Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Quotable Words of Wisdom

A Muslim world that can take to the streets, as far away as Jakarta, in protest against a vulgar film depiction of the Prophet Muhammad—yet barely call up a crowd on behalf of a Syrian population that has endured unspeakable hell at the hands of the dictator Bashar al-Assad—is in need of self-criticism and repair. We do these societies no favor if we leave them to the illusion that they can pass through the gates of the modern world carrying those ruinous ideas.

Yet the word in Washington is that we must pull back from those troubled Arab and Muslim lands. The grand expectations that Mr. Obama had for Afghanistan have largely been forgotten. The Taliban are content to wait us out, secure in the knowledge that, come 2014, we and our allies will have quit the place. And neighboring Pakistan, a nuclear-armed country with 170 million people, is written off as a hotbed of extremism...
Our foreign policy has been altered, as never before, to fit one man's electoral needs. We hear from the presidential handlers only what they want us to believe about the temper of distant lands. It was only yesterday that our leader, we are told, had solved the riddle of our position in the world. 
Give him your warrant, the palace guard intone, at least until the next election...

Those were of Fouad Ajami.

...accepting enemy propaganda makes us look weak and shortsighted. Any appreciation of the pretexts for such atrocities makes their perpetrators bolder and more aggressive. Unfortunately, these lessons have not been learned. America's ambassador to Libya is dead, U.S. embassies in Egypt and other Muslim countries are under siege, the American flag is being burned, and the Obama administration and media have blamed a video clip instead of denouncing the perpetrators.
The lack of realism is stunning. "We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others," said President Barack Obama—not about the murder of Americans or the persecution of Christians and Jews in Muslim countries, but about an amateur film on YouTube.


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