The boring messiah
I’ve read through the Cairo speech. For the most part, it’s quite boring, just as all of Obama’s wildly hyped “big” speeches are. Here are a few passages from it with my responses.
Obama: So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.“Partnership” to Islamic ears can only mean subservience to Islam.
Obama: That is why the U.S. government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it.There’s an example of subservience. What is Obama talking about, that Americans have been “punished” for seeking to restrict the hijab? He makes himself sound like an enforcer of Islamic law on America.
When Obama comes to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, there are, inevitably, the “musts”:
Obama: Palestinians must abandon violence…. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people…. Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel’s right to exist.And if the Palenstians do not do the things that Obama says they “must” do in order to achieve a state (and which GW Bush said they “must” do in order to achieve a state), how can Israel be required to acknowledge a Palestinian right to a state, the essential requirement for which Palestinians themselves have not met? For all his endless touting of himself as a leader leaving behind the “nonsense” and the discredited rhetoric of the past, Obama does almost nothing but rehash the nonsense and discredited rhetoric of the past. He’s BORING.
The positive is that defenders of Israel should feel reassured that Obama seems to be simply continuing the same ridiculous policy and fantasies as before, rather than threatening to force Israel to surrender to the Palestinians.
Obama: Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society.If he means that Israelis must allow Palestinian to work in Israel, how can they be expected to do that, if Palestinian are still using terror against Israel? And how is Israel to “ensure” that Palestinians develop their society?
Obama: I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other.Ok. That’s one change from Bush I welcome. But then, with slight changes of emphasis and tone, he basically repeats Bush’s democracy policy:
Obama: That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.“But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things”! Whoa! That’s the standard Bush line about everyone in the world, all moms and dads in two hundred countries, all longing for freedom.
Obama: Likewise, it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit—for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear. We cannot disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretense of liberalism.Obama mentions the need to accept Muslim female dress three times in the speech. That seems to be his main initiative for promoting the spread of Islam in America.
Obama: On science and technology, we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create jobs. We will open centers of scientific excellence in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and appoint new Science Envoys to collaborate on programs that develop new sources of energy, create green jobs, digitize records, clean water, and grow new crops. And today I am announcing a new global effort with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to eradicate polio. And we will also expand partnerships with Muslim communities to promote child and maternal health.This doesn’t sound different from the kinds of things Mitt Romney was urging during the presidential campaign, the promotion of technological and business development, rather than the spreading of democracy.
Larry G. writes:
Dark forces are in control of the land. Time to reread Tolkien.Karl D. writes:
One line struck me in particular but did not surprise me in the least:LA replies:
Good catch. But I’d say the meaning of this is that he is defending the traditions of Muslims countries, not of Western countries.Gintas writes:
Three things:LA writes:
Perhaps I should also quote the part in the speech about Islam’s supposed contributions to our civilization. Some people get steamed up about this, but, really, isn’t it the standard pro-Muslim lie that the entire elite culture of the West now repeats incessantly? That’s why, as I was reading the speech, I put this section in the “boring” category, and didn’t initially quote it. The only aspect of this that is not boring is the fact that the Hannity’s and Limbaugh’s are attacking it, while refusing to acknowledge that GW Bush said pretty much the same things. Let’s face it . By their constant, overheated criticisms of Obama, unaccompanied by any admission that Busherino said many of the things for which they are attacking Obama, the pro-Bush commentators have revealed themselves as a bunch of partisan hacks without an ounce of intellectual conscience.Dale F. writes:
Maybe Obama should have called it “our tallest remaining building.”LA replies:
ACtually, what building was he referring to? I missed that. He just said “our tallest building.”Dale replies:
Sears Tower. The lead structural engineer, Fazlur Khan, was of Bangladeshi origin.LA replies:
Ahh. But does everyone listening to messiah man’s speech know that?Dale replies:
No, I think very few do. Architecture is an amateur interest of mine, and Chicago was the birthplace of the skyscraper.Robert B. writes:
I do not know where to begin, but the engineer did not build the building—the contractor and his sub-contractors did.June 5
Jonathan L. writes:
What is particularly striking to me about Obama’s Cairo speech is its sheer incompetence. There are of course the infelicitous turns of phrase: “But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things”—wow, how that “self-evident truths” guy who wrote the Declaration must be spinning in his grave now with envy! But more importantly, the examples used to buttress the speech’s main points are so grossly false they stimulate conclusions exactly the opposite for which they were designed. Alluding obscurely to the fact that a Muslim was involved in the design of the Sears Tower will only remind normal people of Muslim attempts to fell the World Trade Center. And bringing up the 1796 Treaty of Tripoli will remind most Americans of even modest education the Marine Corps’ excursion there 20 years later to stop jihad-inspired piracy.LA replies:
Jonathan has presented us with a real puzzle. Is the explanation of Obama’s outrageous statements “a totalitarian need to humiliate one’s helpless audience by making them swallow the most outrageous lies,” or sheer ignorance? My thought was something like the former. But it seems to me that the latter is possible.Alan Levine writes:
I read the text of Obama’s speech twice, with rather the same reaction as you and others had. I did not feel it was quite as hostile to the West or American self-respect, but was even more struck by the painful a**-kissing tone of the attitude toward Muslims, the nonsense about how many Muslims there are in the U.S., the absurd exaggeration of the central nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the apologetics about torture in a part of the world where it is routinely employed, and so forth …N. writes:
Reading the article about the 27-year old speechwriter for President Obama one finds that he met with Peggy Noonan while in the course of writing drafts of the inaugural address. I cannot but wonder if this is not associated with her swoon over the inauguration itself.Paul K. writes:
Here’s one part of Obama’s speech particularly sticks in my craw: “The U.S. government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it… I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal…”N. writes:
Paul K. brings up a significant point regarding the hijab. To the best of my knowledge, no one in the U.S. has tried to ban such garb. The issue is he says, when Moslem women demand a driver’s license photo of them wearing essentially a kind of ski mask. There has also been at least one case in Britain where a Moslem woman was called as a witness in a trial, and she refused to expose her face in the courtroom. This particular gesture is extremely repugnant, as it strikes directly at one of the roots of Anglo-American jurisprudence: the right to confront one’s accusers in open court. When a witness is allowed to testify in essentially a disguise, there must be an extraordinary reason to justify it, and “It’s my religion” is not sufficient.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 04, 2009 02:34 PM | Send