christianity, conversion was through persuasion and example. Jesus himself never killed anybody. Jesus did not practice polygamy, nor did he endorse the flogging of drunkards or the amputation of the hands of thieves, as Mohammed did.

In Iran, and now Turkey, Egypt, the West Bank, or the Sudan, to what Islamic religious authority does one appeal for more humane treatment of minorities or women? Can they call attention to any time when Mohammed, the founder of Islam whose name is invoked with reverence, told people to "turn the other cheek" or love one's enemies, to pray for those who despitefully use you, or that those who live by the sword die by the sword? As historians Will and Ariel Durant wrote, "Islam is made of sterner stuff." The Koran does repeat the phrase "Allah is merciful" and Muslims are taught to give alms to the poor (if they are Muslims) but when Christian churches are torched, when Christian minorities are killed in Muslim countries, when innocent Israeli citizens are repeatedly attacked by Palestinians, where is the mercy of Allah?

I am glad that Osama bin Laden was brought to justice, that troops have been brought home from Iraq, but if President Obama is re-elected, I hope he will not rely too heavily on a "kinder, gentler Islam" coming into being through the approach he has demonstrated thus far.

Submitting....

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