Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Middle East.

* Recently, the U.S. sponsored a Global Counter-terrorism Forum, which was held in Istanbul. The European Union and 29 other countries were invited. One country, with perhaps the greatest expertise in fighting terrorism, was not invited - Israel. According to a State Department official: "...We were concerned that if the central issue from the outset was whether or not Israel should be a member, that it would be difficult to pivot away from the politicized discussions happening at the U.N. and elsewhere." (Information and quote from an article by David Suissa in the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, 8/10-8/16/12.) In other words, let's not offend the Muslim countries who are invited. The actions by the U.S. lend credibility to the "boycott, divest and sanction" movement. After all, if the U.S. can boycott Israel, why can't every other country in the world? Worse, the Arab/Muslim world could read into this lack of invitation an agreement with one of their own beliefs: that the U.S. agrees that killing of innocent Israelis is not terrorism because Israel is an "occupying" power. But Obama has Israel's back, and he always stands by our allies, right?

* For a number of years the Organization of Islamic States has been trying to get a measure approved by the U.N. that would make it illegal in all member states to insult Islam. Clearly, such a measure conflicts with our First Amendment rights to free speech; a right which the courts have consistently held is not limited by the offensiveness of the speech. In fact, as the courts note, speech is often intended to provoke and even insult. But the U.S. would never agree to such a measure, right? Well, when Obama spoke to the Muslim world from Cairo in 2009, he said it was his responsibility to "fight against negative stereotypes of Islam." And Obama did write in "Audacity of Hope": "I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."

* According to the 9/14/12 Investor"s Business Daily, Hillary Clinton met with officials from various Muslim countries to discuss establishing "mechanisms" to fight "Islamophobia" in the U.S. and the West. According to the I.B.D., the Justice Department "has considered designating Islamophobia as a hate crime." I.B.D. also states that the FBI and Homeland Security have "purged thousands of counter-terrorism training materials that Muslim reviewers complained pushed "negative stereotypes" of Islam." Jihad will no longer be defined as "holy war." (Maybe defined as something that is Bush's fault?) TRADOC (which the I.B.D. says is the Army's elite training and doctrine command) has "scrubbed all classes dealing with radical Islam."

* So, was the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, killed on 9/11/12, and did riots break out at 20 U.S. embassies in the Muslim world, because Muslims were offended by a movie trailer for a movie entitled "Innocence of Muslims?" That was the claim that the Obama Administration was pushing for the better part of a week. Strictly coincidental that a group of heavily armed terrorists, on 9/11, knew the location of our ambassador, killed him and three others at our consulate in Benghazi and dragged the ambassador's body through the streets. Our Ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, said: "...this is not a case of protests directed at the United States writ large, or at U.S. policy; this is in response to a video that is offensive." Obama, in an election year, did not want to admit that his entire Mideast/Muslim policy was a failure. So, acting like it was all about a movie, and even though it was our first ambassador to be murdered in over 30 years, Obama headed off to yet another fund raiser in Las Vegas. (Just imagine what the mainstream media would have written had Bush gone off on a fund raiser after such an attack on American interests. Wait, they already did that when they complained that Bush sat for a few minutes with kids after the 9/11 attack. Then, the press complained that the Secret Service kept him from immediately returning to Washington. But Obama - "Hey, good luck in Vegas Barack!")

* No, the media was upset that Mitt Romney complained that U.S. embassy officials in Cairo criticized the film trailer, instead of standing up for the First Amendment. Said our Secretary of State: "The U.S. Government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject it's content and message." Said Obama: "We reject all efforts to denigrate the beliefs of others." Now, Obama and Clinton also it made it clear that there was still no justification for violence. But they once again passed on a teachable moment. They should have spent NO time criticizing the film and filmmaker. They should have spent all their time explaining why we have a First Amendment, that it contains two rights Americans hold most dear - freedom of speech and freedom to practice one's religion. They should have made it clear that speech often offends, but that comes as the price of having a free society; and that countries that do not respect these "fundamental" rights could not be expected to receive our financial aid. They should have made it clear that we have "fundamental" disagreements with countries that do not honor and respect these rights.

* Now, we have a Pakistani Minister offering $100,000 of his own money for the murder of the film's producer; suggesting that the Taliban or Al Qaeda should murder the producer. (The Pakistani Government has distanced itself from that Minister and his threat.) Will our President speak out against that minister? Does he now understand that he never should have criticized the filmmaker, or distanced the government from that individual? And if the producer is assassinated, especially if on U.S. soil, what will he do? This is why the principle must ALWAYS be the focus of what his Administration says.

* Israeli P.M. asked for a meeting with Obama this month. Netanyahu has been pushing the Obama Administration to set clear "red lines" which, if crossed by Iran, would result in military action by the U.S. Obama has refused - both the red lines and any meeting with Netanyahu. Between the Europeans, and now the U.S., the West has been negotiating with Iran over their nuclear program for almost a decade. Iran has inched ever closer to building a bomb, and may be there in a matter of months. As noted before, Obama must act in this country's interest - not Israel's or any other country's. What is unclear to this writer is why it is not in our interests to stop the Iranians from getting a nuke. An Iranian nuke threatens regional and world stability; with a nuke Iran can threaten to cut off Mideast oil supplies; they could commit yet another Holocaust of the Jewish people by bombing our ally Israel; and, they could give a suitcase nuke to some terrorists they support, who might then bring it here.

* We were told that Obama's schedule was too full to meet with Netanyahu. Thankfully, he did have time to go on the Letterman show; following that fundraiser in Vegas. The 9/18/12 I.B.D. reports that "Obama has skipped more than half of his intelligence briefings." What - has anything big been happening in the world lately? Hmmm - unemployment remains over 8%, our debt now exceeds $16 trillion, and an ambassador and three other Americans were just murdered, with rioting at 20 U.S. embassies. No, nothing big.

* Remember when Obama was caught on an open mic talking to Russian President Medvedev; telling him he would have more "flexibility" after the U.S. election? Flexibility to do what? Now, the I.B.D. is reporting that there has been pressure from the the new Egyptian President, and member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Morsi, to release the blind Sheik from U.S. prison. This Sheik was instrumental in the first attack on the World Trade Center, during Clinton's Presidency. According to the I.B.D., Congressman Peter King, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, reports that his staff was approached by federal agents complaining about the Sheik's possible release. Of course, the release would not occur until after the election, and would be on "humanitarian" grounds. After killing six people, injuring over a thousand, and causing over half a billion dollars in damage, the real question is why this Sheik did not receive the death penalty. There is no question that he should not be released.

* What will Egypt promise in return? Next time they will try to protect our embassy? Reports have since come out that the Brotherhood actually encouraged the attack on our embassy in Cairo in order to help facilitate the release of the Sheik. Morsi has also told the Obama administration that prior administrations "have taken a very clear biased approach against something that (has) very strong ties to the people of the region - that is the issue of Palestine." So exactly what did Egypt do for the "palestinians" when they controlled Gaza from 1948 through 1967? Nothing.

* If Obama wins reelection will he really have Israel's back? He will not have to worry about the pro-Israel members of his party in Congress. He can safely ignore any pressure from them to protect Israel. He will not have to worry about the "Jewish vote." But, maybe he has already told Morsi that after the election he will have more "flexibility" to deal with the creation of a palestinian state. And he can tell Israel that they can pound dirt because he will not be getting involved militarily with Iran. Oh wait, he already did that through his Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. General Martin Dempsey recently said that the U.S. will not be "complicit" in any Israeli attack on Iran. If Obama wins we'll know all too soon whose back he really has.