A few unrelated items of interest:
First, Sarah Palin's church in Wasila was set on fire by an arsonist Friday night. There were several people in the church at the time, including two small children. It is pure speculation at this point to assign motives for the fire--whether it was related to the church's stand on homosexuality for example, or Palin's politics, or some other reason. I will predict that not much will be made of this event by the mainstream press. I can almost guarantee that if the fire had been set at someone else's church, especially while children were present, the outcry would be deafening.
Second, I am not (despite howls from some to the contrary) Geroge Bush's greatest fan. I think much of how the Iraq war was handled, especially after the invasion, was bungling and chaotic, to say the least. Ultimately, there has been a remarkable turnaround, and the country is a much better place than it was in 2001, or for that matter in 2006.
I ran across this interesting post last night. The title itself drew my attention: "Rescuing 50 Million People From Brutal Regimes Has Given Bush a Bad Name With Muslims." Indeed, the article quotes this AP story about the laundry list of horrors that Bush is responsible for:
The U.S. image globally has taken a deep hit during President George W. Bush's two terms in office, primarily because of opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, harsh interrogation of prisoners, the indefinite detention of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and mistreatment of inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.(emphasis added)
Just above this quote is an embedded video with the label "Warning: very graphic" attached to it. Watch it carefully and with that warning in mind, but do watch it, please. These are the people that Bush freed the Iraqis from. Exactly how does something like Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo even compare?
I hope Obama can help change this impression that the Muslim world has of us. But this is not strictly Bush's fault; it is far more complex and far deeper than that. A simple change of face at the White House, even with "Hussein" as a middle name, is not going to do it. No better example of this can be found than Al-Qaida's al-Zawahri referring to Obama as a "house negro" (see my post November 19th).
This story also from the AP via the Knoxville News Sentinel begins this way:
President-elect Barack Obama, relatively young and inexperienced, is facing a rapidly growing list of monumental challenges as he prepares to take the reins of a nation in turmoil.
Funny how just a few weeks ago, "young and inexperienced" was actually "fresh and dynamic."