President Obama rides again! This time to Cairo, Egypt. The big question was, would he make it another apology tour? The last trip could have been summed up in Nirvana's words:
Everything is my fault
I'll take all the blame
I'll proceed from shame
- Nirvana, All Apologies - 1990
The "I", of course, not being Obama, but the United States of America.
So, did this happen this time, too?
I will admit, I have not heard the speech start to finish, but I have heard large chunks of it. From what I heard, there were no major blatant apologies and, I've always said, when credit is due I will give credit. So, to President Obama and his teleprompter's credit, the general message of the speech was good. I was particularly happy that he defended our military actions of the last 8 years as not one of imperialism or oppression, but rather as a matter of necessity specifically to fight Al Qaeda after their attack on innocent Americans on 9/11 (conspiracy theorists need not comment).
President Obama reminded the world - and it was good to hear because I was pretty sure he'd forgotten this as well - that his primary responsibility is to protect the AMERICAN people.
So far, so good.
President Obama then called on some of his Muslim background and education* to appeal to the crowd by pointing out that the Koran says that to kill one innocent person is the same as killing all mankind and to save one person is to save all mankind (*don't freak out on me - over the last few days the White House has made a complete 180 from their campaign-time position of 100% Christian Candidate Obama to a President with Muslim family who lived in Muslim countries and received Muslim education). It makes sense, now, why he's promoted his Muslim roots so much over the last week or so - in preparation for this trip - even if some of his claims were ludicrous (7,000,000 American Muslims is an estimate by CAIR - Council on American Islamic Relations, but most estimates put the number at 2,000,000 - as well as his claim that we could be one of the largest Muslim nations - um, we're 38th according to the CIA World Fact Book. See, that's a fact we can look up Mr. President...blind assertions don't work when something can be proved/disproved).
Overall, a good message to the Muslim world still does not mean that I agree with Obama's recent positions on Israel - telling them that if they attack Iran's nuclear facilities, we would hold them accountable - even if they felt a threat to their very existence (when a madman who says publicly that he wishes to wipe your nation off the map develops a nuclear bomb, I'd say you have the right to be concerned and act pre-emptively). In fact, I feel that in his push to make the Muslims of the world happy, President Obama has offended Jews and Christians without care while taking every measure to avoid upsetting Muslims(he has appointed Harry Knox - a man who called the Pope a discredited leader - to a White House religious advisory council. Knox also called the Knights of Columbus "foot soldiers of a discredited army of oppression". My grandfather was a Knight. You know what I remember him doing? Selling fake poppies and handing out tootsie rolls to kids at Christmastime at Church to raise money for the mentally handicapped. Bad, bad army of oppression. Shame on YOU! As far as Jews, just look at Obama's treatment of Israel. Ahmenidijad seems intent on making the Holocaust look like a non-event compared to the slaughter of Jews he envisions, and we affirm his right to nuclear power. We should be concerned if that man is in possession of anything stronger than a cap gun. And don't forget to read yesterday's blog about William Long's murder).
Back to the speech. Obama did say that he feels the nuclear ambitions of Iran could cause an instability in the region and an unprecedented arms race in the region. Hmmm...didn't he just say the other day that Iran has the right to nuclear power? Of course he meant peaceful power, but how can you trust any nuclear power to a country that has defied UN resolutions for 20 years, hidden their arms ambitions, and declared their desire to wipe a nation off the map? Of course, that will all be fine when Obama completely disarms the world, right? Because at that point, Iran will stop trying to develop weapons.
That's a page out of the anti-second amendment movement that feels that disarming the population will suddenly stop violent crime. In reality, we know that criminals don't follow laws - hence, "criminals". They would still get guns and law-abiding citizens would then be vulnerable. This applies to international situations. If the entire world disarmed itself, rogue nations would still develop nuclear weapons and have less of a deterrent for attacking. The gun, folks, or in this case the nuclear bomb, does not create bad people. All we have to do is look back in history to a time before the nuclear bomb...before even gunpowder...to see that, my goodness! bad people still killed! They used knives, and swords, and bows and arrows. Poison, rope, and drowning. If a bad person didn't have a gun, he'd bludgeon you to death with the nearest blunt object. Bad people exist. The sad truth is that nuclear weaponry has been discovered and can not be undiscovered. To believe it will ever be all gone is naive and, frankly, dangerous. It's nice to dream, but, hell, I dream of owning an island and writing for a living. Doesn't mean it's going to happen. Besides, we need our nukes in case aliens invade or giant meteors start barelling toward Earth (don't believe Independence Day and Armageddon that that won't work - those were just scare tactics).
In the end, though there are critics on both sides of the aisle that say it was weak on human rights, I will reassert that the speech sent a good message in terms of America's place in the world. It actually seemed to say that we are NOT the cause of the world's problems, that we WILL fight to defend our people, and that people worldwide, regardless of nationality or religion, have the RIGHT to freedom.
Though in explaining this freedom, Obama mentioned that people have a right to not live under a government that is going to steal from them. Whoops. Might have wanted to leave that one out Mr. President...or explain to our children why that doesn't seem to include them.