I happened to hear President Bush's speech today, in its entirety. It was a pretty mixed bag.
Some of what he had to say obviously needed to be said..that there is no compromising or appeasing Islamic fascism is obvious. But he again either chose to ignore or was simply unwilling to bring up the fact that it ain't just Osama and al Qaeda we're up against. It is a substantial part of Islam. In Britain, after the 7/7 bombings, over 60% of DOMESTIC British Muslims who were polled said that they would NOT help the British government against al Qaeda or other Islamic terrorists. One wonders what the figures are here in the good ol' USA.
Bush is dissembling when he states that `numerous Muslim scholars' have condemned terrorism and the murder of innocent people. In fact, while some have, and Bush was able to cite one unnamed imam who did, the silence of much of the Muslim world is palpable.
Interestingly enough, Bush chose to quote the Q'uranic verse citing Chapter 5, Verse 32 of the Koran, which states that killing an innocent human being is like killing all humanity, and saving the life of one person is like saving all of humanity. Perhaps he's unaware of the Islamic doctrine of Abrogation, which gives precedence to the later verses..like this one:
Qur’an 9:5 “When the sacred forbidden months for fighting are past, fight and kill disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, beleaguer them, and lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.
Or maybe this one:
Qur’an 47:4 “So, when you clash with the unbelieving Infidels in fighting Jihad in Allah’s Cause, smite their necks until you overpower them, killing and wounding many of them. At length, when you have thoroughly subdued them, bind them firmly, making (them) captives. Thereafter either generosity or ransom (them based upon what benefits Islam) until the war lays down its burdens. Thus are you commanded by Allah to continue carrying out Jihad against the unbelieving infidels until they submit to Islam.”
There's more, a lot more, but I think you get the point. Bush is undoubtedly correct that there are a lot of Muslims who despise Islamic terrorism...but there are also lots of them who obviously think it's just fine. And why not? Don't the Q'uran and Hadith sanction it? All according to what you read in the Q'uran...and who's reading and interpeting it.
Fact is, we're doing very little to encourage moderate Islam, or even challenging American Muslims to take sides in this fight. If anything, we make it more difficult by allowing the Saudis free reign when it comes to allowing foreign funding of mosques and madrassahs to preach wahabism, importing radical mullahs to our shores, funding biased chairs of `middle east studies' in our major universities and hiring ex-cabinet members and diplomats as lobbyists and shills. A forceful, unambiguous stance might just have the effect of bringing a lot of American Muslims into this war on our side. As it is, they're getting every encouragement to keep their heads down and be passive at best, and to hedge their bets by giving at least tacit support to radical Islam at worst. And that's something the President didn't address at all.
And here's another kicker: on the one hand, Bush says that those who harbor terrorism and support it are the enemies of freedom and of America. And he specifically mentioned Iran and Syria, twice. Well and good. But to refer to Saudi Arabia as our `friend' when Karen Hughes was just there politely asking the Saudis to PLEASE try and curb the hate literature and radical wahabi imams to the mosques and madrassahs they fund here in America and all over the world..whom does Bush think he's kidding?J O S H U A P U N D I T: Pretty Please?? Hughes asks Saudis to curb hate literature in US mosques.
We just had a second bombing in Bali by Jemaah Islamiyah, and the radicalization of Indonesia funded by the Saudis is so pervasive that the `spiritual head' of the movement, Abu Baker Bashir who masterminded the first Bali bombing is to be released in an amnesty after serving 20 months by the Indonesian government due to the lobbying of the Islamist political parties there.
Here in my native Los Angeles, we experienced one of those attempted `al Qaeda attacks' Bush spoke of where a group of local Muslims was planning to incinerate part of the Jewish Comunity in their synogogues during the Jewish High Holy Days this October, and only got caught because one of them dropped a cell phone at a crime sceneDaniel Pipes: L.A.'s thwarted terror spree
Guess who funded the Islamic indoctrination of these guys in prison and in local madrassahs and who funded their mosque, Jamat-E-Masijidul Islam? Yup. Our `friends' the Saudis.
And what about our `friends' in the Palestinian Authority? Funny, Bush didn't mention them. It's common knowledge that Hezbollah is training the Palestinians and supplying them with weapons..that goes back to Arafat and the Katrina A arms ship. And Hamas is officially recognized by our government as a terrorist group and Abbas and company continue to harbor them, yet WE in the good ol' USA continue to give them money..not to mention the EU and the UN. Maybe the President felt his speech was too long to bring that little morsel of information up and include Abbas and the boys as terror enablers.
And it's hardly enough, as far as I'm concerned, to make harsh noises about Iran while leaving the problem in the decisive hands of the EU. Seems to me that if Dubbya was REALLY serious about stopping the mullahs from getting nukes, a decisive, devastating raid on the Iranian oil fields would be a lot more effective than any `sanctions' or attempts to knock out underground bunkers. Just stop the cash flow- the Russians aren't going to build nuclear facilities for the Iranians if the Iranians can't pay them. But that's undoubtedly too simple a solution for Washington. It lacks the sophisticated, subtle understanding of geopolitics as practiced by our state department and the good folks at the UN.
Bush is correct to compare Islamism to communism..first time he's done that, ever. And the challenge we are going to face indefeating Islamism is similar to that which we faced in the Cold War. He deserves a great deal of credit for finally putting this into words. But to gloss over a significant source of the problem was dishonest on the face of it.
Just as dishonest is suggesing, as Bush did, that poverty or a `lack of hope' are responsible for Islamism. In fact, jihad's most fervent practitioners, like bin Laden, the London bombers or Mohammed Atta are overwhelmingly from the wealthy or middle classes of Islam. Or for that matter, the House of Saud, who mainly stick to the financing and indoctrination end of things. I guess they don't count and are our `friends' because we need the oil and the petro dollars just now..
Or maybe it's just that Dubbya's more comfortable with the Saudis since he's known most of them for so long...I actually understand that part of it, even though I think it is an error of historic magnitude. It's normal to think well of one's friends. Perhaps President Bush is unaware of the Islamic concept of taqiya, or dissembling to non-believers to advance Islam.
Even on Iraq, where Bush is justifiably proud of the progress being made politically, he omits the fact that the Saudis put intense pressure on him to push the Shiites and Kurds to make major concessions to their Sunni pals..who are the main obstacle to the Federalist Democracy he envisions there because most of them can't give up the idea of bringing back the good old days when they were top o' the heap and could kick around the Turkmen, Shiites and Kurds at will.
So what we have here, like I said is a very mixed bag. Bush definitively stated a committment to victory but shied away fromfully identifying the enemy. Bush asked for `sacrifice and committment' but held off from going into specifics about what `sacrifices' he's talking about. And most importantly, the president failed to be completely honest with the American people about what we are fighting and how we're going to go about it.
A step in the right direction, but hardly an epiphany.
President Bush would do far better to level with the American people and call for their direct assistance in winning this war. He might be surprised at just how unified and effective their response might be.