Thursday, February 19, 2015

The President's Op-Ed

Just the other day (Feb 17th) on the eve of the Islamic Terrorism Conference the President published an Op-Ed column in the LA Times. We'll address a few points here, but feel free to read the article and chime in on anything you want about it.

The United States has made significant gains against terrorism.

Well that's an interesting perspective since it seems to be more out of control than ever as indicated in his following paragraphs:

The al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen actively plots against us. Since 9/11, terrorists have murdered U.S. citizens overseas, including in the attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Here in the United States, Americans have been killed at Ft. Hood and during the Boston Marathon. In Syria and Iraq, the terrorist group we call ISIL has slaughtered innocent civilians and murdered hostages, including Americans, and has spread its barbarism to Libya with the murder of Egyptian Christians. In recent months, we've seen deadly attacks in Ottawa, Sydney, Paris and Copenhagen.  Elsewhere, the Pakistan Taliban massacred more than 100 schoolchildren and their teachers. From Somalia, al-Shabaab has launched attacks across East Africa. In Nigeria and neighboring countries, Boko Haram kills and kidnaps men, women and children.

If the current state of affairs are "significant gains", I'd hate to see what losing looks like.  I'd also like to ask why if the President recognizes (as indicated by its inclusion here) the Fort Hood shootings as terrorism why the DoD continues to categorize it as "workplace violence", a categorization that has allowed Nidal Hasan to continue to draw ($278,000 since Nov 5, 2009... and that figure is almost two years old) salary and denies benefits to the victims of the shooting. Snopes

Efforts to counter violent extremism will only succeed if citizens can address legitimate grievances through the democratic process and express themselves through strong civil societies.

Islamqa  run by Muhammad Al-Munajjid who at least Al Jazeera identifies as "one of the respected scholars of the Salafist movement" (page three of Al Jazeera link) has this to say about democracy:

Democracy is a man-made system, meaning rule by the people for the people. Thus it is contrary to Islam, because rule is for Allaah, the Most High, the Almighty, and it is not permissible to give legislative rights to any human being, no matter who he is. Undoubtedly the democratic system is one of the modern forms of shirk, in terms of obedience and following, or legislation, as it denies the sovereignty of the Creator and His absolute right to issue laws, and ascribes that right to human beings. Islamqa

There are of course additional supporting and opposing viewpoints with the Islamic world.  The President goes on to talk about pluralism:

Finally — with al Qaeda and ISIL peddling the lie that the United States is at war with Islam — all of us have a role to play by upholding the pluralistic values that define us as Americans. 
Of course the falsehood in that statement is the naive belief that Jihadists or Salafists (not all Muslims) accept pluralism.  The Islamic views on pluralism is as divergent as its views on democracy depending on what particular sect one belongs to.  Given the Sunni ISIS treatment of Shia, I don't think you can expect to see pluralism out of them any time soon.  From Libya to Nigeria to Pakistan, Indonesia to the Philippines I dispute anyone that asserts that a lack of tolerance and pluralism is strictly an Arabic problem within Islam.

With this week's summit, we'll show once more that — unlike terrorists who only offer misery and death — it is our free societies and diverse communities that offer the true path to opportunity, justice and dignity. 
Obama's position reminds me of a friend of mine that used to joke that after he retired he was going to start an Amish Internet Dating Site.  So I have to ask, what makes him think they want what he's peddling? 

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