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Certainly seems to have been Worthwhile

Reader comment on item: My Debate with London Mayor Ken Livingstone

Submitted by Ron Thompson (United States), Jan 23, 2007 at 18:13

Certainly sounds like this went well. I'm reading as many comments about it as I can.

With regard to the performance by Selma Yaqob, I'm reminded of a story read recently in the Washington Post about a Saudi lawyer trying to argue in Saudi Arabia for some pathetically slight increase in the rights of women. The interesting point is the sense of revelation he had on realizing, as a sort of epiphany, the total difference in mindset between the rote, non-discussion, non-thinking study of Sharia Law, and the method of Socratic and case law analysis he experienced in his legal study in the West. (regrettably, I can't locate the cite on this story at the moment.)

The Islamic kind of training, a sort of anti-education education, ought to help more people understand the closed-minded or rant mindset of almost all spokesmen for what you call "radical" Islam (I would call it traditional or immemmorial Islam). In other words, the deep psychological inability of Muslims to engage in even minimally open-minded DIALOGUE, a mindset deliberately induced, cultivated and praised by their religious/educational leaders. (Although there are some in the West who can fake open-mindedness).

For what its worth, I'll send a copy below of a letter sent recently (w/o any response) to columnist Charles Krauthammer. I'm sending it partly because the recommendation in it seems to me a potentially very important element to the security of Israel, i.e. regarding the role of the US as Israel's only significant ally. Ron Thompson

On Jan 15th, four days ago, I sent you [CK] the following e-mail:

After very effectively and scathingly demolishing the .. anti-Israel Baker Report, you then immediately embark on two .. brain-dead recommendations amounting to 'stay the course' with yet more wasted effort and blood. I'M ASTONISHED THAT NO COLUMNIST OF NOTE
HAS COME UP WITH THE SEEMINGLY OBVIOUS IDEA - TO ABOVE ALL SUPPORT KURDISTAN. (emphasis added), our second best ally in the region. It will be an enormous compounding of our mistaken invasion of Iraq if, after failing to establish any viable government in Iraq, we also betray the Kurds a second time.
WE SHOULD REDEPLOY TO NEARBY AREAS, BUT ESPECIALLY TO A STRONG BASE IN KURDISTAN (emphasis added), where
we would, as far as I can tell, be almost ecstatically welcomed. From this base or bases, protecting a friend worth protecting, we would be
in a position to warn off Turkey, to menace Iran right on its border more convincingly than at any time since we took Baghdad from Saddam, to worry Syria, and to be ready to lauch special forces and other attacks on any terrorist haven that may threaten to get established in the
rest of what used to be Iraq.

Late in your column today [Jan 19] you write, "We say to Maliki, Let us down and we .... leave Baghdad and let you fend for yourself, we keep the airport and CERTAIN STRATEGIC BASES IN THE AREA: WE REDEPLOY MOST OF OUR FORCES TO KURDISTAN." (emphasis added)

To repeat - do I deserve an acknowledgment? Or otherwise put, is it fair to take someone else's idea without even an anonymous acknowledgment?

Ron Thompson
(outside) Wash, DC

Submitting....

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