Thursday, June 04, 2009

How Long Will It Take?

President Obama's speech in Cairo is getting rave reviews both from the Muslim world and from sane people in the West. From MJ Rosenburg at TPM we have a summary of the eight major themes of the speech. I am just wondering how long it is going to take before the leaders of the wingbut brigade take exception to all or part of the message because in the speech Obama makes a direct hit on some of the unhinged right's most beloved untruths especially with respect to the place Islam has in our country. The president made a special point of equating the fundamental truths of the Bible, Talmud and Koran which is sure to horrify the nutso crowd of "christians" who think they are the only true religion and that everyone else is going to fry in hell. It will be interesting to see what really flames the whackos off the most and who their annointed spokesperson or persons will be. I'm sure we'll here a "rebuttal" today sometime.

The President conveyed eight distinct messages.

1) It's a new day. Not only is Barack Obama not Bush, he isn't any of the other 43 Presidents either. And he explained exactly how different he is. America is a great country, not least because it elected a half-Muslim, half-African. We are not who you may think we are. We are still America.

2)Islam is part of the American fabric and always has been.He knows Islam and honors it, like the other great faiths -- but with his special connection. We oppose the violent extremism of a segment of Islam but understand that the vast majority of Muslims reject that path.

3)9/11 was a crime against America and humanity. We are at war with its perpetrators -- Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Iraq was a "war of choice" and we are getting out as soon as we can.

4)We oppose violent extremism by anyone.

5)We are committed to Israel and to Palestine. Both peoples have a right to a safe secure state. Palestinian terror must stop. So must settlements. He will work to end this conflict. The language here was utterly evenhanded and emotional. He cares deeply about this issue. And, although he intends to push Israel hard on settlements, etc, he understands and shares the feeling Jews have about the country created in response to the slaughter of six million Jews. He will not do anything that endangers Israel's real security but, at the same time, "America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own."

6)We will keep talking to Iran about a resolution of the nuclear issue. It is entitled to have peaceful nuclear power. His goal is to prevent a nuclear arms race in the region.

7)Freedom of expression, democracy, and full rights for women are essential in the Muslim and Arab world just as in the west.

8)We intend to work with Muslims to remake the world. They are not our enemies.


"It is easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward; to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There is also one rule that lies at the heart of every religion - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This truth transcends nations and peoples - a belief that isn't new; that isn't black or white or brown; that isn't Christian, or Muslim or Jew. It's a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the heart of billions. It's a faith in other people, and it's what brought me here today.

We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written.

The Holy Koran tells us, "O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another."

The Talmud tells us: "The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace."

The Holy Bible tells us, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."

The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God's vision. Now, that must be our work here on Earth. Thank you. And may God's peace be upon you.

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