The Part That I Think Will Resonate the Most

When I heard the speech this morning, this portion stood out:

The fourth issue that I will address is democracy.

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.

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.

There is no straight line to realize this promise. But this much is clear: governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments – provided they govern with respect for all their people.

This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others. No matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.

I know a lot of the blame for the tensions between the Arab Muslim world and the US lies with the Israeli/Palestinian issue, but I think an awful lot of the blame could also be traced to the fact that we have supported ruthless dictators and corrupt autocrats and just turned a blind eye on the horrible things they were doing to their own people just so long as we got whatever we wanted in the short term and the oil kept flowing. We aren’t too big on that big picture thing.

Any thoughts?






250 replies
  1. 1
    joes527 says:

    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.

    Hamas, standing in the back of the room, does the (bullshit) cough.

  2. 2

    This is why I voted for this man. I agree with what he is saying of course — but the “just words” crowd failed to realize the importance of just words: powerful ideas expressed powerfully have an enormous impact.

    For every time I’ve winced to think of torture performed in my name, and for all I think we need to dig deep indeed to excise that lesion, this kind of speech lasts.

    I wonder if in a generation or two my grandkids’ Garry Wills will be writing a book like this about Obama.

  3. 3
    stacie says:

    This is lovely:

    “Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.”

    It’s nice to have a president who can articulate the universal nature of the philosophies that we want to guide us. This statement takes so much hubris and arrogance out of the presentation of ideals. It claims them for everyone, while still tying them to America in a logical and inclusive way.

    Perhaps Bush’s second inaugural speech had a few similar lines, but his actions and attitude rendered them moot. Obama’s hard line on Israeli settlements and his ongoing outreach to both the leaders and the people of the Middle East make me optimistic that some small steps forward can be made over there.

  4. 4
    cleek says:

    America does not presume to know what is best for everyone,

    orly?

  5. 5
    Dreggas says:

    From what I’ve heard there hasn’t been a single apology. Once again the wingers have egg on their face.

  6. 6
    gbear says:

    All I can say is that I’m SO glad I have this guy speaking for me on the world stage. It’s just so damned refreshing to have a guy who says so many of the right things in the right places and at the right time. And when he scolds, he does it so gracefully and respectfully that any heated response sounds petty.

    And it’s so much fun knowing that this is making wingnut heads explode.

  7. 7
    cleek says:

    Once again the wingers have egg on their face.

    that’s not egg

  8. 8

    I think an awful lot of the blame could also be traced to the fact that we have supported ruthless dictators and corrupt autocrats and just turned a blind eye on the horrible things they were doing to their own people just so long as we got whatever we wanted in the short term and the oil kept flowing.

    Oh, John! You’re so adorable when you’re naive. It wasn’t a silly bit of shortsightedness that the bumblers in charge didn’t think through; it was explicit doctrine. Better dead than red–especially if the dead ones weren’t even Americans.

    And yes, I agree that these are extraordinarily lovely words, but coming from a man who’s currently responsible for incinerating more little brown children right this very moment, they made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. Tastes like liberty!

  9. 9
    The Other Steve says:

    I was listening to a professor from the university of cairo give her take on the speech. She said there was a wide variety of people there, old timers, young, artists, reformists, etc. Across the spectrum. She said Obama tended to resonate most with the youth, however.

    It struck me as I thought about that, that it seems to me the US has had the most success long term when our leadership has connected with the youth of other countries, rather then engaging only with those in power. It’s the youth who formulate the future of the nation, maybe not now but in 20 years.

    When you fixate on the old guard and ignore the youth, nothing seems to change.

    Just saying… This is what Reagan did in eastern Europe. It was what Clinton did, it was how we were breaking through Iran’s boundaries up until 2000 or so. I don’t know if people really recognize that.

    Bush couldn’t get past the old guard. That’s all he saw. It’s the reason he was so fixated on Iraq, etc.

  10. 10
    KidA says:

    How did George H.W. Bush phrase it? “The vision thing.”

    The long view is always best, try to understand the ramifications of each move. But to often just getting past a situation is necessary, keeping the oil flowing for today, or whatever.

    Maybe Obama will establish polisies that will better stand the test of time.

  11. 11
    Violet says:

    I think an awful lot of the blame could also be traced to the fact that we have supported ruthless dictators and corrupt autocrats and just turned a blind eye on the horrible things they were doing to their own people just so long as we got whatever we wanted in the short term and the oil kept flowing. We aren’t too big on that big picture thing.

    Exactly.

    I suspect Obama doesn’t like this aspect of how the US has operated either. Which is why, among other reasons, he’s pushing green energy. Supporting corrupt governments in oil rich countries won’t seem so necessary if we don’t need as much oil.

    However, he’s inherited a system of government and agreements, etc. He can’t really change it all overnight. It will be a process. Sometimes I’ll probably be very frustrated with how he goes about that process, but overall I feel he’s heading in the right direction.

  12. 12
    Sumayya says:

    Al Jazeera’s English-language coverage:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/n.....21542.html

  13. 13
    PeakVT says:

    Any thoughts?

    We don’t just support nasty autocrats for oil. We also do it for Israel.

    It’s been 36 years since the first oil crisis and we are still f*cking around in the Persian Gulf. Yargh.

  14. 14
    Michael D. says:

    We have a CouchSurfing guest staying with us this week from Beirut. He loves America, but hates this:

    We aren’t too big on that big picture thing.

    I’m learning a lot from him this week!

    BTW, if any of you use Couchsurfing, let me know who you are! If not, you should try it. You meet people from all over the world! You get tostay with them for free. They stay with you for free. In two weeks, we’re going to Hawaii and not paying a cent for accommodations. Truly awesome.

  15. 15

    As Kevin K pointed out in a previous thread
    :

    Right on schedule Daou is complaining about the “emptiness” of Obama’s speech. Apparently instead of concentrating on mending fences in the Middle East he should have been focusing on condemning acts of violence against women “across the globe.” I think next time Obama should deliver his speech from heaven.

    .

    I’m still laughing over that last line. You really do have to link to his blog more often. That is just pure fucking gold.

  16. 16
    El Cid says:

    Perhaps no Western journalist is better at capturing the contradictions of Middle Eastern tyrants and authoritarians denouncing the suppression of the democratic rights of the Palestinians more than the Independent‘s (UK) Robert Fisk.

    Maybe Barack Obama chose Egypt for his “great message” to Muslims tomorrow because it contains a quarter of the world’s Arab population, but he is also coming to one of the region’s most repressed, undemocratic and ruthless police states. Egyptian human rights groups – when they are not themselves being harassed or closed down by the authorities – have recorded a breathtaking list of police torture, extra-judicial killings, political imprisonments and state-sanctioned assaults on opposition figures that continues to this day…

    And yet:

    Could it be, perhaps, that Bin Laden is beginning to miss old George Bush and his “war on terror”, that the ever smiling Barack Obama is beginning to stick in Bin Laden’s craw, that the fractional improvement in US-Arab relations is beginning to be a little irksome – or that, by some awful mischance – Obama actually might tame the colonial ambitions of Israel?… [E]veryone wants to be seen hugging the new American President. Grinning over his cardamom tea with the king in Riyadh yesterday, poor Obama is going to have to endure the embrace of Hosni Mubarak in Cairo today where the government press – almost as fawning as the Saudis – have been proclaiming that Obama’s reference to the Egyptian president as a “stalwart ally” of peace proves that Egypt has yet again won its place at the centre of the Arab world.

    Obama had to give a speech somewhere. Any where he gave it, he would be carrying an extremely mixed, and typically vile and repressive legacy of U.S. foreign policy establishment idiocy — hence Obama’s mention of the U.S. overthrow of the democratically elected government of Iran by the CIA. Yet if he chose as innocuous a location as possible so as not to be in the midst of a tarnished government, the speech would have little impact.

    Fisk here, too, was spot on:

    The sad truth is that so far did the US descend in moral power under George W Bush that Obama would probably have to deliver his lecture in the occupied West Bank, even Gaza, to change the deep resentment and fury that has built up among Muslims over the past eight years. This, of course, Obama will not do. So Egypt, sadly, it has to be, though he will see nothing of the squalor and fear in which Egyptians live.

  17. 17

    @gbear: Call me old-fashioned, but once the guy took office, I started caring less about his speeches and more about his actions. If all of this just means that we’re just going to go back to torturing in such a way that polite liberals can turn a blind eye to it (as in the Southern Cone during the Cold War, now at Bagram rather than Gitmo), that brown children will still be incinerated by the score (but in an inspiring way!), and that our murderous foreign policy will now have an extra-glossy cover sheet redoubling its bullshit claims about respect for human rights and the desire for a peaceful world, I fail to see why thickly coating ourselves in masturbatory exultation is called for.

    This kind of doe-eyed lovefest is understandable during a primary, but fuck, people, he’s the damned President now. Words count less.

  18. 18
    matoko_chan says:

    What the Muslim Brotherhood really wants from Obama.
    [

    Mohamed Habib, deputy chairman of the Brotherhood in Egypt] explained his skepticism about Obama’s speech here on Thursday. “If there is no radical change in American policies, I don’t think it matters what he says,” Habib told me through a translator. “I pity Obama because I know he is not on his own. He is surrounded by different forces–business congolmerates and the Zionist lobby.” Nor did Habib care much for the prevailing debate in the US about how much emphasis to place on democracy promotion. “Understand that democracy in the Bush administration was not a goal itself but a curtain to hide the atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan.” When it comes to Egypt’s internal affairs, all the Muslim Brothers ask, Habib said, was that the US end its support for Hosni Mubarak’s regime. “We don’t want anything from the U.S. but to back off from supporting existing dictatorships. That’s it,” he said.

    Bonus Serenity quote–

    Teacher: Earth-That-Was could no longer sustain our numbers, we were so many. We found a new solar system, dozens of planets and hundreds of moons. Each one terraformed, a process taking decades, to support human life, to be new Earths. The Central Planets formed the Alliance. Ruled by an interplanetary parliament, the Alliance was a beacon of civilization. The savage outer planets were not so enlightened and refused Alliance control. The war was devastating, but the Alliance’s victory over the Independents ensured a safer universe. And now everyone can enjoy the comfort and enlightenment of our civilization.
    Young River: People don’t like to be meddled with. We tell them what to do, what to think, don’t run, don’t walk. We’re in their homes and in their heads and we haven’t the right. We’re meddlesome.

  19. 19
    garyb50 says:

    None of the millions of madrassa students will even know Obama spoke at all.

  20. 20
    Woody says:

    If it weren’t for ruthless dictators and regal authoritarians, we wouldn’t have ARAMCO…

    Not that that wouldn’t be a good thing, perhaps…

    but who, then, would the Saudis be allied with?

    just sayin

  21. 21

    @garyb50: But they certainly will know that American bombs keep falling on their fellow Muslims. I don’t suppose this would suggest a course of action to any of our oh-so-clever foreign policy geniuses.

  22. 22
    matoko_chan says:

    “None of the millions of madrassa students will even know Obama spoke at all.”

    Sure, but these students will….
    Can’t stop the signal.

  23. 23
    Mike S says:

    but I think an awful lot of the blame could also be traced to the fact that we have supported ruthless dictators and corrupt autocrats and just turned a blind eye on the horrible things they were doing to their own people just so long as we got whatever we wanted in the short term and the oil kept flowing. We aren’t too big on that big picture thing.

    I tried to start that conversation here a few years ago. Stormy was the only one who wanted to talk about it. Darrell was just his usual idiotic self. Boy thse days were fun.

    The idea of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” has always come back to bite us in the ass. Not once has it led to a stable government and ally. There are times when there is no choice, like WWII, but even then it bites us in the ass.

    I don’t know where we go with this but a different approach seems like a good idea.

  24. 24
    gbear says:

    @grendelkhan:

    This kind of doe-eyed lovefest is understandable during a primary, but fuck, people, he’s the damned President now.

    I see Obama as a cautious man who is six months into a mess that was created by eight years of the most plundering, incompetent, destructive, pigheaded, bloodthirsty and downright stupid-as-rocks administration that this country has ever seen. He’s nowhere near even close to finished with triage for all the mess that Bushco left behind.

    I know I’m tempted now and then to think that Obama is not moving fast enough on things for me, me, me (DADT for one), but I’m still glad he’s the one on top whenever I hear him talk. Call me a polyanna, but I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  25. 25
    Singularity says:

    Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy

    This seems fairly obviously pointed at Mubarak and Chavez.

    While I agree that actions speak louder than words, there is a political reality in this country that requires careful navigation out of Bush era policies. Obama has barely made any changes at all and the wingnuts have called him everything from socialist to fascist. I would gladly adopt a so-what attitude about that, but unfortunately those lunatics get more news coverage than all the sane people who support Obama put together. Obama has to be seen to be moving slowly but deliberately. Remember the lessons of the Clinton administration. Health care reform died because idealists didn’t take into account the utter scumbaggery the insurance industry and its congressional accomplices would implement. Obama seems to have the measure of the current batch of Republican imbeciles.

  26. 26
    rock says:

    And yes, I agree that these are extraordinarily lovely words, but coming from a man who’s currently responsible for incinerating more little brown children right this very moment, they made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. Tastes like liberty!

    I think this is a great post. Obama’s words are empty until he actually delivers a change in policy. That has not happened. There’s a bunch of news stories about the US not supporting continued Israeli expansion, but nothing has been formally stated by Obama much less any action taken. A general who presided over torture has just been promoted in Afghanistan. Is that change we can believe in?

    It’s just like healthcare, where we hear about a public option in news stories, but I am doubtful it will ever really happen.

    This may sound harsh, but at the current pace, Obama’s administration is headed towards being a pathetic fraud. I expected to be disappointed. I didn’t expect that the charges of him being an empty suit with a bunch of pretty words that mean nothing would start to sound legitimate.

  27. 27

    @Violet: Pfft.

    I suspect Obama doesn’t like this aspect of how the US has operated either. Which is why, among other reasons, he’s pushing green energy. Supporting corrupt governments in oil rich countries won’t seem so necessary if we don’t need as much oil.

    You “suspect”? Please. I have plenty of fantasies in which Obama is the roaring rampager of reform that the schmucks in the conservative movement kept painting him as, but at least I know they’re fantasies.

    And even if he did want it (which there is no particular evidence for, apart from the fevered fap-dreams of his forever-frustrated fans), we remember how that worked out for Carter, yes?

    We’re so fucked.

  28. 28
    Da Bomb says:

    @grendelkhan: I don’t know what you expect from this man who has only been in office for a little over 4 MONTHS!!

    It’s unbeliveable how impatient and self-serving some people have become. If it isn’t their cause that the administration is working right at this second then Obama is a failure. Give me a break!

    After the past 8 years, sometimes just “words” are nice. At least he is showing that he gives a damn and is trying to be diplomatic.

    This is going to be the longest 4 year stint in history.

  29. 29
    rick says:

    Woody wrote:

    “but who, then, would the Saudis be allied with?”

    Um, Woody, if it wasn’t for US hegemony over Saudi Arabia, Aramco wouldn’t exist, and the US wouldn’t have halted any movements inside Saudi Arabia to reform and modernize the government. The US has thrwarted every attempt in Saudi to change their ways. If it wasn’t for the US and Aramco, the Saudi’s would be less oppresive then they are right now.

  30. 30
    gwangung says:

    Good points, but on the other hand, what’s the realistic pace of change? Versus what’s actually possible? Even with the best of intentions, there’s still considerable burrowing in day to day operations, and to combat that, you need to micromanage things. How possible, how desirable is that?

  31. 31
    Zifnab says:

    @Mike S:

    The idea of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” has always come back to bite us in the ass. Not once has it led to a stable government and ally. There are times when there is no choice, like WWII, but even then it bites us in the ass.

    What about that one guy – the middle eastern strongman. Sadda-something Hussyguy. Didn’t he work out great working with Reagen? I can’t remember anything that went wrong there.

  32. 32
    camchuck says:

    On her radio show this morning, Laura Ingraham told me Obama completely ignored talking about democracy.

    Therefore, you are likely correct in thinking that passage was the best part.

  33. 33
    Da Bomb says:

    @gbear: I am with you gbear!

  34. 34
    rick says:

    @Da Bomb

    Yes words are nice. And Obama’s words are better than Bush’s. But that doesn’t mean his words are good. See, for example, his refusal to apologize for Iraq, or his insistence that Israel must ‘stop’ the settlements. The insistense that Israel must merely stop the growth of settlements is such a far-right position that its astonishing how people can applaud it as progress. Those settlements need to be demolished, and they won’t be if Obama keeps using these types of words.

  35. 35
    The Moar You Know says:

    This kind of doe-eyed lovefest is understandable during a primary, but fuck, people, he’s the damned President now.

    @grendelkhan: Plan B was President Palin. You’ll forgive me for being grateful for what I’ve got.

  36. 36
    matoko_chan says:

    awwww, Mike S

    I talked about it…….a lot.
    Axis of Idiots.
    Open letter to the Axis of Idiots
    US Bad at Bricolage

  37. 37
    Mike S says:

    @Zifnab: Don’t forget that guy we backed right before him. His name started with an Sh and didn’t end with an it, but probably should have.

  38. 38
    wilfred says:

    Cairo was the right choice. Egyptian cultural production, its corresponding influence on Arabness and its historical status in the Arab/Muslim world all indicated it. I like Fisk, but there was no way Obama would ever set foot in Palestine. Not yet anyway.

    He said the right things in the right way. I was happy to hear the initiatives he mentioned at the end, not least because I’m involved in one at the moment and will continue next year, too, Edward Djerajian (spell?) (Greg’s father) was part of a committee that made these proposals. It’s mazing what a President get to see now that Eliot Abrams is finally gone.

    I liked especially his pledge to be transparent – what we do in private, etc. This was already punned because hajib (which he mentioned) comes from the word for hide or conceal and everybody was buzzing about the Israeli insistence that Obama honor Bush’s secret deal with Israel on settlement expansion. I even saw it in the NYT before the speech. People really appreciated it when Obama said that.

  39. 39

    @gbear: I’m not so damned naive that I expect him to make things better. I had expected him to stop making things worse. I didn’t expect him to resurrect all the war dead, but I did expect him to stop or at the very least slow down on making quite so many more of them.

    “Triage”? What on earth are you talking about? If we were involved in “triage”, there would be investigations, there would be a special prosecutor, and there would fucking well be reforms so that not only will this nation stop torturing openly, it’d stop doing so covertly as well. None of that is happening, and none of it is likely to happen.

    Presumably, when you end your self-imposed period of arbitrarily withholding judgment, you’ll notice that the guy is excellent at producing beautiful words, and apart from that, is roughly as inspiring and reforming a leader as Bill Clinton was.

  40. 40
    Da Bomb says:

    @gwangung: For some people, if it’s not their cause he’s working on, then the administration is a failure. Change doesn’t occur overnight.

    If you are realistic then you realize that it takes time. Obama was left with a plate of big steamy poop to deal with.

    It takes a lot of time and work.

  41. 41
    Da Bomb says:

    @rick: How is that a far-right position? What is your suggestion to solve the Israeli-Palenstinian conflict?

    Just keep ignoring it, like we have been doing?

  42. 42

    Didn’t President Obama spend the night before this speech at the President of Saudi Arabia’s horse ranch? How’s democracy working for them? And Egypt has one of the most corrupt governments in the world, complete with a massive secret police force that tortures with such success that they’ve been a favorite destination for those CIA extraordinary rendition tours. Meanwhile, all that foreign aid that goes to Egypt ends up in gold bars stacked up in vaults in Zurich.

    The difference between Obama and Bush so far has been that I love Obama’s speeches.

    How’s that pipeline through Afpakistan coming along? Is the democracy flowing yet?

  43. 43
    RememberNovember says:

    We have been making deals with ruthless dictators and corrupt autocrats since we began this country. Ben Franklin and John Adams went hat in hand to the Capetian kings for help. Great speechmakers those two were as well.

  44. 44

    @Da Bomb: You really don’t know me. Oh, I have plenty of pet causes–restart the IFR! reform copyright law!–but they’ve all sort of fallen by the wayside over the last few years.

    I don’t know what you expect from this man who has only been in office for a little over 4 MONTHS!!

    He could stop the pointless and vile bombing attacks on Afghan civilians, for one. He could have closed Gitmo and started shifting those prisoners into the legitimate criminal justice system. He could have closed the CIA’s black sites and only then publicly apologized for the gulag he’d just disassembled.

    I mean, for starters.

    It’s unbeliveable how impatient and self-serving some people have become. If it isn’t their cause that the administration is working right at this second then Obama is a failure. Give me a break!

    So, complaining that the guy is now not only complicit in but actively responsible for murdering stacks of civilians is “impatient”. But it’s not “self-serving” at all to defend your hopes for the guy when I point out that he’s done precious little to fulfill them. Cute.

    After the past 8 years, sometimes just “words” are nice. At least he is showing that he gives a damn

    Yes, I’m glad the man can speak without me feeling embarrassed on his behalf. This is not an impressive achievement. We are not grading on a curve because the last guy set such a low bar. Showing that he gives a damn could be done in any number of real, tangible ways. This is showing that he gives a speech.

  45. 45
    rick says:

    Da bomb-

    Its a far right position because the only way to end the occupation of Palestine is to remove the settlements–not merely halt their growth. Its just like cancer!

  46. 46
    anonevent says:

    @rock: Let’s see:
    1. He’s told Congress to get him something on health care by the end of the year. I’m sure he could get something that says “We care about health care” from Congress that would be totally useless, or he can fight for something useful but that will take time.
    2. He got credit card reform in.
    3. He asked for money to close down Guantanamo, and got told by Congress to stick it.
    4. He navigated two car companies into bankruptcy rather than insolvency.
    5. He’s appointed a supreme court nominee.
    6. He’s told Israel it’s time to stop expanding settlements, and drove Bibi nuts because he means what he says.
    7. He’s driven the Republicans insane.

    I’d says he’s on a pretty good pace already. By this time in GWB’s presidency his claim to fame was the record number of vacation hours taken.

  47. 47
    valdivia says:

    That wanker Michael Crowley (TNR) spent the whole week saying Obama would never talk about human rights and that he was ‘weaker’ on democracy promotion than Bush. Now with the speech being totally what he did not expect he is saying Obama talks like Bush. Where do they get these idiotic pundits/analysts?

  48. 48
    Da Bomb says:

    @anonevent: Thank you!! Thank you!! Thank you!!

  49. 49
    rock says:

    It takes a lot of time and work.

    I think that can easily be an excuse to not actually pursue any substantive change.

    I will give Bush and the Republicans this: they pursued their agenda immediately and without fear even though Bush barely got elected (if at all). If Obama really wants things to be different, it is within his power to pursue that now. I don’t like to see claims that there is hard work going on that we don’t know about to make things different. “Don’t ask don’t tell” could be done away with this very day. Why won’t that happen?

  50. 50
    matoko_chan says:

    Remember November
    Sure, but that was a different slice of spacetime. The Union was young and vulnerable, and the sharks of established monarchies were circling us.
    Now, the Muslim Brotherhood is the analog to the America revolutionaries, and Mubarak is King George.
    Shouldn’t we be giving them recognition at least, and mebbe…..STOP giving Mubarak fundage to oppress them?

  51. 51
    wilfred says:

    @grendelkhan:

    Ordinarily I would agree with much of this, and be much more vitriolic in saying it, but I think here we must accept this as a beau geste on the part of someone who I believe to be sincere in this effort. Certainly all Muslims are honor bound to step forward here and suspend suspicion and respond to the greeting of peace with a greater one.

    I would be really disappointed if I see anything less. Actions are necessary, but it’s a bit early to expect any. Right now the mere suspension of Bush-era damage making is enough.

  52. 52

    @Da Bomb: If only we’d been ignoring it. Selling weapons to the Israelis, regardless of their actions, is not ignoring them, no matter how quietly we do it.

    I’m reasonably certain that stopping arms sales to the Israelis is a lovely way to get their attention, for instance. In the meantime, I’m sure they’ll be just as happy to ignore the President’s strongly-worded letters as they are to ignore everyone else’s.

    As for me, I’m unsure why the Israelis don’t just call that wall they’ve built a border, tell the settlers on the other side that they’re on their own, and wash their hands of the whole mess. But then again, I’m not a super-clever foreign policy expert.

  53. 53
    Da Bomb says:

    @grendelkhan: I didn’t say that I knew you. Frankly, all I know is that you are some unknown entity that sits behind a keyboard and plays armchair pundit. I don’t know you. You are rightfully entitled to your opinion, just like I am rightfully entitled to mine.

    As I said before, it is UNREALISTIC, to expect that President Obama to correct all the ills of the world in over 4 months. So breaking down my previous comment doesn’t change that.

  54. 54
    Ash says:

    @grendelkhan: For all your grandstanding, do you have ANY FREAKING CLUE WHATSOEVER that things don’t just go happen like that? I mean, you sound smart, but you seem to think all that stuff doesn’t require months of planning.

    And that’s kinda stupid. And unrealistic. Also, annoying.

    “Don’t ask don’t tell” could be done away with this very day.

    LMFAO, yeah, sure.

  55. 55
    jehrler says:

    @Da Bomb:

    Amen. Lincoln didn’t issue the emancipation proclamation in his four months either despite protestations from his anti-slavery wing.

    While he needs to lead, he can’t get too far out in front.

  56. 56
    Da Bomb says:

    @Ash: That’s what I have been saying.

  57. 57
    Violet says:

    @grendelkhan:

    Well obviously I don’t know the man, but based on things he said during the campaign, this is my impression.

    He hasn’t been in office all that long and sometimes, judging from things he did during the campaign that at times looked like terrible decisions but ended up being brilliant tactical moves in the long run, I think some of his decisions now, which don’t seem to be moving fast enough for a lot of people, may fall into that category down the line. He’ll probably make dumb decisions too, and some of the things you list may be in that category. Right now I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt.

    Here’s a nifty link where Obama’s campaign promises are tracked – The Obameter: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/. Kind of fun to watch. Obviously most of his promises haven’t had any movement yet. Who knows if they will.

  58. 58
    gwangung says:

    “Don’t ask don’t tell” could be done away with this very day.

    Do you want it to be gone? Or do you want it to be gone and never come back?

  59. 59
    Da Bomb says:

    @jehrler: It’s like one moment Obama is doing too much at once, then the next moment he’s doing too little. He can’t do enough in 4 months!

  60. 60
    Ash says:

    @Da Bomb: It’s sort of astounding how crazy the extreme on BOTH sides have become. On one hand you have people freaking out that he’s doing too damn much and doesn’t have time for anything. On the other, you’ve got people who think he’s twiddling his thumbs lounging around in his office watching tv.

    DOH. All he can do is take on what he has the ability to take on at any given moment. Which is a whole hell of a lot.

  61. 61
    LD50 says:

    Didn’t President Obama spend the night before this speech at the President of Saudi Arabia’s horse ranch?

    Dare I ask why this is relevant?

  62. 62
    kay says:

    @valdivia:

    That’s probably a good sign, valdivia. He’s afraid the attempt will succeed, so he has to immediately co-opt it as Bush’s idea.
    Liz Cheney was more honest. She is a person who firmly believes dialogue is inherently dangerous, definitely futile, and should be avoided at all costs.
    Wars are better, because then there’s no “moral relativism”, and that’s what’s important here: that Liz Cheney’s inherent moral superiority be recognized, no matter the cost.
    This is one of our former top diplomats, remember. Good God. She rejects diplomacy out of hand, on …..moral grounds?

  63. 63
    jehrler says:

    @Violet:

    This is how Lincoln’s position on slavery is characterized in “Team of Rivals.”

    Cautious, plodding but moving forward

  64. 64

    @Ash: It didn’t seem to take quite so much hand-wringing when it was all put into place. Why is it so much more difficult to undo it?

    I will, for the sake of argument, allow that perhaps dropping fewer bombs on civilians (well, we have to drop some, or the Republicans will complain!) requires political maneuvering, planning, and time. In that case, how much time would you suggest be given? When is disappointment a legitimate reaction? What indications would you expect to see if he were to suddenly start fulfilling your expectations? Is there some kind of secret, not-very-transparent planning process that none of us can see?

  65. 65
    LD50 says:

    “Don’t ask don’t tell” could be done away with this very day.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the problem that it will take an act of Congress to get rid of it?

    If so, that’s not sth that can be ‘done away with this very day’.

  66. 66
    SGEW says:

    I think an awful lot of the blame could also be traced to the fact that we have supported ruthless dictators and corrupt autocrats and just turned a blind eye on the horrible things they were doing to their own people . . .

    From Obama’s speech (emphasis added):

    For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is indeed a tumultuous history between us. In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically-elected Iranian government.

    Has any U.S. president ever openly acknowledged our involvement in the Iranian coup d’etat before?

  67. 67
    The Raven says:

    I croak the importance of rhetoric. Even if Obama is not changing anything–yet–he’s putting progressive ideas back into public discourse, and this may be more important and effective, in the long term, than specific dramatic acts, which are likely to rebound on him, especially in the Senate.

    Progressives talk about the “Overton window”–the intuitive political spectrum that emerges as a result of public discourse. Obama is expanding the Overton window in the progressive direction, even if he does nothing else.

  68. 68
    gbear says:

    “Don’t ask don’t tell” could be done away with this very day.

    LMFAO, yeah, sure.

    I’ve heard arguments that it could happen immediately if Obama issued a stop-gap order like the one Bush used to keep troops in Iraq. More of a neutralization of the DADT policy than a repeal, but it would prevent the troops from being kicked out of the military until a ‘real’ policy decision could be implemented.

  69. 69
    r€nato says:

    I (am forced) To Watch Fox News Channel So You Don’t Have To Dept.

    immediately following Obama’s speech, they had Jonah Goldberg and some token liberal (Colmes?) review the speech. Doughy Pantload actually had a few good things to say about it but of course ultimately he trashed the speech.

    Some blonde Fox bimbo said, “They all hate us anyway, so why do we want to try to get along with them?”

    And pre-speech, they endlessly criticized Obama ‘begging’ the Saudis to lower oil prices, though I don’t recall any other news of Obama’s Saudi Arabia visit saying that that was the object of his stay there, and of course little mention that Bush went begging to the Saudis several times and was repeatedly given the cold shoulder despite the long-standing ties between the Bush Crime Family and Saudi royal family.

    Bill O’Lie-ly denounced vigilantism, apparently in the context of some accused sex offender getting the snot beaten out of him by a mob. Yeah, Bill O has never, ever exploited vigilante sentiments, has he?

  70. 70
    Michael D. says:

    @LD50: Re: Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the problem that it will take an act of Congress to get rid of it?

    To get rid of it, yes.

    To ask that the military stop enforcing it (like he did with laws about marijuana in California), no. He could effectively end DATA today.

    If he wanted to.

  71. 71
    Da Bomb says:

    @Ash: I agree. It is very astounding. And profoundly disappointing.

  72. 72
    someguy says:

    We should stop trying to impose democracy on countries that clearly don’t want it and quit lecturing them about human rights. So much for that vaunted realism and pragmatism. You know what happens if the dissidents who are being tortured in Egyptian prisons are freed and get elected to run the country? They’ll torture and jail and execute the secularist opposition, and then we’ll go lecture the new ruling class on how they aren’t playing nice, and they’ll laugh in our faces.

    Consider the possibility that maybe there’s a broad consensus on how people in that part of the world want to live, and maybe the only question isn’t one about universal human rights, but about who gets to be the whip hand.

    Isolationism is the only viable solution. Cut off aid to Israel, and to Egypt and Saudi too. We’ll buy their oil in London if need be, but we should bring the troops home, along with the Aramco technicians. We don’t need the headache.

  73. 73
    RolloTomasi says:

    The previous administration was the worst violator of the Freedom and Democracy Hypocrisy Doctrine.

  74. 74

    This is what happens when you put the blogs on your morning reading list. Obama makes a fine speech, and the goofyassed trolls attack, and all of a sudden I am having scrambled eggs and reading a bunch of crazy shit that not even Rush Limbaugh overdosed on Oxycontin would write.

    Like DADT could be shut down in one day. Yeah. That’s right, and the best way to deal with an impending depression is to freeze government spending.

    And Drill Here will give us back $1.25 gasoline.

    And Terry Schiavo was putting the finishing touches on her autobiography when the Demoncrat party killed her.

  75. 75
    r€nato says:

    @Ash:

    This is why I think wise politicians – ones who are CAPABLE – should largely ignore the day-to-day whims of public sentiment. Our founding fathers anticipated this when they established a democratic republic form of government. Hell, we are seeing the results of the former kind of governance in California. Like Bill Maher said recently, leave governing up to the voters and they’ll vote for no taxes, free beer and vagina trees.

  76. 76
    Maude says:

    @kay:11:47 a.m.
    And if there’s a war, none of these stalwart defenders of Democracy are in them. They sit on their duffs pontificating about matters about which they know nothing.

  77. 77

    After listening to the entire speech again and reading through comments here and elsewhere it seems to me that a good portion of the commentariat missed the point of the speech. This speech was Obama’s way of hitting the reset button on our foreign policy as it relates to the Middle East and the rest of the world effected by our so-called Global War On Terrorism. Secretary Clinton’s forceful words on Israeli settlements and President Obama’s willingness to address Arabs and Muslims as equals is sending the right message. The stage is now set for a new beginning. Let’s see what the administration actually does. The proof will come through how foreign policy is conducted and how we spend our money. Until then all the punditry means nothing.

  78. 78
    kay says:

    @r€nato:

    Some blonde Fox bimbo said, “They all hate us anyway, so why do we want to try to get along with them?”

    It’s what you’d hear on a playground. No joke. Verbatim. Important lessons were not learned, and she didn’t grow up. I blame her parents, but maybe there’s personality factors that contributed. Something just went terribly wrong.

  79. 79
    rick says:

    Someguy wrote:

    “Consider the possibility that maybe there’s a broad consensus on how people in that part of the world want to live, and maybe the only question isn’t one about universal human rights, but about who gets to be the whip hand.”

    Do arabs not like human rights and freedom because there’s no word for freedom in Arabic or because they are desert people?

  80. 80

    @Violet: I grant you that he’s done some very savvy things, and I certainly grant you that I could be completely wrong about this administration. I hope like hell that I’m wrong.

    If Gitmo is closed by this time next year and the prisoners have been moved into a lawful form of detention, if we are no longer bombing random civilians in Afghanistan, if we’ve had actual hearings on torture which have resulted in at the very least the indictment of someone holding the rank of Colonel or higher, or a member of the previous administration’s senior staff, if the CIA’s black sites are investigated publicly and shut down, and if we haven’t invaded Iran, I will gladly do something hilarious and degrading–perhaps crafting an article of clothing entirely of peanut butter, e.g., a mask or a glove–and I’ll do it with a song in my heart.

    Feel free to remind me next summer.

  81. 81
    Ash says:

    After listening to the entire speech again and reading through comments here and elsewhere it seems to me that a good portion of the commentariat missed the point of the speech.

    Not so much missing the point as it is ignoring it and whining.

    He flat out says “A speech isn’t going to solve everything” and people go on, “Why does he think a speech will solve everything!?!?”

    Durr………..

    Consider the possibility that maybe there’s a broad consensus on how people in that part of the world want to live, and maybe the only question isn’t one about universal human rights, but about who gets to be the whip hand.

    What are you saying exactly? That most of them LIKE chopping off heads?

  82. 82
    Da Bomb says:

    @InflatableCommenter: I wholeheartedly agree!!

  83. 83
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    Democracy is incompatible with the teachings of Islam. Mainstream Islamic leadership, to this day, endorses slavery for non-Muslims. Muslims too, are to be slaves, but slaves to Allah.

    President Obama is very naive.

  84. 84
    gwangung says:

    I’ve heard arguments that it could happen immediately if Obama issued a stop-gap order like the one Bush used to keep troops in Iraq. More of a neutralization of the DADT policy than a repeal, but it would prevent the troops from being kicked out of the military until a ‘real’ policy decision could be implemented.

    Yeah. That could be done.

    But would that affect the ultimate outcome in Congress? I don’t think that’s unrealistic to think that it would.

    (On the other hand, there IS a great deal appeal to me in telling the conservative elements to go piss up a rope and do it anyway…)

  85. 85
    jrosen says:

    Changing course and reversing the effects of 8 years of disaster (preceded by decades of drift, indecision, distraction — remember the Cold War?) is like changing the direction of the world’s largest ocean liner. It doesn’t turn on a dime like a Maserati. Besides which, although GWB and mad-dog Cheney may have given you other ideas, a President’s power to make change, especially when a bureaucracy is involved, (e. g. the State Department or the Pentagon) is actually rather limited.

    I’m curious to know what would some of you have had BHO say? Why don ‘t you who are starting to sound like a bunch of petulant 4-year-olds write a bit of an alternative speech for him, so we can consider it? We castigate to the Party of No for not offering alternatives. Why do the same on the Left?

    Consider that Obama is a poker player (unlike McCain, who was a crap-shooting plunger), and that poker is a game of patience and persistence, that good players bide their time and pick their moments, read their opponents very carefully, don’t win every hand, and especially, having inherited a very small stack from a previous player, don’t make it all back in one big coup. (Unlike the James Bond of Casino Royale, who won his big game by filling an inside straight flush…anyone who knew anything about poker in that theater groaned out loud!)

    I’ve waited almost 70 years to have a President that I feel speaks fort me, and I believe he will act for me as much and as soon as he is able. You younger ‘uns can wait a little longer.

  86. 86

    @grendelkhan:

    Feel free to remind me next summer.

    This troll will still be going on next summer?

    Wow, there’s something to look forward to.

    ( heavy sigh )

  87. 87
    Da Bomb says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum: Essentially, that is what he did. He was just informing them that there is a new sheriff in town and he plans to do something different. And hopefully he will.

    @r€nato: LMAO

  88. 88
    Woody says:

    Democracy is incompatible with the teachings of Islam.

    also to “orthodox” Christianity…

    just sayin

  89. 89
    tc125231 says:

    Look, it was an excellent speech, and is an excellent approach. It is NOT going to solve all our oproblems with Islam –and all our problems with Islam would not be rectified even if the Palestinians got a decent deal on a homeland tomorrow, and did everuthing “perfectly” in Iran.

    Islam is in the throes of a wrenching encounter with modernity which is likely to continue for at leat 50-100 years. This precedes common American awareness of any problem. The author V.S. Naipaul wrote a book about it in 1981 — “Among the Believers”. I remember an interview with him about the book where he said, roughly “It appears that they want the “stuff” modernity makes possible, but not the social structures that create it.” This continues to be a problem. Not only are very few scientific papers writen in the Middle East, the rate of translation into Arabic is abysmally low.

    http://www.amazon.com/Among-Be.....8;sr=8-17#

  90. 90
    Cyrus says:

    @grendelkhan:

    I’m not so damned naive that I expect him to make things better. I had expected him to stop making things worse.

    @Bob In Pacifica:

    The difference between Obama and Bush so far has been that I love Obama’s speeches.

    In addition to what anonevent listed, there’s also the $787 billion economic stimulus package, the order requiring the use of the Army Field Manual for interrogation, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the S-CHIP expansion, and ending the global gag rule on abortion.

    Even the best president in history (“best” in this case meaning some combination of skill at political maneuvering and adherence to good policies and probably other stuff too) still wouldn’t be good enough to create a Northern European-style social safety net, rebuild the wall of separation between church and state and neuter our crypto-imperial foreign policy, the military-industrial complex, the surveillance state and the war on drugs in only two terms in office. We have no reason to think Obama would be the best president in history.

    So far he has shown a tendency towards consensus-based, incremental progress, we never had any rational reason to expect much more than that, and I defy his critics to find any supporter who said otherwise. (Maybe I’ll regret making such a sweeping statement, but you know what I mean.)

    I guess this is comment is a little like concern trolling, but still, it is absurd exaggeration to say that the only significant difference between Obama and Bush are the speeches, or to take the fact that we’re still in Afghanistan and Iraq as a sign that he’s making things worse.

  91. 91
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Do you want it to be gone? Or do you want it to be gone and never come back?

    This is a key point that I think a lot of Obama’s critics on the left are missing. Obama is a moderate and an incrementalist, but he also is aiming for sustainable change, not something that will be rolled back immediately the first time the GOPers get back into power. That takes time and patience and requires building a broad and enduring consensus – not something that is quick or easy to do in our ADHD nation. You don’t get there by ramming things down people’s throats. Bush did the latter, but look how lasting his political legacy is proving to be. Other than wrecking the GOP for a generation, what will be left of Bush’s policies even as little as four years from now? Obama on the other hand is trying not only to change policy, but to marginalize those who will seek to roll back his policy achievements after he has left office.

    I think there may be a generational aspect to this. As a tail end Boomer, I’m old enough to have childhood memories of the 1960s while being young enough to sympathize with the X’ers. Looking back on what liberals tried to do in the 1960s to change our society for the better as quickly as possible, and the violent pushback and backlash that it generated (which ended up giving us 3+ decades of Nixonland as a result), I can see why somebody younger might see making slow and steady progress in small steps as a better way. It seems to me that is what Obama is trying to do, and it is a good fit for the tenor of the times.

  92. 92
    John Cole says:

    If he wanted to.

    There was a headline at memeorandum that said “Gay people losing patience with Obama,” and my honest to goodness first thought was “I’M LOSING FUCKING PATIENCE WITH GAY PEOPLE.”

    Seriously, stfu. New Hampshire just passed gay marriage, making it the sixth state. It is happening, and it will be permanent. I’m sorry you fucking idiots want Obama to go all Gavin Newsome and end DADT and DOMA by executive decree, and then turn those respective issues into a ginormous political football that is reversed every election by the new President, give life and new vigor to the anti-gay marriage crowd as well as an issue to scream about and giving the Republicans a wedge issue and momentum running into 2010, and I’m sorry you don’t have the foresight to think anything through, but seriously, STFU.

    He just nominated a Republican to Secretary of the Army who wants to end DADT. Powell and other bigwigs are coming around to his position. There is movement, and it will happen. Just not the way you want, because they way you want it to happen would be a god damned disaster.

    WATB.

  93. 93
    West of the Cascades says:

    I’m trying to figure out how this (otherwise excellent) expression of the principle of popular self-determination squares with our need for good relations with the traditional and at best only semi-constitutional monarchies that dominate the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait). However, as a departure from the shallow, uncritical support for “imposed democracy” in the last administration, it’s very positive rhetoric. Now, as so many here have said, let’s see how it translates into action. A good first step would be going back to the policy of freezing loans or aid to Israel if it does not immediately stop settlement expansion. It would be harsh, but undoubtedly effective, and the most powerful signal Obama could give that the US is again potentially a fair mediator of the Israel/Palestine conflict (and kudos to Obama for using the term “Palestine”).

  94. 94
    kay says:

    @Maude:

    I like Bill Clinton’s quote. Roughly, “it’s a small world, and at some point everyone makes a deal”.
    People like Cheney get in the way. I’d put her in a room with other people like her, and conduct the real hard work elsewhere. They can scheme away in there.
    Which is essentially what we did, with the election, so that’s good.
    Maybe she’ll raise an army. Who knows? Right now, thank goodness, she doesn’t have access to one. She’s a general without an army. It’s almost poignant.

  95. 95
    valdivia says:

    @kay:

    I really do not get why she is now all of a sudden a credible commentator on anything. Why is she on my tv every day?

  96. 96
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    I challenge anyone to find the teachings of any current Christian leader, let alone a mainstream Christian leader, calling for the enslavement of non-Christians. The Ask-Imam site is pretty mainsteam and very popular. It also reflects the teachings of Mohammed.

    “Since the human being did not willingly submit to the ultimate Master, Allah, He condemns them to the unwilling slavery of his sincere slaves. And by understanding the powers of a man master, they may understand the Powers of the True Master, Allah. In fact, the concept of slavery should be regarded as a concept of mercy, as the heinous crime of rejecting Allah as our Master demands immediate terminating of life.”

  97. 97
    r€nato says:

    @John Cole:

    Amen. Gay activists are sometimes the worst enemies of gay people.

  98. 98
    Irv says:

    “…confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice….”

    Except when it serves your political interests. Certainly the telecoms are happy he doesn’t really mean that.

    And what’s this notion of “preventive detention” all about? Surely that can’t be within the scope of our laws, unless you’re Yoo and you just….poof, make it so.

  99. 99
    Lyle4 says:

    @John Cole: I’ve been hestitant to say the same, but I have to agree with you John.

    Now, that is NOT marginalizing or detracting from what LGBT people have had to go through. Indeed, they have had to endure more hatred and setbacks and have been pissed on more than most groups in modern history. But at the same time, having colossal freak outs about Rick Warren and going ballistic over the change of text on a website (such as happened when whitehouse.gov underwent some editorial changes) does not help anyone, least of all themselves.

  100. 100
    Michael D. says:

    @John Cole: Most Americans want DADT ended. So your assertion that it would be a disaster are unfounded.

  101. 101
    gbear says:

    @John Cole: May I recommend the decaf?

  102. 102
    noncarborundum says:

    @camchuck: Kudos (I think) for being able to put up with Laura Ingraham long enough to know what she said. The Boston radio station that carries the Red Sox also airs Ingraham, Limbaugh, and Savage; occasionally I turn on the radio in morning, after having listened to baseball the night before, and find myself hearing Ingraham’s voice — but only for as long as it takes for me to reach over and change the station.

    (Question: why does %lt;a href …%gt; screw up the preview?)

  103. 103
    r€nato says:

    I challenge anyone to find the teachings of any current Christian leader, let alone a mainstream Christian leader, calling for the enslavement of non-Christians.

    Enslavement? Unlikely. Killing the infidel Muslims? That’s easy.

  104. 104
    Da Bomb says:

    @John Cole: But see John you are being realistic. Realism just doesn’t work for some people. Equality for African-Americans didn’t happen overnight. It took decades. It didn’t happen in 4 months.

    And the thing that some people fail to realize is that there’s a significant amount of the country that is still anti-gay marriage. I think it’s crazy, and it shouldn’t be anyone’s business who you married. I live in one of those states that marriage equality is a hard pill to swallow. Our governor blessed Rush Limbaugh the other day. So people here can be crazy.

    Hell, if there are still high schools that have segregated proms in the year 2009, then marriage equality has a fight on its hands.

  105. 105
    Ash says:

    @Michael D.: “Most Americans” aren’t in the military.

  106. 106
    Will Danz says:

    Exactly!

    I think an awful lot of the blame could also be traced to the fact that we have supported ruthless dictators and corrupt autocrats and just turned a blind eye on the horrible things they were doing to their own people just so long as we got whatever we wanted in the short term and the oil kept flowing.

    The U.S.A. has severely underestimated that factor.

  107. 107
    Aaron says:

    regarding the reaction to the speech: the part that is frustrating about a lot of this is that political realities are hard to sync up with moral and ethical issues. For example, even as issue as simple as bombing civilians in Afghanistan – a truly horrible act.

    I doubt Obama was looking at the satellite images himself. He trusts his commanders in the field to establish high value targets. So a general or someone comes to the president and says “we have reliable information that high value targets are located here.” If the bombing occurs, shit hits the fan and we inflame American hatred in a region already rife with it. If he issues a blanket ban on these assaults, he risks alienating a military force (by “tying their hands) that he will need cooperation from in upcoming attempts to fix the regions of the world we have already screwed up.

    This is not an excuse for bombing civilians, merely a call to understand that political issues often require delays, even in what appear to be easy issues.

  108. 108
    El Cid says:

    Please don’t let this be another BOB call & response fest.

  109. 109
    The Moar You Know says:

    @John Cole: Saw the same article in my local fishwrap, suspect it’s the AP doing a little bit of old-fashined trolling.

  110. 110
    kay says:

    @valdivia:

    I’ve been following her for a while. Not literally. I’m not stalking her, or anything.
    I started reading about her when her father hired her, because he also hired her husband, and I thought that was pretty ballsy, on the nepotism meter . It got no attention, so apparently it’s just a given that Cheney might hire his entire extended family.
    They put her on because she makes herself available, and she’s the opposition, and she speaks with that practiced Cheney “authority” that people who like authority figures swoon when they hear.
    She’s really a radical, though, if you can bear to listen to what’s behind the canned phrases. She’s distilled neoconservative. The failures of that doctrine only convinced her we needed to double down. Scary lunatic. No army, though, so we are safe.

  111. 111
    Michael D. says:

    @Ash:

    “Most Americans” aren’t in the military.

    Please. I know dozens of straight soldiers who could care less.

    I also know most of the military didn’t want to go die in Iraq either. But guess what? They’re professionals. They do what they’re told.

  112. 112
    MikeJ says:

    and it will happen. Just not the way you want,

    I think this is a big part of it. No drama Obama just wants it ended. There are a lot of people that don’t just want DADT ended, they want a “fuck you” to the people who stood in the way. In fact, I think there’s a fair number who wouldn’t give a shit about DADT as long as they got the “fuck you.” Which I understand, but disagree with.

  113. 113
    Michael D. says:

    Anyway, I guess this isn’t really a post that needs to be hijacked by DADT. I just wanted to respond to something someone else said above.

  114. 114
    Emma says:

    My first political science prof, back in 19 mumblety mumble, had a saying: republicans eat other people’s children, democrats eat their own. After reading some of the opinions here, I finally understand him.

    The man has inherited a mess. He’s not a dictator; he has to walk his way through a minefield in which HIS OWN GODDAMMED PARTY is waiting to stab him in the back. Why don’t we give him, say, a year or two before we start accusing him of the equivalent of war crimes?

    Jus’ sayin’…

  115. 115
    kay says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    Read it again, moron. See if you can figure it out. The first sentence is important.

  116. 116
    The Moar You Know says:

    Most Americans want DADT ended. So your assertion that it would be a disaster are unfounded.

    @Michael D.: Yes, Michael. It’s because a bare majority of Americans still want gays straight-up banned from the military, not because they think it’s not a big deal anymore.

  117. 117
    Michael D. says:

    @MikeJ:

    There are a lot of people that don’t just want DADT ended, they want a “fuck you” to the people who stood in the way. In fact, I think there’s a fair number who wouldn’t give a shit about DADT as long as they got the “fuck you.” Which I understand, but disagree with.

    What a crock of shit! What a way to minimize the hell gay people have to go through in the military and with being denied marriage.

    That’s right. I want to ba married as a fuck you to straight America. It’s not so I can stay in the country with my partner. It’s not so his conservative parents can’t keep me away from him if he’s stuck in a fucking hospital. It’s not so he can get my SS benefits if something happens to me.

    It’s because we want to put a big old FUCK YOU out there.

    DIAF.

  118. 118
    4jkb4ia says:

    Actually read story, and see that McCutchen now has a ticket to the show.

    That is absolutely right. Condi Rice was able to go along with the neocons for as long as she did because she was able to see that there is no reason for us to support the dictators in the Middle East. In China you can see gradual change. You can believe that in a generation there will be a mass middle class and a kind of democratic change, and I note that it is the twentieth anniversary of Tiananmen today. In the last thirty years, Saudi Arabia, say, has joined the twentieth century materially. But they are able to use religion to twist any demand for democratic change or greater equality.

  119. 119
    LD50 says:

    Some blonde Fox bimbo said, “They all hate us anyway, so why do we want to try to get along with them?”

    That’s actually not a bad description of how I feel about wingnuts.

  120. 120
    Louise says:

    A little OT, but I had to vent.

    I never read Jonah Goldberg; I let John and you all read him for me and report the atrocities.

    However, this morning, I did an extra shift on air at the reading service for the blind for which I volunteer, and after my usual news reading, I did the editorials for our local paper and USA Today. And in one of them was an absolutely ridiculous piece by …what does Atrios call him? Doughpants? Whatever. The editorial was his championing of Cheney and his assertion (delusional) that Cheney had convincingly “won” the battle between himself and Obama on all topics covered: torture, Iraq, etc.

    We are careful, in our readings, to avoid any inflection that might indicate our own personal feelings. I managed — but immediately afterwards, hit the “mute mike” button so I could briefly scream.

    What an idiot.

  121. 121
    4jkb4ia says:

    @PeakVT:

    This is true. But it’s not sustainable.

  122. 122
    noncarborundum says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    It’s because a bare majority of Americans still want gays straight-up banned from the military, not because they think it’s not a big deal anymore.

    I found this WaPo/ABC poll from last July:

    Seventy-five percent of Americans in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll said gay people who are open about their sexual orientation should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military, up from 62 percent in early 2001 and 44 percent in 1993.

    Hard to imagine that things have gotten dramatically worse on this front in the last 11 months.

    Even in the military, the “bare majority” who want gays banned outright was a whopping 30% or so last year:

    In the new Post-ABC poll, military veterans are less apt than others to say gay people should be allowed in the military. While 71 percent of veterans said gay people who do not declare themselves as such should be allowed to serve, that number drops sharply, to 50 percent, for those who are open about their sexuality.

  123. 123
    kay says:

    @Louise:

    He’s in my local paper. Conservatives complained that the paper was “too liberal” and that’s who they decided to buy. to appease them. Now it’s 4 to 1, conservative to liberal, rather than 3 to 1, conservative to liberal. That 1 liberal just scares them to death. It takes 4 conservatives to balance him, apparently. That’s how scary he is.

  124. 124
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    Renato; I have read your link and I have also heard Walid Shoebat speak. He, to my knowledge has never endorsed violence against anybody. What he does do is explain the teachings of Mohammed, and how they are being used in the world today.

    Your article is a cheap smear of the man and, while it compares him to Captain Kirk of Star Trek, it does not bring up anything of substance. I think Shoebat is a brave man for speaking out since, as an Apostate, he is sentenced to death.

    I will help you kay:

    “Since the human being did not willingly submit to the ultimate Master, Allah [ed: non-Muslim], He [ed: Allah] condemns them to the unwilling slavery of his sincere slaves[ed: Muslims]. And by understanding the powers of a man master [ed: a Muslim], they [ed: non-Muslims] may understand the Powers of the True Master, Allah. In fact, the concept of slavery should be regarded as a concept of mercy [ed: mercy to the non-Muslims], as the heinous crime of rejecting Allah as our Master demands immediate terminating of life.”

    I hope this helps. The link presented above has the whole question and full answer if you need some more context.

  125. 125
    4jkb4ia says:

    @rick:

    IIRC stopping the growth of settlements was what they agreed to under the road map.

  126. 126
    Cain says:

    @grendelkhan:

    He could stop the pointless and vile bombing attacks on Afghan civilians, for one. He could have closed Gitmo and started shifting those prisoners into the legitimate criminal justice system. He could have closed the CIA’s black sites and only then publicly apologized for the gulag he’d just disassembled.

    You seem to forget that he has to work with this volatile govt body called “Congress” who suddenly now that there is a Democrat in charge is flexing their muscles. (which irritates me to no end, since they were quite docile during Bush) They got all kinds of fears and they need to be stroked and petted in order to get that nice purr.

    Change is slow because you got to deal with these cretins. Mos Eisley has nothing on these guys. You want change? You put pressure on these guys because that part hasn’t changed yet. Thankfully the president is not all powerful, we don’t want that remember?

    If you push things through like a bull in a china shop it might endanger future changes you want to do. So you have to move cogs slowly creating a momentum. Use asset of making good speeches as a bully pulpit.

    cain

  127. 127
    Ed Drone says:

    He flat out says “A speech isn’t going to solve everything” and people go on, “Why does he think a speech will solve everything?”

    And then “he didn’t talk about democracy,” when 2000 words* of his speech were about that very subject.

    Sigh.

    Ed

    * I counted (well, I didn’t really count, but….)

  128. 128
    rick says:

    Emma re:
    “republicans eat other people’s children, democrats eat their own.”

    Maybe thats because liberals have principles.

    Is it really so much to ask to pressure Obama to remove settlements or not make the federal government MORE secretive?

  129. 129
    gwangung says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    This is a key point that I think a lot of Obama’s critics on the left are missing. Obama is a moderate and an incrementalist, but he also is aiming for sustainable change, not something that will be rolled back immediately the first time the GOPers get back into power. That takes time and patience and requires building a broad and enduring consensus – not something that is quick or easy to do in our ADHD nation. You don’t get there by ramming things down people’s throats. Bush did the latter, but look how lasting his political legacy is proving to be. Other than wrecking the GOP for a generation, what will be left of Bush’s policies even as little as four years from now? Obama on the other hand is trying not only to change policy, but to marginalize those who will seek to roll back his policy achievements after he has left office.

    Another thing, too. If you ARE committed to a gradualist approach, I think you should realize that there’s no One True Pace to go at, either. Obama could, indeed, go at a faster pace and still not endanger his policies. On the other hand, you still end up at the same place. If that’s the case, how big of a mistake was made? Really?

  130. 130
    LD50 says:

    Most Americans want DADT ended. So your assertion that it would be a disaster are unfounded.

    This implies that what most Americans want and what people in Washington want are one and the same thing. Whoops.

  131. 131
    Brachiator says:

    I know a lot of the blame for the tensions between the Arab Muslim world and the US lies with the Israeli/Palestinian issue, but I think an awful lot of the blame could also be traced to the fact that we have supported ruthless dictators and corrupt autocrats and just turned a blind eye on the horrible things they were doing to their own people just so long as we got whatever we wanted in the short term and the oil kept flowing.

    There is no oil in Egypt. And often democratic movements are weak or inept, or are overcome by people with malign interests.

    And the world continues to be a complex place.

    Those of you posting notes blistering with outrage over US hypocrisy and the emptiness of Obam’s words should flip over your laptops, iPhones and Blackberries. They were probably all made in China, which observed the anniversary of the events in Tiananmen Square by cracking down on its citizens.

    And courage still is without a name, and with an uncertain fate.

    So, are you going to bitchslap yourselves for lending support to an autocratic regime so that you can lead an “enlightened,” self-satisfied and comfortable life?

    This speech was Obama’s way of hitting the reset button on our foreign policy as it relates to the Middle East and the rest of the world effected by our so-called Global War On Terrorism.

    Well said. I agree. But Obama’s speech was also a bit of inspiration for those who are struggling for peaceful, representative, humanistic governments in places that have may or may not be within America’s sphere of influence.

    And the speech was also a call to action, in ways big or small, to people to help democratic movements.

    Isolationism is the only viable solution.

    Ah. A medievalist.

  132. 132
    kay says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    If I quoted you chapter and verse from the Bible, a literal reading, I could play the same game.
    I don’t want to. I have no interest in religious text-based battles. I regret engaging you at all, and I apologize for doing that. My fault.

  133. 133
    4jkb4ia says:

    @grendelkhan:

    That’s endangering Jewish lives. Never happen. Sharon pulled out of Gaza because there was a danger to life: too much military guarding too few settlers. Also had the happy effect of dividing the PA so any deal that Abbas makes will not stick anyhow.

  134. 134
    gwangung says:

    @rick: I don’t have a problem with pressure. I do have a problem with considering Obama the same as Bush.

  135. 135
    jayackroyd says:

    “blind eye” is awfully generous. It’s not like the US has been passive in the establishment of oppressive regimes that support the US.

  136. 136
    4jkb4ia says:

    @The Raven:

    Yeessss, but if you are using the same speech to suggest things like preventive detention which would be a very bad precedent altogether, your support of progressive ideals in the public sphere is mixed. Obama did admit that this would require Congressional approval. The best thing about Obama being president is that he is not running an imperial presidency. If Congress finds its progressive side and does the liberal things that the members of it want to do, Obama will be cheerleader in chief.

  137. 137
    aimai says:

    I saw the speech, and read it. Its classic Obama–direct, historically aware, polite. The comment way, way, upthread that Obama is appealing to the *future leaders* of the countries we deal with is right on the money. Every minute and every speech he is attempting to demonstrate to the not yet lost generation that peaceful, diplomatic, negotiations are ultimately going to get them where they want to go. Not because it leads them to be compliant and submissive to their despotic leadership but because it enables them to gandhi the motherfuckers to death.

    As for the hysterical demand that Obama a) deliver all speeches from a war zone like Palestine *as though that were the only issue for muslim states* or b) “apologize for Iraq”

    that has to be the most childish, shortsighted, and, well, rube american approach to politics evah. Cairo is *important* historically, hugely important as a counterweight to the cultural hillbillies who run Saudi Arabia, pivotal historically in the limping peace process with Israel. Giving a speech there was of stunning importance and he didn’t waste everyone’s time limiting his topic to merely israel or merely iraq. He took every single one of the major shibboleths and pronounced them correctly. Or, to put it another way, he slaughtered a whole lot of sacred cows.

    In effect he *did* apologize for Iraq and for the overthrow of mossadegh. That’s huge, in diplomat/president speak. Just.Totally.Huge.

    Words matter and he said the right ones.

    Like a lot of others here Obama doesn’t move fast enough for me, he’s not radical enough for me, not progressive enough for me. And I think he could do more and be more agressive. But then I’m an agressive kind of person. And, oddly enough, I’m not waking up at the White House every day juggling fifty different disasters. Lucky for the US.

    aimai

  138. 138
    The Moar You Know says:

    Ah. A medievalist.

    Win.

  139. 139
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    I am not quoting the ancient texts kay, I am quoting Ask Imam, a popular go-to guy for questions on Islamic jurisprudence. You can ask him questions too. Here is his site, it is very good and there are lots interesting questions:

    Ask Imam

    I encourage you to read it.

  140. 140
    Cain says:

    @InflatableCommenter: This troll will still be going on next summer?

    He'll be back by July. :-)

    cain

  141. 141
    4jkb4ia says:

    “Imperial presidency” means that Obama is in full charge of whatever is being done by “the government”. The behavior of some attorneys on state secrets does not amount to an imperial presidency.

  142. 142
    bago says:

    @Michael D.: Poor Brent Spiner!

  143. 143
    Ed Drone says:

    Its a far right position because the only way to end the occupation of Palestine is to remove the settlements—not merely halt their growth. Its just like cancer!

    Ahem! From the speech:

    “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.”

    Does this sound like “Oh, go ahead, keep ’em — just no more, mmmKay?” Sorry! “The United States does not accept the legitimacy…” doesn’t sound like that at all.

    Ed

  144. 144
    John Cole says:

    @gbear: Just so sick of Democrats eager to sabotage themselves for a moment of attention.

    And Peter Daou is a joke.

  145. 145
    kay says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    As I said, I’m not interested in religion. But, by all means, carry on. I’m confident yours is the best of the available options, and you did an appropriate amount of shopping around, or not, either way, fine with me.

  146. 146

    @InflatableCommenter: Well, I was here roughly two and a half years ago (pardon the braindead blockquoting there), but if it warms your cockles to label me troll and pretend that means that my arguments are but trifles, trifles light as air to be dismissed immediately without troubling your beautiful mind, go right ahead.

    @John Cole: If it helps, I’m not expecting Obama to issue some kind of national law on gay marriage at this point, nor do I even think it’s a good idea to do so, for the reasons you specify. My criticism is that the President’s current actions flatly contradict his speech, and even if you don’t think non-Americans count as people, that can’t be a very effective thing.

    @Aaron: I do recognize that it’s a nontrivial issue, but honestly, if your commanders in the field aren’t wise to the fact that it’s a terrible fucking idea (in addition to it being a monstrous act), your commanders in the field suck. I understand that it’s not a wave-the-wand problem, but he’s the President, and the buck stops with him. Excuses as to how difficult it is to stop setting fire to children are not my fucking problem.

    @Emma: Well…

    Why don’t we give him, say, a year or two before we start accusing him of the equivalent of war crimes?

    While I love how “four months” has blossomed into “a year or two”, we don’t need to accuse anyone of “the equivalent of” war crimes. Torture, aggressive wars of conquest (even if he didn’t start them, he’s still continuing them) and holding prisoners in unlawful, indefinite detention with no trial are war crimes.

    I know, I know, how shrill of me to point this out. Go take it up with the other signatories of the Geneva Conventions if you don’t like it. Oddly enough, these things don’t cease to be monstrous crimes when there’s a Democrat in charge.

  147. 147
    someguy says:

    @ Brachiator

    It’s pretty clear that U.S. meddling has been at the bottom of most of the problems that the Muslim world (and the rest of the world) has with the U.S. You do acknowledge that, right? So…

    1) What gives us the right to tell other countries how they should run their domestic affairs?

    2) What is supporting democratic movements in foreign countries, if not tampering with their domestic politics?

    Would you be fine with knowing that, say, a coalition of don’t-ask-we-don’t-tell banks in Luxemburg, through their government, were funding the Republicans and a bunch of radically pro-business think tanks? Somehow I don’t think you’d be down with that, but you’re four-square with the President basically promising he’s down with fomenting revolution in a bunch of countries that he says want to be friends with us. How is supporting revolutionaries (regardless of whether you agree with them) going to make the Muslim parts of the world hate us less, or make us safer?

  148. 148
    Chi-city says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ

    Amen. Long term sustainable change. Green economy, high speed rail, revitalized automotive industry, revitalized economy, healthcare reform, etc. All of these things need to be planned out and executed on. Obama has one tendency before any other and that is to receive dialogue from a variety of sources before moving forward. I am not sure if he truly wants other opinions (it seems that way) or if he wants all involved to see the wheres and whys of his decision making so it is difficult to undo the new policy once it is in place. I am more than happy with what has been accomplished so far. The number 1 issue is/was the economy and much of his efforts have been spent there. Number 2 is cleaning up/putting in place a new foreign policy. He is moving quickly in those areas. Sorry if they are not your pet project. He is putting in the framework. Let’s now see if he can implement. If Obama was moving any quicker, he would work at Jimmy Johns.

  149. 149
    Gregory says:

    I think an awful lot of the blame could also be traced to the fact that we have supported ruthless dictators and corrupt autocrats and just turned a blind eye on the horrible things they were doing to their own people just so long as we got whatever we wanted in the short term and the oil kept flowing.

    Why do you hate American, John?

  150. 150
    bago says:

    @Brick Oven Bill: You wouldn’t happen to be a member of the landover baptist church, would you?

  151. 151
    Ash says:

    If Obama was moving any quicker, he would work at Jimmy Johns.

    LMAO. Oh god I’m so hungry.

  152. 152
    Jay B. says:

    Whoever above said “reset” is absolutely right.

    I don’t blame those who want something more substantial on the issues they find the most important (like DADT), but this is a massive undertaking on every level. Congress is lagging and mostly counterproductive. The Bush team is currently involved with a massive ratfucking of Obama, even as he shamefully sides with them on Executive privileges and WoT excess.

    Obama has already done substantial things — things that if Americans valued perspective, would be considered far-reaching and important — but it’s a testament to how poorly we’ve been ‘led’ for the past, what, 40 years? they only represent the barest scratch of the surface.

    The last truly decent government was LBJ’s and that was only on domestic issues, obviously. And while there are some worrisome parallels on foreign policy (getting further mired in stupid wars started by other people), Obama is ALSO trying to update how we deal with the rest of the world. It’s something Bill Clinton did fairly well, but without the vision Obama is importantly expressing.

    It’s important to fight for liberal/left issues and pressure the Administration, but to idiotically sum up Obama as Bush with better speeches is doing the right a very important favor. And it’s stupid because it’s just not true.

  153. 153

    label me troll and pretend that means that my arguments are but trifles

    You haven’t made any arguments. Arguments require a discussion of various aspects of some point, or issue, or position.

    All you have done is drive by the thread every few minutes and fire snarky bazooka shells into the crowd. That’s what trolls do, and that’s what you are doing, and that’s what makes you a troll.

    Don’t want to be labeled a troll? State a position, define it, and argue it.

    So far your position seems to be that you could be a better president than Barack Obama.

    Okay, there you go. Why don’t you put together an organization, raise some money, and get going? Plenty of time to make a serious run at 2012.

    Heh. See, you aren’t really serious about anything you are saying here. You are just nibbling around the edges of events and finding things to carp about. My grandmother used to do that. Of course, she was senile.

    When did you decide to stop using the myiq2xu handle?

  154. 154
    Llelldorin says:

    @John Cole:

    This.

    Also, I’m more than a little uncomfortable with the President selectively refusing to enforce a law, even if for the first time in many years I approve of the President and think the law is crap. I miss the quaint old-fashioned notion that the President should take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

  155. 155
    gwangung says:

    It’s important to fight for liberal/left issues and pressure the Administration, but to idiotically sum up Obama as Bush with better speeches is doing the right a very important favor. And it’s stupid because it’s just not true.

    Yes, exactly.

    Why is it a problem to say, “Yes, that’s good, but here’s where Obama can be doing better, MUCH better.” Don’t you exert more and better pressure if your stance is from within the coalition of power that Obama governs from?

  156. 156
    chopper says:

    That’s right. I want to ba married as a fuck you to straight America. It’s not so I can stay in the country with my partner. It’s not so his conservative parents can’t keep me away from him if he’s stuck in a fucking hospital. It’s not so he can get my SS benefits if something happens to me.

    mikej was talking about DADT, not gay marriage.

  157. 157
    jibeaux says:

    @LD50:

    Good point. Although I haven’t given up on desperate impoverished people raised in cultures of religious extremism, fundamentalism, autocracy, violence, illiteracy, and misogyny, I’ve given up on American wingnuts. And even phrased like that, it *still* makes sense.

  158. 158
    Tax Analyst says:

    Mike S
    @Zifnab: Don’t forget that guy we backed right before him. His name started with an Sh and didn’t end with an it, but probably should have.

    “Sh”? If you’re thinking of “The Shah” you’ve got your nations mixed up. That was in Iran. Saddam Hussein, the 5th President of Iraq followed, you guessed it, the 4th President of Iraq:

    4th President of Iraq: Abd ar-Razzaq an-Naif, who like Hussein also served concurrently as Iraq’s Prime Minister.

    Abd ar-Razzaq an-Naif
    In office
    July 17, 1968 – July 16, 1979
    Prime Minister Abd ar-Razzaq an-Naif

    Preceded by Abdul Rahman Arif
    Succeeded by Saddam Hussein

    (Source: Wikipedia)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmed_Hassan_al-Bakr

  159. 159
    Death By Mosquito Truck says:

    I voted for Obama solely because he gives good speeches so obviously I’m thrilled.

  160. 160

    @Death By Mosquito Truck:

    LOL. Best post I have seen this week.

    Okay, this month.

  161. 161
  162. 162
    Ash says:

    @Death By Mosquito Truck: Ahhh, so Obama’s evil plan worked, I see.

  163. 163
    Dreggas says:

    O/T but this is an interesting development

  164. 164
    jcricket says:

    This is a key point that I think a lot of Obama’s critics on the left are missing. Obama is a moderate and an incrementalist, but he also is aiming for sustainable change, not something that will be rolled back immediately the first time the GOPers get back into power

    I get frustrated by the pace of change sometimes, but I get more frustrated when/if Obama walks back on his promises. It’s more important that each success is the “right” success, and that we use the successes as a form of leverage for the next battle.

    So I hope everything Obama does is a building block (mostly figuratively, from a legislative/process standpoint) for the next thing we have to do.

    The other thing spreading out the successes does is allow us time to market/celebrate each one. Democrats rarely take credit for the good stuff we do, or for rolling back from Republican ridiculousness – and it hurts us down the road (as Republicans can more easily claim their ideas are useful if people forget who got us to the good place they’re in).

  165. 165
    mike says:

    More experienced viewers have a less than enthusiastic take.
    …It was disappointing that Obama recycled his predecessor’s notion that “violent extremism” exists in a vacuum, unrelated to America’s (and its proxies’) exponentially greater use of violence before and after September 11, 2001. He dwelled on the “enormous trauma” done to the US when almost 3,000 people were killed that day, but spoke not one word about the hundreds of thousands of orphans and widows left in Iraq…Nowhere were these blindspots more apparent than his statements about Palestine/Israel. He gave his audience a detailed lesson on the Holocaust and explicitly used it as a justification for the creation of Israel. “It is also undeniable,” the president said, “that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation.”
    Suffered in pursuit of a homeland? The pain of dislocation? They already had a homeland. They suffered from being ethnically cleansed and dispossessed of it and prevented from returning on the grounds that they are from the wrong ethno-national group. Why is that still so hard to say?…

    That is why Obama appeals more to the young: they have less experience and knowledge of the facts on the ground and are more susceptible to mere rhetoric.

  166. 166
    Svensker says:

    @garyb50:

    None of the millions of madrassa students will even know Obama spoke at all.

    And you know this how?

  167. 167
    Ash says:

    It’s reassuring however that cognitive dissonance isn’t a problem that only rich old white men have to deal with. From Sully:

    Univ. of Haifa’s Avraham Ben-Zvi: The first part bordered on flattery, apologetics for all the ‘white man’s sins.’ The apology was too sweeping, too long.

    Iraqi student Ahmed Mustafa: But he didn’t apologize for the many mistakes American troops made in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Oy, my head.

  168. 168
    Tax Analyst says:

    LD50
    “Don’t ask don’t tell” could be done away with this very day.
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the problem that it will take an act of Congress to get rid of it?
    If so, that’s not sth that can be ‘done away with this very day’.

    Wait, me and grendalkhan thought the President could just say “Make it so” with a wave of his hand and thy will would be done. Everybody would just hop to it and make everything “so”. That’s just SO COOL. None of this wimpy, wishy-washy stuff. Decisive action, man could we use a Preznit like that. What? We HAD someone who tried to be like that? Dubyah Bush? But what about Captain Picard?

    Oh, wait…Captain Jean-Luc Picard was a fictional character on fictional television show.

    Sorry, our mistake.

  169. 169
    A Cat says:

    s/LGBT/black
    s/gay/black

    And see if you don’t want to rethink what you wrote and how you feel about the issue.

  170. 170
    Emma says:

    Rick: I was going to make a facile quote from Heinlein about principles, but let me answer you without snark. No. I think it behooves us as citizens to keep the pressure on. I personally am pissed as hell about DADT, and plan to continue doing whatever I can to make it go away, as I am committed to supporting health reform. Having said that, going on tirades as to how he’s the same as Bush and he’s committing crimes and, and, and… gets you nothing. Constructive pressure is everything, screaming because something you want isn’t getting done fast enough, not so much.

    What I am saying is, the man has been in power for what, less than six months? I will be ready to scream if, in two years from his inauguration I don’t see enough progress. I am not wedded to any politician nor blinded by one; that would be true naivete. But I am willing to wait before I judge.

    And eating your children out of principle puts you in the remarkable position of having no heirs and nobody to carry on your work.

  171. 171

    @mike:

    Really? I’m 62, and I pretty much agree with Obama.

    And I really don’t expect him to go over there and act as a spokesman for Palestinian talking points. And in case you don’t know me yet, I am not any fan of unexamined support of Israel, at all. I think Israel’s stranglehold on US policy is a serious problem.

  172. 172
    jibeaux says:

    @mike:

    To that columnist, first of all, if you want to actually make a serious point, calling Obama “Bush in sheep’s clothing” is not going to help your cause, nor is expecting him to go around talking about the Palestinians being ethnically cleansed and bemoaning our “exponentially greater use of violence before and after September 11, 2001” (I’m not sure when the allegation is that the violence got ramped up given the use of the before in there, but anyway.) Barack Obama is neither Yasser Arafat nor in the humanities department at Oberlin College and he isn’t going to give a speech sounding like he is.

  173. 173
    Michael D. says:

    @chopper:

    mikej was talking about DADT, not gay marriage.

    Your point? Both are equally offensive.

  174. 174

    @Tax Analyst:

    But what about Captain Picard?

    I think he was really hoping for Pantsuits McClinton.

    She’d have taken care of everything by now, surely.

  175. 175
    TenguPhule says:

    exponentially greater use of violence before and after September 11, 2001.

    Paradox!

  176. 176
    MikeJ says:

    Both are equally offensive.

    And what we need is another Gavin Newsome, someone who will act decisively in such a way that gets something like prop 8 enshrined in law. Yeah, *that* will solve DADT.

  177. 177
    Tax Analyst says:

    jrosen
    Changing course and reversing the effects of 8 years of disaster (preceded by decades of drift, indecision, distraction—- remember the Cold War?) is like changing the direction of the world’s largest ocean liner. It doesn’t turn on a dime like a Maserati. Besides which, although GWB and mad-dog Cheney may have given you other ideas, a President’s power to make change, especially when a bureaucracy is involved, (e. g. the State Department or the Pentagon) is actually rather limited.
    I’m curious to know what would some of you have had BHO say? Why don ‘t you who are starting to sound like a bunch of petulant 4-year-olds write a bit of an alternative speech for him, so we can consider it? We castigate to the Party of No for not offering alternatives. Why do the same on the Left?
    Consider that Obama is a poker player (unlike McCain, who was a crap-shooting plunger), and that poker is a game of patience and persistence, that good players bide their time and pick their moments, read their opponents very carefully, don’t win every hand, and especially, having inherited a very small stack from a previous player, don’t make it all back in one big coup. (Unlike the James Bond of Casino Royale, who won his big game by filling an inside straight flush…anyone who knew anything about poker in that theater groaned out loud!)
    I’ve waited almost 70 years to have a President that I feel speaks fort me, and I believe he will act for me as much and as soon as he is able. You younger ‘uns can wait a little longer.

    Superb comparisons. Excellent post.

  178. 178
    TenguPhule says:

    But what about Captain Picard?

    Half the time his solutions fucked up even more and the other half he was a Borg.

  179. 179
    Third Eye Open says:

    Dear Mssr. BOB,

    There are a lot of deluded people who use scriptures to defend horrific ideas and deeds. Congrats, you’ve found one. Would you like a fucking cookie?

    Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs etc etc. have the capability for hideous ideals and justifications, even you and I. Now what exactly was your point?

    P.S. Faulkner called, he said your poetry sucks

  180. 180
    Emma says:

    Dear Grendelken, I would suggest you go back and read what I said. I’m a plain spoken person. I don’t know how “four months blossomed into a year or two”. I said, and let me restate for the record, that I was willing to give him a year or two before I judge him anything, success, failure, or war criminal. As Aimai said upthread, I would love for him to move faster on a whole number of issues, but I’m not the one who gets up and deals with all the crises.

    The difference between us seems to be that I’m willing to keep on the steady pressure, without screaming, calling people names, or throwing up my hands and quitting. But I don’t subscribe to the idea that Obama is the Messiah and thathe can wave his hand and dispose of all those other inconvenient branches of government. We tried that the last eight years and the results were…. disappointing?

    And please, don’t put disrespectful words in my mouth. Your rudeness is enough for the both of us.

  181. 181
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @mike:

    You know, I share some of the views of that columnist, particularly that I thought the whole focus on “Islam” overdone — in that all you have to do is think of the opposite and imagine someone coming to the US and talking mostly about how we’re Christians and using Christian phrases and how Christians and others can get along– to get why.

    And there will be critiques from people outside the US (and god knows inside) on that and many other scores, and they’ll probably all have a point, or different points.

    However just the fact that a US President can give a speech that’s worthy of serious criticism other than “WTF?” is such a massive accomplishment at this point that I think it’s going to do more than you imagine to bring about some changes. Those of us who live out here in the word outside the US can sense the change, that’s for certain.

    Maybe being grateful for a President who isn’t a complete belligerent disaster is being too easy to please, but at this point, I’ll take what I can get.

    It’s not a question of only the young, by the way, I’m not so young and neither are many of my friends from Arabic and European countries who are hopeful about the US for the first time in a long time. Not that everything will change, but that we may walk back from the brink of the long continuing disaster that was the last eight years.

  182. 182
  183. 183
    TenguPhule says:

    Those settlements need to be demolished,

    And the Palestinians need to be disarmed.

    Easy to say. Hard to do.

    Imagine trying to remove the entire US active serving army sans vehicles and artillery grouped together in mutally supporting clusters. And you want to do so in such a way as will not get you brutally slaughtered in upcoming elections.

    Now imagine that North Korea is the one demanding they be moved.

  184. 184
    anonevent says:

    @mike:

    That is why Obama appeals more to the young: they have less experience and knowledge of the facts on the ground and are more susceptible to mere rhetoric.

    And old people are more susceptible clinging to their facts long after they are no longer relevant. If there was one thing that would cause me to believe in God it would be that He made made us so that we would die.

    Edit: As for me, I’m middle aged and I cling to my facts and I’m susceptible to rhetoric. I have plenty of acquaintances who have no facts and won’t listen to anyone.

  185. 185
    The Raven says:

    4jkb4ia, #136:

    Yeessss, but if you are using the same speech to suggest things like preventive detention which would be a very bad precedent altogether, your support of progressive ideals in the public sphere is mixed.

    Of course. But preventive detention was already in the Overton window. What wasn’t in the window was the rule of law.

    If Congress finds its progressive side and does the liberal things that the members of it want to do, Obama will be cheerleader in chief.

    Next, the Senate. My impression is that 3/4s of the Senate, including half the Democrats, hates Obama, and is just looking for an excuse to clamp down. I don’t know Obama’s goals, and I don’t know the political situation in Congress, but I do know that he has to prepare the ground for any major goals that aren’t same-old, same-old.

  186. 186
    TenguPhule says:

    <blockquote.if Obama issued a stop-gap order like the one Bush used to keep troops in Iraq.

    And you don’t see the problem that’s right there in black and white?

  187. 187
    TenguPhule says:

    if Obama issued a stop-gap order like the one Bush used to keep troops in Iraq.

    Bleh, I hate WP.

  188. 188
    jibeaux says:

    @anonevent:

    And old people are more susceptible clinging to their facts long after they are no longer relevant.

    Aww, but it’s so productive to keep talking about how Israel shouldn’t exist!

  189. 189
    gnomedad says:

    @Louise:

    We are careful, in our readings, to avoid any inflection that might indicate our own personal feelings. I managed—but immediately afterwards, hit the “mute mike” button so I could briefly scream.

    LOL, bless you for doing your bit for free speech.

  190. 190
    JenJen says:

    Saw this post and laughed… because I had just finished reading this from over at TNR, via Rubin over at The Corner:

    Michael Rubin – Obama Abandons Democracy

    Obama studiously avoids the word democracy. Instead, he declared, “That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people.” Dictators of the world, relax: Stage a spontaneous demonstration to demonstrate popular adulation; don’t worrt about those pesky votes.

    How funny is that, considering the excerpt you highlighted, John?

  191. 191

    @bago:

    That’s her. She looks positively enlightened in that shot.

  192. 192
    Da Bomb says:

    @Emma: I agree with you. I don’t subscribe to idea that Obama is the Messiah either. He’s a human being and imperfect. So I expect there will be things that he will do that will piss me off. But I am willing to wait longer than four or five months to starting judging the man on anything.

    And when that time comes, I also feel that we should give credit to any good thing that he has accomplished and as well as criticize the bad stuff.

  193. 193
    TenguPhule says:

    Democracy is incompatible with the teachings of Islam. Catholicism

    Corrected.

    Divine Right of Kings.

    There is only one Lord and he does not share power.

  194. 194
    Svensker says:

    label me troll and pretend that means that my arguments are butt rifles

    Childish, I know, but couldn’t help myself.

  195. 195
    Mayken says:

    @cleek: Ewww! That raised an image that I Do NOT Want! Give me a spoon so I can dig it out of my brain, please.

  196. 196
    Zifnab says:

    @Svensker: You’ve posted at the right place.

  197. 197
    Svensker says:

    @TenguPhule:

    And the Palestinians need to be disarmed.

    Why? Is Israel planning on disarming?

  198. 198

    @Svensker:

    That is quality work, Sven.

  199. 199
    4jkb4ia says:

    I/P section from this particular biased perspective quite good. Was tough on both parties. Appreciate stating forcefully that Holocaust denial is wrong.

  200. 200

    @SrirachaHotSauce: Well, at least you did more than simply scream “troll!” and saunter off, your duty complete and your mind blessedly blank.

    You haven’t made any arguments. Arguments require a discussion of various aspects of some point, or issue, or position. All you have done is drive by the thread every few minutes and fire snarky bazooka shells into the crowd. That’s what trolls do, and that’s what you are doing, and that’s what makes you a troll.

    I made a claim–restated below for your convenience–and defended it, discussing various points. Later on, Emma said that I was accusing Obama of the equivalent of war crimes; I responded specifically to this as well.

    I disagree with many of the people here. I even disagree strongly. But I assure you, I am disagreeing in earnest; I am not simply trying to pick a fight, and your attempts to dismiss me as such would be laughable if they weren’t so inept.

    Don’t want to be labeled a troll? State a position, define it, and argue it.

    If your hebetude prevents you from scrolling upthread, I’ll restate it, and do so in smaller words.

    The nation is engaged in several monstrous acts, call them criminal or evil depending on your taste. Among these is the bombing of civilians in Afghanistan. This accomplishes nothing strategically, and is, in addition, a horrible thing to do if you can bring yourself to consider the Afghanis as human beings. John has previously written on this.

    I claim that Obama’s speech comes off as, at the very least, grotesquely hypocritical. He’s talking about a new era of peace and understanding between the Islamic and Western cultures, while still being responsible–in that the buck stops with him–for the bombings. I could have picked any number of other policies, but this one seemed morally clear enough.

    So far your position seems to be that you could be a better president than Barack Obama.

    Please grow up. “Oh yeah; let’s see you do a better job!” is not an argument; it’s a playground taunt. I’m criticizing the President on a specific policy, and the this is the most nuanced that you could come up with?

    When did you decide to stop using the myiq2xu handle?

    Right after you decided to stop beating your wife.

    Again–if you’d paid attention, you’d have noticed that I have a commenting history here that goes back more than two years. But you weren’t paying attention, were you? You were just cranky that I was harshing your mellow.

  201. 201
    Zifnab says:

    @Svensker: Palestinians have a nasty habit of shooting rockets into the back yards of Jewish settlements.

    I know we all love ourselves some 2nd Amendment, but letting civilians bandy about with RPGs and patriot missiles isn’t really a great idea, diplomatically speaking. It becomes hard to distinguish the difference between “The Palestinian Government is attacking!” and “Some douchebag with an illegal weapon is being a douchebag”.

  202. 202
    TenguPhule says:

    Why?

    Because every time Israel gives them guns, the first place they shoot them at is Israeli women and children.

    Then they shoot themselves in power struggles

  203. 203
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Emma:

    We tried that the last eight years and the results were…. disappointing? calamitous!

    Fixed for accuracy.

    ;)

  204. 204
    geg6 says:

    @grendelkhan:

    I can only guess, but I’m guessing you are fairly young. Please correct me if I’m wrong. However, you sound a lot like me when I didn’t have so many years under my belt and I thought it was so easy to just fix things or undo wrongs. Why agonize and debate and study when you can just do it, after all?

    And all I have to say is that I was an idiot with not one iota of an idea of what real life is about.

    You seem to think that because W rushed on in to do his damage that Obama should just do the same, only in the opposite direction. My question to you is if W’s rush to action was ill-advised and led to all sorts of unintended consequences, why you think Obama doing the same thing would have a different outcome?

    Instant gratification is a nice idea in the abstract. But in the real world, it is often the worst of choices if long term results are your goal.

  205. 205
    Margarita says:

    Any thoughts?

    Actions speak louder than words. Right now, Obama is repeating the lies we tell ourselves. I presume he was able to keep a straight face, but I’m not sure how far that gets us after our so recent and conspicuous depravities.

  206. 206
    TenguPhule says:

    It becomes hard to distinguish the difference between “The Palestinian Government is attacking!” and “Some douchebag with an illegal weapon is being a douchebag”.

    There’s a difference?

  207. 207

    @geg6:

    Pretty goot bet that grendel is a troll that has buzzed this picnic for a couple years now, but using a new handle.

    My money is on a person (I use the term reluctantly) called myiq2xu. If that’s not him, it’s a good imitation.

  208. 208
    Little Dreamer says:

    Again—if you’d paid attention, you’d have noticed that I have a commenting history here that goes back more than two years.

    Don’t flatter yourself, the name isn’t easily recognizable.

  209. 209
    bago says:

    Has anyone used bing?

    I found this amusing:

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    Keep in mind that I used to live on Republican street in Seattle.

  210. 210
    Brachiator says:

    @someguy:

    It’s pretty clear that U.S. meddling has been at the bottom of most of the problems that the Muslim world (and the rest of the world) has with the U.S. You do acknowledge that, right?

    No. I don’t. Can you say, “Kashmir,” for example? Muslim nations have their own national interests. There has been mutual manipulation by many parties over time.

    Pakistan, was not just the U.S.’s bitch, for example. Pervez Musharraf and other Pakistani leaders manipulated the so-called masters of the universe in the Bush Administration, even as Bush acted as though he was delivering instructions to the Pakistanis. Hell, I not only hold Bush, but many Democratic leaders indirectly responsible for the murder of Mrs. Bhutto. The Bush Administration foolishly believed that Musharraf would allow her to share power with him, and Western leaders and pundits who were her supporters totally misread the political situation in that country in encouraging her to return. But the internal situation is not and has never been the sole or even primary responsibility of the US.

    A good deal of the misery in the Muslim world was the collateral damage of the U.S. and the former Soviet Union playing their international games, and yet many so-called progressives act as though the Soviet Union never existed.

    1) What gives us the right to tell other countries how they should run their domestic affairs?

    Arrogance. Idealism. Hope.

    2) What is supporting democratic movements in foreign countries, if not tampering with their domestic politics?

    Countries are not monoliths. Sometimes democratic movements in countries ask for our help. Sometimes, it is a debt repaid. Had not France interfered and helped the fledgling United States during the American Revolution, this interchange that you and I are having might not be taking place.

    Would you be fine with knowing that, say, a coalition of don’t-ask-we-don’t-tell banks in Luxemburg, through their government, were funding the Republicans and a bunch of radically pro-business think tanks?

    I presume that this is happening.

    How is supporting revolutionaries (regardless of whether you agree with them) going to make the Muslim parts of the world hate us less, or make us safer?

    I like rolling the dice. Isolationism does not make you safer. You presume that everyone else will leave you alone just because you stick your head in the sand.

    When you do this, in the real world that we live in, someone will come along and see it as a perfect opportunity to kick you dead in your ass.

  211. 211
  212. 212
    binzinerator says:

    @grendelkhan:

    We’re so fucked.

    So you voted for John McCain?

  213. 213
    Aaron says:

    @mike:

    Mike, I think the points that article made were valid – and if his speech were given to a history class I would agree that the statements would be fitting. However, speeches, particularly the one given, require more nuance and subtlety than reading a factsheet regarding a history of the middle east. When Obama sits down with leaders, tilted language and calling out one side in favor of the other is a great way to ensure no lasting peace.

  214. 214
    Little Dreamer says:

    @SrirachaHotSauce:

    Instead of addling your brain by having to use the troll’s preferred name, just do what I do and resort to NoIQ, it is so much more accurate.

    ;)

  215. 215
    geg6 says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    All the teachings of the major players in Christian America do nothing but endorse slavery for me. I see no difference between Islam and Christianity whatsoever. And, honestly, there really isn’t any. They both hate women with a special hate that makes slavery seem like paradise in contrast.

    Please, BOB. It’s just too easy to pick apart your idiotic pronouncements about the evils of Islam when American Christians have been on my teevee every day for a week screeching about how they want to chain my uterus to their Bibles.

  216. 216
    Tax Analyst says:

    SrirachaHotSauce
    @Tax Analyst:
    But what about Captain Picard?
    I think he was really hoping for Pantsuits McClinton.
    She’d have taken care of everything by now, surely.

    Ah…so I shoulda said “Captain Janeway”. Yeah, I sorta remember she used “Make it so” sometimes, but it just wasn’t the same as the jaunty way old Jean-Luc P. said it.

    TenguPhule
    But what about Captain Picard?
    Half the time his solutions fucked up even more and the other half he was a Borg.

    Well, yeah…but he was VERY decisive in all those fuck-ups. We ‘murricans duz admiyerr da stronnng.

    He couldn’t help the Borg thing. It was like kismet or something.

  217. 217
    Zifnab says:

    @grendelkhan:

    The nation is engaged in several monstrous acts, call them criminal or evil depending on your taste. Among these is the bombing of civilians in Afghanistan. This accomplishes nothing strategically, and is, in addition, a horrible thing to do if you can bring yourself to consider the Afghanis as human beings. John has previously written on this.

    The US Military isn’t carpet bombing indiscriminately here, though. They are going after specific targets – typically individuals or groups who have, themselves, attempted to shoot or bomb Afghan civilians and military units.

    This is a war. It’s not pretty and it’s not “good” and we can even argue whether it is necessary. But you can’t wave your hand at all bombing runs and consider them equal.

    There are some very strategic goals in all of these attacks. Bombing runs are usually called in by units on the ground that have identified insurgent safe houses or weapons stockpiles or meeting areas. The goal isn’t to just pound sand and kill people.

    I claim that Obama’s speech comes off as, at the very least, grotesquely hypocritical. He’s talking about a new era of peace and understanding between the Islamic and Western cultures, while still being responsible—in that the buck stops with him—for the bombings. I could have picked any number of other policies, but this one seemed morally clear enough.

    Obama is discussing how to shift from the current climate of constant military conflict to a new global policy of peaceful diplomacy. That doesn’t mean Iraq and Afghanistan will magically end.

    The situation in Iraq and Afghanistan is not unlike the situation in New York or Detriot during a massive crime wave (except, you know, way worse what with the suicide bombings and the massive death tolls). Pulling all our troops out would be the equivalent of shutting down NYPD because – hey, guys in blue uniforms with guns patrolling the streets isn’t helping fast enough and some cops are corrupt to boot!

    Simply walking away from the conflicts we’ve started isn’t going to make them go away. If Obama withdrew all combat troops tomorrow, the Iraq Civil War wouldn’t end, Shi’ites and Sunnis wouldn’t stop killing each other, the Kurds wouldn’t stop demanding their own independent state, the Pakistanis wouldn’t be safer from Taliban insurgents coming through the Kiber Pass, terrorists wouldn’t stop strapping bombs to their chests and blowing themselves up in police stations… These problems wouldn’t go away just because Obama ended combat operations. And part of those combat operations involve air support. And part of that air support involves bombing runs.

  218. 218

    @SrirachaHotSauce: Wait… you think I’m displaying moral outrage about the ongoing bombing in Afghanistan, about the ongoing detentions and torture, and so on… because I’m a fan of Hillary Clinton? Don’t you think that’s a little myopic, to say the least?

    Were you cool with these things when Bush did them? If not, why are you okay with them when Obama’s name is on the letterhead?

    @Emma: By “four months blossomed into a year or two”, I was referring to the fact that he’s been in office for about four months, and I’m being told to be patient, because he can’t possibly accomplish anything in only four months. Then you come along and claim that, well, we can’t expect anything out of him for up to two years.

    And please, don’t put disrespectful words in my mouth.

    Because the big problem here, in your estimation, is respect? You’re arguing for the president to have a year (“or two”) of imperial powers of detention and surveillance, to let the mass killings and the torture go on… and the only problem you see is that I’m insufficiently polite in pointing this out?

    @Svensker: Moderately clever. I look forward to your concerto comprising two movements in armpit-fart noises, and one in “Mountain Dew”-flavored burps.

  219. 219

    joes527

    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.

    Hamas, standing in the back of the room, does the (bullshit) cough.

    XD

  220. 220

    @geg6:

    I see no difference between Islam and Christianity whatsoever.

    It’s the headgear, and the amazingly shitty attitude that Muslim men have toward women. I mean, as near as I can tell it is frank bullying at best. And I come to this conclusion without any prejudice, that’s just based on simple observation.

  221. 221
    patrick says:

    “Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.”

    That idea should be made clear to congress when making laws and courts when they enforce them. Aliens, whether the be alleged terrorists or someone looking for work, should not be detained or treated differently on basic rights issues than any American. This country was founded on the idea of basic human rights and the constitution attempts to encode them but cannot reject or invalidate them for classes of people not considered citizens.

  222. 222
    TenguPhule says:

    Bombing runs are usually called in by units on the ground that have identified insurgent safe houses or weapons stockpiles or meeting areas. The goal isn’t to just pound sand and kill people.

    Unfortunately the military isn’t follow its own rules there.

    That’s the problem.

  223. 223
    Zifnab says:

    @TenguPhule: Yeah. The difference between whether the Palestinians “did” and “did not” break the latest cease fire.

    Which is the difference between whether or not Israelis can justify allowing in another line of tanks to carve up more Palestinian territory.

  224. 224
    aimai says:

    GrendelKhan at 1something or other:

    “If your hebetude…?”

    Hebe, Hebe? Who the hell may she be?

    Uh, is that standing in for “youth” for for “jewishness”? Inquiring minds want to know.

    aimai

  225. 225
    TenguPhule says:

    and the amazingly shitty attitude that Muslim men have toward women

    I’m afraid you’re in for a nasty shock from Catholicism and Mormonism.

  226. 226
    Zifnab says:

    @TenguPhule: Then that’s a military problem, and one Obama can’t easily fix inside four months.

  227. 227
    gnomedad says:

    I assume Obama is an alpha male with a big ego (and I mean that in a nice way) because it seems to take that to do what you need to do to get elected to national office. But I think Obama gratifies his ego by actually accomplishing things rather than simply seeking power. I don’t think he’s a saint but I do think he’s a genius.

    There are lots of things Obama has the power to do right now at the expense of a stable long-term consensus. Half the US electorate voted for W just 4 years ago, and the Bush Cheney misadministration has had 8 years to poison our relationship with the rest of the world. As many keep saying here, Obama is playing the long game.

  228. 228
    anonevent says:

    @Aaron: Wasn’t Israel’s problem with Obama was that he wouldn’t sit with them in private and say what they wanted to hear?

  229. 229

    @grendelkhan:

    Were you cool with these things when Bush did them? If not, why are you okay with them when Obama’s name is on the letterhead?

    Hey, if you want to be associated with a better troll than NoIQ, then you will have to do better work. Don’t yell at the messenger, okay?

    As for your question, I am anti-war. Always have been going back to high school which was a long fucking time ago.

    I wasn’t cool with bombing civilians in any war that involved bombing civilians, including WWII. I consider bombing civlians to be mechanized terrorism, period, dot.

    And that includes when the precious and self-declared god-empowered state of Israel does it. Or when somebody does it to them. Etc.

    A presidential term is four years. I will tell you how Obama fared in the context of war after four years. Until then, it’s a work in progress, and I am willing to wait. I believe that impatience and demagoguery and foolish rhetoric are the real causes of unnecessary conflict, and that is true whether it comes from the right, as it generally does, or the left, which it sometimes does.

    Back to you.

  230. 230
    TenguPhule says:

    The difference between whether the Palestinians “did” and “did not” break the latest cease fire.

    They’ve got two governments, multiple associated gangs used as deniable cut-outs and a whole boatload of friendly foreign Arabs from neighboring countries all determined to come out on top.

    “Did or did not” isn’t the question. It’s “which one of you did it?”

  231. 231
    Little Dreamer says:

    Yeah, apparently stopping the Afghanistan conflict should be as easy as snapping one’s fingers and saying “that’s done”.

    Unrealistic expectations. grendelkhan isn’t sincere about stopping any conflicts, he’s just thinking he found a successful way to harsh on Obama.

    I’d like to see grendelkhan walk the tightrope Obama is walking and figure his way to a successful outcome, in another universe.

  232. 232
    TenguPhule says:

    Then that’s a military problem, and one Obama can’t easily fix inside four months.

    But rightly or wrongly, he takes the hit for it.

    Thanks to Bushwanker emphasizing the whole “Commander in Chief” thing and personally interfering with military ops, everything the military does gets attributed to the man on the top.

  233. 233
    TenguPhule says:

    Yeah, apparently stopping the Afghanistan conflict should be as easy as snapping one’s fingers and saying “that’s done”.

    Getting them out is going to be harder then getting them in.

    We know it. We don’t like it. Choosing the least bad option from a menu of shit always sucks.

  234. 234
    Irony Abounds says:

    Why is it that the perfect always seems to be the sworn enemy of the good? There is not perfect solution to the Palestine issue, no magic wand that can be waived, no one speech that can be given. It was a very good speech and people should applaud the effort.

    Likewise, it would be great if Obama could just wave his hand and deal with the gay issues in an immediate way. Instead he deals with reality and still gets bashed. I wonder how gays can not see the enormous progress that has been made over the past few years and realize that the only thing that can stop that progress is an “Operation Market Garden” like attempt to get the whole enchilada in one fell swoop that backfires.

  235. 235

    @TenguPhule:

    Choosing the least bad option from a menu of shit always sucks.

    Great, now you are making fun of my job.

  236. 236
    binzinerator says:

    @kay:

    This is one of our former top diplomats, remember. Good God. She rejects diplomacy out of hand, on …..moral grounds?

    This is pretty effin’ amazing, ain’t it?

    Bushie diplomat = hostile to diplomacy.

    “Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!” — Bizzarro World Code

    The Bushies really lived it didn’t they?

    I wonder if there’s a Bizzarro Bushie (or OMG a Bizzarro Cheney) on Bizzarro World? A guy who’s competent, truthful, honest, empathetic, intellectually curious, energetic, secure, proud to accept responsibility for his own actions, and is scrupulous about the rule of law, knowledgeable about history, government, the Constitution, and strives to act in the interests of the nation and for all Americans.

    Imagine a government riddled with Bizzarro Bushies. Wow.

    It’s an impossibility of course, as Utopia always is.

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    @geg6: Look, I’m aware that there are political realities and such. These are not my problem. I’m not asking for, as you put it, “instant gratification”; I’m looking for some indication that at some definable point, these things will be addressed. All I see here is a willingness to give the man the benefit of the doubt for “a year or two”, which I have a sneaking suspicion will become more than that as time rolls forth without bringing any real progress.

    @SrirachaHotSauce: Your accusations are incorrect, but difficult to disprove. Feel free to review a partial comment history from me and compare it to one from myiq2xu.

    Or you could just continue to fling unfounded accusations like a cholera-stricken monkey.

    @Little Dreamer: I don’t think that my name is particularly recognizable (if it was, more people would spell it right); I think that you’d have noticed the early comment I linked to above.

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    TenguPhule says:

    Great, now you are making fun of my job.

    Tastetester for Fast Food drivethroughs?

    Oh man I’m sorry.

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    @grendelkhan:

    LOL. You actually went out and mashed up a comparison?

    God, I am so happy, I could just shit. I have done good work today.

    Truly, your work here sucks, so like I said, if you want to be recognized for better work, you are going to have to do better work.

    Now, how come you ignored my answer to your question about war and bombing, which supposedly is your big issue here? Is it because I am making your case better than you are? Or, what?

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    @TenguPhule:

    Tastetester for Fast Food drivethroughs?

    Oh fine. Now you are making fun of my dream job.

    (If you think I am kidding, ask Little Dreamer).

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    anonevent wrote regarding Obama’s accomplishments:

    1. He’s told Congress to get him something on health care by the end of the year. I’m sure he could get something that says “We care about health care” from Congress that would be totally useless, or he can fight for something useful but that will take time. — And if nothing changes we can blame it on Congress. But that doesn’t count as an accomplishment. And Obama’s point people on this aren’t terribly pointy. How does the President allow the debate to go on without commenting on the lack of any structural changes?

    2. He got credit card reform in. — Which by any real yardstick is mediocre at best. Usury is still in in Washington, D.C.

    3. He asked for money to close down Guantanamo, and got told by Congress to stick it. — Blame it on Congress, again. Don’t we have 59 Democrats in the Senate? Why is a President with majorities in both houses so ineffective?

    4. He navigated two car companies into bankruptcy rather than insolvency. — When the next generation of Chevys are built in Mexico City are we going to celebrate?

    5. He’s appointed a supreme court nominee. — whose rulings are consistently pro-corporation. I guess the revolution starts in his second term.

    6. He’s told Israel it’s time to stop expanding settlements, and drove Bibi nuts because he means what he says. — I’m taking bets. What day does Israel take the boot off the Palestinians’ collective neck? Does the U.S. cut off foreign aid? Does the U.S. push the UN for peacekeepers between Israel and the Palestinians?

    7. He’s driven the Republicans insane. — I can’t even give Obama credit for that. The Republicans were already insane.

    But I like his speeches.

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    TenguPhule says:

    Imagine a government riddled with Bizzarro Bushies.

    They’d all look like Obama.

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    Little Dreamer says:

    @grendelkhan:

    Get it through your thick head, we don’t want Bush’s wars to go on any longer than YOU do, but we realize that it takes a bit of care and planning to figure out HOW to get out of these wars. One doesn’t just decide to stop them and go home. Would you propose that we leave a vacuum of power wherever we retreat from?

  244. 244
    Brachiator says:

    @aimai:

    I saw the speech, and read it. Its classic Obama—direct, historically aware, polite. The comment way, way, upthread that Obama is appealing to the future leaders of the countries we deal with is right on the money. Every minute and every speech he is attempting to demonstrate to the not yet lost generation that peaceful, diplomatic, negotiations are ultimately going to get them where they want to go. Not because it leads them to be compliant and submissive to their despotic leadership but because it enables them to gandhi the motherfuckers to death.

    Great points. Obama’s speech in Cairo reminds me of his speech on race. He said what needed to be said with an honesty not often seen in a political leader making a frankly political speech. And he acknowledges various sides of the issue, and treats respectfully the positions that different people hold, without yielding ground as to what he thinks is right.

    And most infuriating of all, for some, he does not simplistically insist that he will make everything right on his own, but challenges people to participate in finding workable solutions to intractable problems.

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    Little Dreamer says:

    @SrirachaHotSauce:

    TenguPhule, he speaks the truth. ;)

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    bago says:

    @SrirachaHotSauce: Hey, that’s what hot sauce is for.

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    @Brachiator:

    Shh. You are going to make grendel cry.

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    geg6 says:

    @SrirachaHotSauce:

    Well, I still fail to see any difference. Most Christians, especially the men who run Christianity, have the same amazingly shitty attitude toward women. They both, equally, want us to do nothing but stay at home in the kitchen/harem, barefoot and pregnant. So one misogynist religion goes just too far by asking women to wear veils? Sorry. Tomato/tomahto, IMHO.

  250. 250
    John Cole says:

    Since I moved to this new platform, there have been over 300,000 comments on this website. I say that as a point of reference, so that you can fully appreciate what I am about to tell you.

    The last several hundred comments on this thread, which I have now deleted (something I have never done before), were some of the stupidest shit I have ever seen on the internet, let alone this website. And this is a website that has included discussions of me falling while naked in the shower after having mopped myself into a corner, endless discussions of Hola Fruta and other frozen treats, and even threads about what gives Laura W. indigestion. Think about that.

    Some of you need some quiet time with some warm milk and a binky. Some of you need a slight understanding of history and a complete tutorial on what exactly constitutes nonviolent protest. Others of you need professional help and probably lithium. This thread is now dead, you are not invited to continue this idiotic discussion in any other thread, I am locking the comments to this particular post, and I will leave you with this quote from Billy Madison:

    “Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

    Gandhi wept.

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