Wingnuts and Moonbats
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Another Story Of What Might Have Been
AJStrata has the scoop
on yet another story that illustrates how close we had been to preventing 9/11 if red tape could have been replaced with better cooperation. It is certainly borderline infuriating (hell, infuriating, period) how much information we knew about the hijackers prior to 9/11, including monitoring by government agencies that knew they were national security risks. I still think many people, including the main culprit of AJ's story, got off way too easy for what seem to be colossal, incredibly costly blunders...
Resolution 1559 vs. Taif Accord
A question: there seems to be a broad consensus in Lebanon for Syrian troops to leave. There is no such consensus on UN Resolution 1559, which calls for disarming Hizbullah. If Hizbullah wants to take part in the political future of Lebanon, why doesn't it disband its military arm? Isn't part of national sovereignty the ability to protect the government internally and externally? Would the United States, whose principle of seperation of church and state is so admired by my friend Hasan, allow an armed militia to exist within its borders, unaccountable to civilian government control?
I find it hard to avoid the conclusion that Hizbullah is more interested in pursuing Syria's interests than Lebanon's...
Separation of Church and State is American
Piggybacking on the universal demand of finding “the Truth Behind Hariri’s Death” does not size the opposition correctly. Yes there is a desire for Syria’s pullout from Lebanon by many Lebanese including the loyalists, but not through the means used by the opposition.
If true American values dictate the separation of church and state, then Israel’s founding principle is unconstitutional. Imagine if Texas declared itself a Baptist state and cleansed its territory from non-Baptists as much as it could. Restricted the sale of Texas land to Baptists only by its Baptist Land Fund agency. Gave the right of return to all Baptists around the world immediate citizenship upon arrival in order to demographically tip the scale for Baptists. Would the US Supreme Court find such acts and laws unconstitutional? You betya.
Israel needs to turn into a pluralistic society if it is to survive in the long run. She needs to allow Palestinian refugees back as full citizens where Jews, and non-Jews live equally under the law. Demographic majority will not guarantee its security or survival. Only justice and equality under the law will. Dreamer you may say, but hey, look around. The US and the European Union are prime examples of where pluralism wins over purism and where the separation of church and state reaps huge benefits to their societies. Lets keep God in houses of worship.
On Israel, Zionism, The Middle East, and 'Reality'
I find it interesting that Hasan accuses President Bush of being divorced from reality in the same post in which he talks about a 'small' Lebanese opposition
. Hasan claims that the opposition was 'embarrassed' by the staged, Syrian-organized Hizbullah demonstration, but conveniently ignores the far larger, much more spontaneous, and undeniably anti-Syrian rallies going on at this very moment. Oh, but don't take my word for it, listen to the liberal New York Times
Even a cursory reading of the Hebrew Bible reveals an Israel that is bound by its faith to the land of Canaan (see Martin Buber
, among others). Hasan may argue against Israel, but he cannot credibly claim that Zionism and the Jewish state are not entwined. This does not amount to a blanket endoresement of current Israeli policies; nor does it mean I am 'against' the Palestinians. I am the first to admit that abuses have occurred on both sides, but a dislike of Israeli policies and a caricatured portrait of President Bush cannot hide the fact that freedom is on the march, and that Bush has been a driving force behind it. I refer you to the words of his Second Inaugural Address
We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.
Which part of that does Hasan disagree with, other than the speaker of the words?
I am disappointed to find my friends of the Left still, at this late date, reflexively taking the anti-U.S. position, as long as it offers a chance to take shots at the current occupant of the White House. George W. Bush has loudly proclaimed his support for a Palestinian state. He is the first President to do so as a matter of official policy. In fact, in August 2004
, he was the first President to use the term Palestine to refer to a politically sovereign entity. Facts are funny things; they often get in the way, but they can't be ignored.
The Problem that Won't Go Away
The Israeli Palestinian problem is the mother of all problems for the US in the Middle East. It threatens to spell over other parts of the region and it tends to drive US foreign policy in dealing with other nations in that part of the world. Anyone who has been paying attention to the news can make the connection between US policies on Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Lebanon and Israeli security interests. The passionate attachment of the US to Israel is not only harmful to its long-term interest in the region, but is also fundamentally un-American in principle. How so? I’ll come to that.
Israel has always blamed Palestinian terrorism for its harsh treatment and dispossession of the Palestinians. But what if the Palestinians, for the sake of argument, were pacifists. Would Israel have left them in peace? Would Israel have left them living in their homes and farms? The answer is NO. Why? That's because Israel was founded on the philosophy of Zionism. The concept in a nutshell is to create a Jewish state where it can be a refuge for Jews. One can sympathize with this idea considering the persecution that many Jews went through on the hands of the Europeans and Russians. The problem with Zionism is that it is un-American because it promotes the establishment of a state based on religion, thus violating the American value of separation of church and state written in the first amendment of the US constitution.
So it did not matter whether the Palestinians resisted the occupation of their land or not, Zionism dictated a demographically Jewish majority state. Therefore, it was imperative for Israel to cleanse the state from non-Jews to create and maintain its demographic majority. The Palestinian refugee problem was the outcome of this philosophy. Ironically, there is nothing Jewish about this philosophy. Judaism is innocent of Israel’s actions, but somehow Israel hijacked Judaism and often speaks in its name. In fact, Israel has done a brilliant PR job of blurring the line between Zionism and Judaism. This is done for the purpose of branding any legitimate criticism of its policies with the anti-Semitism label.
So if Israel is founded on an apartheid-like ideology and fundamentally un-American, why does the US continue to support the Zionist state? That is a subject for another time.
Disconnected from Reality
Oh Mark, don’t get me started on this president’s drive for democracy. Bush’s democracy and freedom campaign is only a media stunt to divert critics away from his failed policies. He only hopped on this freedom train after his reasons for going to war in Iraq were proven to be false. That’s not to say that the aftermath of the invasion did not produce positive results for Iraqis. However, a friendly government in Iraq is most likely will be friendly to Iran and not the US. Nice blunder Mr. President. He could have avoided the mess in Iraq if he listened to independent experts on the region, instead of pro-Israeli terrorism “think tanks.”
Most of the world and half of America think that this president is misguided. In fact any change he has achieved in the Middle East is by shear force and intimidation and not because reality on the ground was ripe for this change. This is surprising considering the abundance of information in academia and government institutions. It seems that this president does not want to be confused by the facts. He surrounds himself with right-wing ideologues who are like him refuse to let facts and figures dissuade them from their views. Lebanon is a case in point. His disconnect from reality in Lebanon is driving his position on the issues touching Lebanon. Ignoring Lebanon’s history and using an internal Lebanese issue to pressure Syria on its position regarding Iraq and Israel, is clearly seen by people of the Middle East as the real reason behind his democracy push policy. Siding with the small Lebanese opposition to be embarrassed later by a huge counter demonstration by pro-Syrians Lebanese further undermines his credibility as an informed president. I wonder who collects the facts for this president before he forms his policies. Whoever this person or organization is, they need to be fired. But this implies that this president cares about the facts. His continuous blunders prove otherwise.
Liberty, Death, Patrick Henry and 9/11
When I say the foremost right is the right to live, I mean the right not to get murdered just because you work in a skyscraper. I agree with Hasan that the words of Patrick Henry are a stirring call to sacrifice...but Henry was giving his life for a reason, and a damn good one; it wasn't a pointless death in the searing heat of jet fuel.
By the same token, Hasan asks if our current president has read the constitution. I've never quite understood why the Bush administration has taken so much heat from civil libertarians...it is the job of the judiciary to determine constitutionality. Every president has had to send his Justice Department attorneys to the Supreme Court to defend his policies...some you win, some you lose. If the current climate strikes some as too constrictive, lay it at the feet of the Supreme Court, not the Executive Branch.
To accuse this president of fascist tendencies, as some on the left have done, while he stands time and time again in word and deed for the cause of freedom, and while we see real, substantive change happening in areas where it was previously thought impossible, seems very disingenuous to me.