Sunday, December 14, 2008

Burning churches and Bush and the Muslims

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."


Anonymous said...

I was hoping for a "Obama is from Illinois, so he must also be a crook" post but I'll take whatever I can. It's pretty clear who is responsible for the fire... the devil. When you practice witchcraft in a church you are, in effect, inviting the devil in. And if there's one thing we know about him, we know he's very much against trying to pray away the gay.

On Bush and the Muslims: I think you need to stick to the Bush Legacy Talking Points released last week, and please read both pages.

It is time for a republican renewal, a return to this kind of talk about the war (actual quotes from Clinton era):

"You can support the troops but not the president."
---Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years."
---Joe Scarborough (R-FL)

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"
---Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

"[The] President . . . is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy."
---Sen Rick Santorum (R-PA)

"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy."
---Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

Merry Christmas?

Small Town Doc said...

I knew the right post would put that twinkle in your eye and that tingle in your leg, Chris Matthews style!

Okay--here's Andrew Sullivan, 2002:
This was George W. Bush’s year. Slowly building toward ridding the world of Saddam’s threat, shrewdly identifying North Korea, Iran and Iraq as an axis of evil, demanding democracy from the Palestinians, presiding over modest economic growth despite a terrible global outlook, winning an almost unprecedented vote of approval in the November elections, capping it all with a Philadelphia speech that was a watershed in the GOP’s struggle with its own internal demons - by any measure, this was a spectacular performance.

Or, how about Sully in 2004:
Do I wish we had had more troops at the start to maintain more order? You bet. Do I wish incompetence had not allowed Abu Gjraib to happen? Of course. But none of that would have prevented the Baathists and Jihadists from wreaking havoc. Do I wish the original war had been bloodier so that the real battle with Saddam’s henchmen could have been joined all at once rather than over a long year of low-level conflict? Er, no. Remember what our anti-war friends predicted at the outset? That the battle for Baghdad could cost up to 10,000 Coalition casualties? I’m quite happy that didn’t happen. 800 deaths is bad enough.

You know, as long as we're quoting what folks had to say "back then."

I'm guessing you did not watch the video. It's instructive to people who forget exactly what was going on over there for the last 30 years or so. And don't make me quote all the folks like Gore and Clinton who were convinced that Saddam posed a direct threat to America's security, in addition to owning LOTS of WMD.

My point is that Iraq is a better country than it was in 2001. You realize that while about 25 or so people die every day in iraq from criminal or terrorist violence, that number is lower than the monthly death toll from the same causes in northern Mexico. Hell, even a wild weekend in Chicago (it's okay if I mention Chicago, right?) is probably worse than a raucous evening in Mosul.

I'll get to a Blago post soon, don't you worry, my friend.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I see your point about Iraq being better than it was in 2001 -- I think if you spend a trillion dollars (and counting) on a war, it should improve the situation slightly. Did you know that if they move a soldier to a hospital in another country, it doesn't count as an Iraq casualty -- cool, huh? My point is that we will shortly see a shift back against the war by the usual Republican mouthpieces, in the same way the we are ramping up the scandal coverage (even before Obama takes office), while at the same time continuing to ignore all things Bush. Have you heard anything about what was found to have been going on at the department of interior? Not if you read instaputz.

Also -- it turns out that they were cooking up some blessed meth in the church up there in Wasilla, just in time for the holidays.

Small Town Doc said...

Again, I keep forgetting that Iraq was just a peaceful little country, run by a regular but sharp-edged guy, just trying to look out for his family and his countrymen, I don't know, like Don Corleone. He did not invade Iran or Kuwait--you are just wrong. And all of those UN sanctions? Zionist lackeys!!!!

Where did you get the thing about the Iraq casualty count--Olbermann? Al-Jazeera? Sounds like it came from someone who does not understand how the military works.

Dept. of the Interior? Heard about it back in September. If you're in office for long enough, it is a mathematical certainty that some scandal will occur in an institution that you are at least partially responsible for. Wonder how many of those involved had been at Interior for more than 8 years?

You know, it was the Dems who were making the war the major issue before Petraeus (or is it Betrayus?) turned things around. Sound like Obama, now that the issues are becoming a little more focused and real, is realizing that it won't be easy getting all of the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan. I don't think the Cindy Sheehan wing of the party is happy with the hawkish rumblings coming out of the developing Obama administration.

Finally, there was accelerant all over the windows and exits of the Wasila church. You know--to keep those nasty Christians inside so they will burn, baby, burn! As Ms. Dohrn would say, "Far out, man!"

Anonymous said...

Yes, the Cindy Sheehan wing of our party is furious with Obama -- I heard this on both Hannity and O'Reilly so I know it must be true. Did you know that there is a race war in California between the blacks and the gays? Only on Fox and Drudge do you get the real story, because only they love America.

I didn't finish college, so I'm not sure about the use of the mathematical certainty argument, but I'll give it a shot:

It's a mathematical certainty that if you put a sociopath in as your Vice President (and he serves for 8 years), he will admit to war crimes and the media (at least the patriotic media) will ignore it.

It's a mathematical certainty that if Joe Biden had used 5 deferments to get out of serving in Vietnam and his wife had written lesbian pornography, it would be very hard for him to be portrayed as hawk with family values. Hey, this is fun!