Friday, January 25, 2008

Reflections on Holocaust

Reflections on Holocaust
Mike Ghouse, January 15, 2008

The United Nations has designated January 27th as the Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this day, in behalf of the Foundation for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress, I request us to reflect upon the human sufferings inflicted by humans through out the world.

We may start out by scribbling a title for each one of the small and large injustice we have witnessed or learned through news. What did we do with that information and how did we feel about ourselves? The conflicts emanating from injustices are rife in Congo, Darfur, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Pakistan and other places. Please take a moment to reflect upon the viciousness of the humans, the vulgarity of the few that has engulfed the innocent bystanders. We have to work towards the idea of “saving a life is like saving the whole humanity,” says God in Torah and Qur’aan. You and I exist because someone believed in it before us.

Six Million Jews were brutally murdered simply because of their faith. Imagine if we were in that situation, ruthlessly packed in a rail car along with 100 other humans to be thrown in gas chambers. The helplessness and the humiliation should have been palpable, but the world stood by silently finding bliss in self designed ignorance. If it happens to us we feel like tearing the world apart.

The world reacted belatedly, thank God; the evil plan of the Nazis did not materialize. We said, never again and we keep falling short on our own promise. It is time to reflect if our hearts can feel the pain and if our minds can do something about it. We should visit the holocaust museum in our area; it will upload humanity into us, it is good to be a human again and again.

Our hearts and minds are endowed with a sense of justice, and whenever we see that balance disturbed, we react to it with anger, helplessness and distress. Religion and common sense have taught us to regain that balance by taking an action, least of which is to speak up. Our minds work mysteriously, the act of seeking balance and justice relieves us from the anguish and gives us a sense purpose in life that we stand for something.

If my actions and words aggravate a conflict, then I have become a contributor toward chaos, on the other hand if my words and actions mitigate the conflict, I become a peace maker. Peace has got to be unconditional without any score keeping, “do your duty without the greed of results”, says the Bhagvad Gita.

No one is an island; we have to develop an open mind and an open heart towards each other in the process of healing and repairing the world. We should short change our humanness by thinking that we were not responsible for it.

We should honor our divine instructions to demur and honor the suffering of others. It will be a day for all of us to reflect upon and promise ourselves "never again" and hope each one of us makes a commitment to oneself to speak out against any injustice.

If we can learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of the 7 billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. The healing and recovery for Humanity can only occur when we each examine our own hearts, our own cultures and our own faith traditions to discern where seeds of prejudice, cruelty and even genocide remain hidden.

A Good deed is creating peace, security and balance for all creation. The wisdom of Bible is crystal clear “do unto others as you would want others to do to you”. Indeed, that is essence of all religions.

This is an invitation to people of all backgrounds to reflect upon the tragedies humans have endured, and bring about a change, however little we can. The least we can do is to speak up whenever we see injustice or words and actions that promote chaos.

In 2006, the United Nations proclaimed January 27th as a Holocaust remembrance day to commemorate the worst atrocity the world had ever witnessed. In support of that, the Foundation for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress organized an event on Thursday, January 26, 2006 to accommodate the Jewish Sabbath as January 27 fell on a Friday in 2006. For more information please visit:

I request you to pray and mourn for the massacres and deaths of all human beings. I beg you to forgive me if I have missed a tragedy that you are familiar with. I admire you if you could send me a 100 word description or a link from a news paper to be included in the comments.

If you felt sorrow for some and not for the others, please check out your peace meter for your bias and prejudices against groups, nations, ethnicities, religions, cultures or races. Higher the prejudice lesser the peace and vice versa.

You can increase your peace and happiness by repenting in your solitude for your biases and see the meter start rising, and when you actually do not feel any bias toward any human, see the mercury miracles. Finally if you can volunteer one hour a week for people you don't know or you did not like in the past, you can be the happiest person on the earth. God guarantees that and I will underwrite it. Ha! Try it, it is effortless and won't cost you a dime but gain you happiness.

May God help us become prejudice free,

May God give us the guts to speak up when we see wrongs,

May God remove arrogance from us and

May God bless us with the humanness to feel the pain and sorrow of others.

Please pray (wish it, if you are an atheist) and invoke the goodness in each one of us.

Pictures from top to bottom: Bosnia, Congo, Darfur, Gaza, Gujarat, Haditha, Kashmiri Pandits, Rafah, Rwanda, Sri Lanka ... Katrina, Tsunami, earthquakes, 9/11 and many other tragedies...

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Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, politics, Islam, Religion, Terrorism, India and civic issues. His comments, news analysis, opinions and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website He can be reached at or (214) 325-1916

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Our Mission is to encourage individuals to develop an open mind and an open heart toward their follow beings. If we can learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of the 7 billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. We believe that knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance and appreciation of a different point of view.

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Muslim response to Wilders

Muslim response to Wilders on Qur'aan

Using Prophet Muhammad’s model for peace.
Mike Ghouse, January 20, 2008
Commentary by Imam Zia-ul-Haq Shaikh

“Geert Wilders, Dutch conservative lawmaker, has made a ten-minute film exposing the horrific passages of the Koran. Per AP Wilders refers to the selected verses as “fascist.’”
First of all, as a Muslim, I want to thank Geert Wilders for making this documentary, the verses, as he has quoted certainly sound fascist. These verses have not only been misquoted for millennia, but were mis-translated with the intent of maligning Islam in the middle ages to protect the European kings and their kingdoms. My gratitude to Wilders comes from the fact that he is putting it on the spot light, so we have an opportunity to discuss and clarify them, hopefully for ever. Otherwise a whole lot of people would have believed in the wrong thing. Thank you my friend.
Prophet Muhammad was pelted with stones by a bunch of miscreants, he was bleeding, and his associates and angel Gabriel were requesting him to give permission to go get the bad boys, the Prophet said no, instead he asked them to pray with him that God gave goodwill and a good sense to the misled miscreants.
Following the model of Prophet of forgiveness and the belief that there is good in every human soul, we have to relentlessly stoke the goodness in humans. I ask fellow humans in general and fellow Muslims in particular to pray for Geert Wilders’ safety and well being.

Mr. Wilders, I have personally prayed for your safety and well being and request our Imams to do the same across the world. The report expressed that "You do not fear being slain, claiming 24-hour protection." Again, I admire you for your courage and conviction and request you to consider another aspect of the equation that nearly 1.5 billion Muslims believe.

Note to the Muslim Leadership:

As Muslims leaders, we have a responsibility to prevent mis-haps. To be a Muslim is to be a peace maker; one who constantly seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for co-existence and world peace - God wants his creation to be in peace and harmony, and that is the chief purpose of religion. Islam is indeed peace.

Geert Wilder's is going to show a 10 minute documentary on the 25th - the hell may freeze over and all of us will be scrambling to defend.... if our Imams can address this in the Friday Sermons, and urge Muslims to follow the model Prophet has created, we can avoid a big mishap and turn this upcoming nightmare into a peace building effort. I request all Imams to call their counterparts around the globe to win this war with love and kindness and it is an opportunity God has provided to become leaders. If you like, please circulate.

A Prelude to Qur'aan Translations:

When the European Kings were threatened by the invading Arab armies in early part of the millennia, to safeguard and protect their Kingdoms, they gave birth to the idea of Islamophobia and their strategy was:

1. To label the Invading Kings as Muslim, as that was one of the ways to get their subjects to fight.
2. To mis-translate the Qur'aan to create a permanent wedge between the two communities
3. To paint the religion negatively and as a Mohammedan cult.
4. To reinforce this strategy they roped in the Pope to issue a fatwa approving crusades.

Their Blueprint worked well for them and the Arab Kings were pushed back and defeated. It is important to note that a majority of the kings were thieves and robbers, whose only purpose in life was to invade and annex the neighboring territories, loot their wealth, destroy their cultures and come back home stronger and erect a statue of themselves as Heroes. Very few of them wanted to spread their faith for the purpose of spreading piety and goodwill. Their goal was to control the resources and the people; in the process they destroyed civilizations, no different than today's Neocons.

The Neocons of middle ages were exceptionally successful in steering public opinion against Islam via the translations. The foundation they laid at that time has become the basis for building baseless theories against Islam. The kings happened to be Muslims that they were against, instead their propaganda turned against all Muslims and Islam.

Dahlia Sabry is researching on the effects of this work and reports that " it was found out that translating the meanings of the holy Qur'aan offered an opportunity to distort and misinterpret its meanings. This played a crucial role in framing a negative and an inaccurate image of Islam. The problem can be ascribed mostly to translations by non-Muslims, however, also partially to translations by Muslims."

Lex Mahumet pseudoprophete (English: "Law of Mahomet the pseudo-prophet") was the first translation of the Qur'aan into Latin by Robert of Ketton in 1142. Peter the Venerable persuaded Robert to join a team he was creating to translate Arabic works into Latin in hopes of aiding the religious conversion of Muslims to Christianity. It was the standard translation for Europeans from its release until the 18th century. This translation is loaded with inaccuracies.

Another Latin translation by Ludovicus Marracci was published in 1698. It was supplemented with quotes from Qur'an commentaries "carefully juxtaposed and sufficiently garbled so as to portray Islam in the worst possible light" (Colin Turner,1997 p. xii). The title of the introductory volume of such translation was A Refutation of the Qur'an. Such translations formed the foundation for a number of subsequent translations into English, French, Italian, German, etc. The first English translation was that of Alexander Ross published in 1649. In his introduction, Ross says "I thought good to bring it to their colours, that so viewing thine enemies in their full body, thou must the better prepare to encounter … his Alcoran" (p. A3).

Similarly, H. Reckendorf (1857) says in his Hebrew translation of the Qur'an, "I can now stop writing and ask God's pardon for the sin I committed when I profaned our sacred language and transferred to it the talk of lies and falsehood" (as cited in Abdul Aal, January 29, 2006, p. 78).In 1734, George Sale’s translation came out based on Marracci’s earlier notorious work. In 1861, J. M. Rodwell’s work provided a further example of a writer "gunning for Islam" (Turner, 1997, p. xii).

That was the story of Neocons who shamelessly wore the Christian label, similar inaccurate and brazen translations were made by Muslims as well. The Noble Qur'an, also informally known as the Hilali-Khan translation was published in early 1900's and is despicable.

Religions emerged to allay individual fears and bring a balance in one's life and peace for the society. It is obvious that the Kings of the past have raped the religion to their own advantage and we must not give them the religious label. Their purpose was simply expansion, exertion and oppression and religion did not figure in the conquests, they were far from it.

It is time for us to strip the wrongs people have ascribed to religion, every religion, and get to know the truth. I am amazed neither the Universities, nor the responsible Governments have under taken research project to dismantle the false castles of hate from the past. It is time now, and we have begun this process.

Further Geert Wilders adds "When taking the Koran seriously as divine revelation, a superficial review of the Koran’s extremist verses is not what meshes with democracies."
All the fourteen verses quoted below have one theme in common "Punishment" for those who do not follow the rules. Mr. Geert may understand this better, if he were to look at it from an universal perspective and not as Islam V. Christianity issue.

One can find ‘punitive’ verses in every holy book. However, the critical element overlooked is the most powerful and dominant aspect of the creator; Qur'aan 1:1 "In the name of God, The Most Gracious, The Dispenser of Grace." This verse is repeated 113 times in Qur’aan, more than any other verse.

For societies to function on equilibrium there must be law and order. When there is justice in a society, peace is a natural outcome. The Criminal and Civil laws are designed to bring net-peace to the society. For every violation of a rule, punishment is determined. If there were no punishment, then crimes go un-checked creating chaos in the society.

From a common man’s perspective, the word ‘painful doom’ appears to be cruelty coming from a kind God. Well, then what should hold any one from murdering and butchering the other. If you are a good guy who holds the temptations to steal someone else's hard earned goods, and the bad guys steal with no consequences to it, then every one may resort to stealing. What will happen to a society when every one is stealing, lying or cheating? No one would trust and everyone is frightened of the other.Imagine the nightmare in America, if we were to remove the punishment aspect from the United States Constitution, civil and criminal laws.

Religions emerged to allay individual fears and bring a balance in one's life and peace for the society. It is time for us to strip the wrongs people have ascribed to religion, indeed every religion, and find the truth for ourselves. I cannot believe that the Universities and responsible Governments have not undertaken the research to dismantle the false castles of hate from the past.

We have undertaken the work to fix 60 misrepresented verses, hopefully to mitigate the conflicts and nurture goodwill for co-existence, as citizens of the world, you and I, every one included, have the responsibility to watch for the trouble makers whose business is manufacturing enemies and cashing in on fears of ordinary people.

If you wish to read both the 14 misquoted verses and the corrected ones with commentary by Imam Zia-ul-Haq Shaikh and Mike Ghouse - Please click here

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bush-Lite McCain

John McCain, the Bush-Lite Neocon

Our Senator, John McCain wants to Bomb, Bomb and Bomb other nations and entangle our Armed forces for another 100 years. He bases that on false information, just as he did with the Iraq invasion. Yet there is no apologies.

Our lies and our presence in Iraq has caused this much horror;

Number of Iraqis Slaughtered In U.S. War on Iraq 1,168,058

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed in U.S. War and Occupation 3,926

Cost of U.S. War and Occupation of Iraq $486,769,250,980

2 Million Iraqis have been chased out to seek a safe heaven

Half a Million Women are out on the streets with no jobs and no one to support and they may resort to flesh trade bringing immorality and carrying viruses.

John McCain has repeatedly said this for the last two weeks. “I’ll get Osama bin Laden. I’ll get him even if I have to follow him to the gates of hell” and he has been repeating this from the New Hampshire Primaries, all the way to Nevada and now South Carolina.

Senator McCain, did you not betray America?
Senator, then why did you not get Osama?
Why do you have to wait to be elected to do that?
Isn’t that a betrayal to your party and to your President?
Isn’t that a betrayal to our nation?

Senator, what you and your Neocon buddies do not understand is the simple formula of peace: We cannot have peace when we chaos surrounds us. Your irresponsible statements cause much resentment and hatred around the globe. I guess you don't give a damn, if that hatred you sow, becomes the reason to mistreat our soldiers, like the tragic mis-treatment you suffered. I hope you learn a lesson to nurture Geneva conventions. You do not have the courtesy to apologize your bombing statements, even after you found out it was another manufacture of our administration to create Chaos. Do we need you to be another Bush-Lite?

Rewarding this rhetoric is robbing America with another Trillion dollars; while 45 Million of Americans go without health care costing billions of dollars in loss of productivity, while those who have served in wars come home depressed and not live a full life besides killing another million of other humans and thousands of our own.

John McCain is good for defense industry investors and oil companies and he is no good for America. Think about the candidates who want to save lives, save the nation from deficit and spend their energy and put our name for peace making. It is cheaper and more productive to work for peace than Bomb, Bomb and Bomb.

Say no to any candidate who wants to ruin our country with recklessness.


In a message dated 1/19/2008 10:09:21 A.M. writes:

McCain and his admiral Father helped to cover-up the treacherous Israeli attack on the USS Liberty as well:


The Hundred-Year War / McCain wants us in Iraq permanently

### writes:

McCain as a veteran of the Viet Nam War should indeed know better - God's curse and vengeance will be on America IF McCain - or Hillary or Rudy - is elected President.

Kristol - being the Zionist Jew supporter of Israel and TRAITOR to the US - does indeed see the destruction of Iraq as 'victory' for Israel - and it is!

A war fought against a country's population can NOT be won.

We did NOT 'win' the Viet Nam War - and - we lost our soul in the process.

As a veteran of the Viet Nam War myself - I served aboard the USS Oriskany in 1966, the year before McCain was shot down flying off the Mighty O - I agree with Lee and Sherman:

"War is all HELL" - Sherman

"It is good that war is so terrible less we grow too fond of it" - Lee

McCain indeed should know better!


So This Is Victory, Mr. Kristol?
By Joe Conason

This article appears in the January 21, 2008, edition of The New York Observer.
As America marks the first anniversary of the troop escalation in Iraq, at least one thing has become clear. Although the “surge” is failing as policy, it seems to be succeeding as propaganda. Even as George W. Bush continues to bump and scrape along the bottom of public approval, significantly more people now believe that we are “winning” the war.

What winning really means and whether that vague impression can be sustained are questions that the war’s proponents would prefer not to answer for the moment. Their objective during this election year is simply to reduce public pressure for withdrawal, which is still the choice of an overwhelming majority of voters.

So long as the surge appears to be working, political space is created for the Republican candidates who support the war—especially Senator John McCain, the hawk’s hawk, who said recently that he, might keep U.S. soldiers in Iraq for “a hundred years.” Although that remark was not well received in the Arab world, they may have taken comfort in the fact that no matter how determined the Arizona senator is to carry out that threat, he is unlikely to do so since he is already over 70 years old.

But the revival of Mr. McCain’s moribund candidacy over the past few weeks would have been impossible without the media’s endorsement of “progress” in Iraq. Indeed, war propaganda itself has surged lately on the strength of casualty statistics from December 2007. Consider the work of William Kristol, the indefatigable publicist who played an important role in selling the war as editor of The Weekly Standard and on the Fox News Channel. From his new perch on The New York Times’ Op-Ed page—which proves that being hideously wrong is no obstacle to scaling the heights of American punditry—he proclaims that “we have been able to turn around the situation in Iraq” and achieved “real success.”

According to Mr. Kristol, who once mocked concerns about religious strife in Iraq as “pop sociology,” the drop in violence last month may have marked the lowest overall number of deaths for both civilians and military forces since the war began, in March 2003. Declining casualties for a month or two means progress, which in turn means that the war must continue, and that the president’s policy is correct.

What has fallen far more sharply than the casualty statistics in Iraq is the standard for success there, as defined by neoconservatives like Mr. Kristol. In the original promotional literature produced by them and their associates, and recited by the president, this war was supposed to remake the Middle East into a showcase for democracy, with ruinous consequences for our terrorist enemies, cheaper oil for us—and all for free because the Iraqi petroleum industry would cover all the costs.

When that happy future never arrived, to put it very mildly, the war’s proponents scrambled to reduce expectations. So when the president announced the surge, he set forth a series of benchmarks for progress in Iraq that were supposed to result from our increased troop presence. The objective was not a temporary reduction of sectarian killing but real movement toward reconciliation of the contending factions, including the passage of laws on sharing oil revenues and political power among the Sunni, Shia, Kurdish and other communities. President Bush declared that the escalation would create space for the Iraqis to act on behalf of their own country.

Even those minimized objectives have yet to be met. The oil-sharing statute is stalled in the Iraqi parliament while Kurdish regional authorities make their own separate deals with foreign oil companies. The Sunni militia organizations that we have armed to fight Al Qaeda have been rejected by the Shia central government. The statute passed by the Iraqi parliament last week to reduce sanctions against former members of the Ba’ath Party, which was supposed to mollify the Sunni leadership, appears only to have alienated them further because they consider it fraudulent.

Worst of all, despite the undoubted courage and commitment of our troops, the level of violence in Iraq has increased since the New Year began. Killings of civilians by car bombs and snipers averaged more than 50 per day during the first two weeks of January, and U.S. military deaths are averaging slightly more than one per day, or nearly 50 percent higher than last month.
At that level, if American troops stayed for another 10 years, let alone a century as Mr. McCain suggests, our casualties would double. What would winning mean then?

Joe Conason is national correspondent for the New York Observer, where he writes a weekly column distributed by Creators Syndicate. He is also a columnist for, and the Director of the Nation Institute Investigative Fund. His latest book, It Can Happen Here: Authoritarian Peril in the Age of Bush was released in February 2007. His writing and reporting have appeared in many publications, including Harpers, the Guardian, The Nation, and The New Republic.
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Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, politics, Islam, Religion, Terrorism, India and civic issues. His comments, news analysis, opinions and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website He can be reached at or (214) 325-1916

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bush's Middle East Hopes

Bush's Middle East Hopes
by Daniel Pipes, Jerusalem Post, January 17, 2008

Mike Ghouse: Daniel Pipes and the Neocons (thinking in terms of extreme exclusivity, either you or I kind of idelogy) are conditioned to think that solving the problems of the world comes through military might, destruction, force and chaos. If the world leaders listen to them there will be a holocaust of Arabs and Muslims to begin with, and then others. What does not enter their minds is that you cannot have peace when you have created destruction around you. The remnants of the destruction will be hounding you for ever, neither you will be in peace nor the world around you. If they can spend their energy, time and resources instead to build goodwill and working for peace, the results would be far greater at a far less cost and without messing up one's mind for being chaotic.


George W. Bush's policies toward the Middle East and Islam will loom large when historians judge his presidency. On the occasion of his concluding his 8-day, 6-country trip to the Middle East and entering his final year in office, I offer some provisional assessments.

His hallmark has been a readiness to break with long-established bipartisan positions and adopt stunningly new policies, and by late 2005 he had laid out his novel approach in four major areas.
Radical Islam: Prior to 9/11, American authorities viewed Islamist violence as a narrow criminal problem. Calling for a "war against terror" in September 2001, Bush broadened the conflict. Specifying the precise force behind terrorism peaked in October 2005, when he termed it "Islamic radicalism," "militant Jihadism," and "Islamo-fascism."

Pre-emptive war: Deterrence had long been the policy of choice against the Soviet Union and other threats, but Bush added a second policy in June 2002, pre-emption. U.S. security, he said, "will require all Americans to be forward-looking and resolute, to be ready for preemptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and to defend our lives." Nine months later, this new doctrine served as his basis to invade Iraq and eliminate Saddam Hussein before the latter could develop nuclear weapons.

Arab-Israeli conflict: Bush avoided the old-style and counterproductive "peace process" diplomacy and tried a new approach in June 2003 by establishing the goal of "two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side, in peace and security." In addition, he outlined his final-status vision, specified a timetable, and even attempted to sideline a recalcitrant leader (Yasir Arafat) or prop up a forthcoming one (Ehud Olmert).

Democracy: Deriding "Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East" as a policy that "did nothing to make us safe," Bush announced in November 2003 "a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East," by which he meant pushing regimes to open up to citizen participation.

So much for vision; how about implementation? At the end of his first term, I found that the Bush policies, other than the Arab-Israeli one, stood "a good chance of working." No longer. Today, I perceive failure in all four areas.

George W. Bush and Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, hand in hand.

Bush's once-improved understanding of radical Islam has been reversed, to the point that he uses lengthy and inelegant euphemisms to avoid referring to the problem by name, relying on formulations like "a group of extremists who seek to use religion as a path to power and a means of domination."

Pre-emptive war requires convincing observers that the pre-emption was indeed justified, something the Bush administration failed to do. Only half the American population and many fewer in the Middle East accept the need for invading Iraq, creating domestic divisions and external hostility greater than at any time since the Vietnam War. Among the costs: greater difficulty to take pre-emptive action against the Iranian nuclear program.

Bush's vision of resolving one century of Arab-Israeli conflict by anointing Mahmoud Abbas as leader of a Palestinian state is illusory. A sovereign "Palestine" alongside Israel would drain the anti-Zionist hatred and close down the irredentist war against Israel? No, the mischievous goal of creating "Palestine" will inspire more fervor to eliminate the Jewish state, especially if accompanied by a Palestinian "right of return."

Finally, encouraging democracy is clearly a worthy goal, but when the Middle East's dominant popular force is totalitarian Islam, is it such a great idea to rush head-long ahead? Yet rushing ahead characterized Washington's initial approach – until the policy's damage to U.S. interests became too apparent to ignore, causing it largely to be abandoned.

At a time when George W. Bush arouses such intense vituperation among his critics, someone who wishes him well, like myself, criticizes reluctantly. But criticize one must; to pretend all is well, or to remain loyal to the person despite his record, does no one a favor. A frank recognition of shortcomings must precede their repair.

I respect Bush's benign motivation and good intentions while mourning his having squandered a record-breaking 90 percent job-approval rating following 9/11 and his bequeathing to the next president a polarized electorate, a military reluctant to use force against Iran, Hamas ruling Gaza, an Iraqi disaster-in-waiting, radical Islam on the ascendant, and unprecedented levels of global anti-Americanism.

Conservatives have much work ahead to reconstruct their Middle East policy.

Highlights of Bush's Trip to the Mideast
By The Associated Press – Jan 8, 2008

Highlights of President Bush's upcoming trip to the Middle East, according to the planned schedule as outlined by the White House:
Jan. 9:
_Arrives in Israel. Meets with Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert, and president, Shimon Peres.
Jan. 10
_Visits the West Bank to meet with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and prime minister, Salam Fayyad, at their headquarters in Ramallah.
Jan. 11
_In Israel to meet with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, now a Middle East peace envoy. Lays a wreath at the Israel's official Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem. Travels to Kuwait to meet with the emir, Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah.
Jan. 12
_In Kuwait to meet with U.S. troops at Camp Arifjan and receive updates on the situation in Iraq from the top U.S. commander, Gen. David Petraeus, and the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker. He also meets with Kuwaiti women. Travels to Bahrain to meet with King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.
Jan. 13
_Visits the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain. Travels to the United Arab Emirates to meet with the president, Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, and gives a speech in Abu Dhabi on freedom in the region.
Jan. 14
_Visits Dubai and then travels to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Abdullah.
Jan. 15
_In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for meetings.
Jan. 16
_In Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, to meet with President Hosni Mubarak before returning to Washington.

Bush on September 2001
Statement by the President in His Address to the Nation

View the President's Remarks View the President's Remarks Listen to the President's Remarks
8:30 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes, or in their offices; secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers; moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror.

The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed; our country is strong.

A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.
America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.

Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature. And we responded with the best of America -- with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.

Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government's emergency response plans. Our military is powerful, and it's prepared. Our emergency teams are working in New York City and Washington, D.C. to help with local rescue efforts.

Our first priority is to get help to those who have been injured, and to take every precaution to protect our citizens at home and around the world from further attacks.

The functions of our government continue without interruption. Federal agencies in Washington which had to be evacuated today are reopening for essential personnel tonight, and will be open for business tomorrow. Our financial institutions remain strong, and the American economy will be open for business, as well.

The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I've directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.

I appreciate so very much the members of Congress who have joined me in strongly condemning these attacks. And on behalf of the American people, I thank the many world leaders who have called to offer their condolences and assistance.

America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world, and we stand together to win the war against terrorism. Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me."

This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day. Yet, we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.
Thank you. Good night, and God bless America.


October 2002

President Bush Delivers Graduation Speech at West Point
United States Military Academy
West Point, New York

Video (Real)

9:13 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, General Lennox. Mr. Secretary, Governor Pataki, members of the United States Congress, Academy staff and faculty, distinguished guests, proud family members, and graduates: I want to thank you for your welcome. Laura and I are especially honored to visit this great institution in your bicentennial year.

In every corner of America, the words "West Point" command immediate respect. This place where the Hudson River bends is more than a fine institution of learning. The United States Military Academy is the guardian of values that have shaped the soldiers who have shaped the history of the world.

A few of you have followed in the path of the perfect West Point graduate, Robert E. Lee, who never received a single demerit in four years. Some of you followed in the path of the imperfect graduate, Ulysses S. Grant, who had his fair share of demerits, and said the happiest day of his life was "the day I left West Point." (Laughter.) During my college years I guess you could say I was -- (laughter.) During my college years I guess you could say I was a Grant man. (Laughter.)

You walk in the tradition of Eisenhower and MacArthur, Patton and Bradley - the commanders who saved a civilization. And you walk in the tradition of second lieutenants who did the same, by fighting and dying on distant battlefields.

Graduates of this academy have brought creativity and courage to every field of endeavor. West Point produced the chief engineer of the Panama Canal, the mind behind the Manhattan Project, the first American to walk in space. This fine institution gave us the man they say invented baseball, and other young men over the years who perfected the game of football.

You know this, but many in America don't -- George C. Marshall, a VMI graduate, is said to have given this order: "I want an officer for a secret and dangerous mission. I want a West Point football player." (Applause.)

As you leave here today, I know there's one thing you'll never miss about this place: Being a plebe. (Applause.) But even a plebe at West Point is made to feel he or she has some standing in the world. (Laughter.) I'm told that plebes, when asked whom they outrank, are required to answer this: "Sir, the Superintendent's dog -- (laughter) -- the Commandant's cat, and all the admirals in the whole damn Navy." (Applause.) I probably won't be sharing that with the Secretary of the Navy. (Laughter.)

West Point is guided by tradition, and in honor of the "Golden Children of the Corps," -- (applause) -- I will observe one of the traditions you cherish most. As the Commander-in-Chief, I hereby grant amnesty to all cadets who are on restriction for minor conduct offenses. (Applause.) Those of you in the end zone might have cheered a little early. (Laughter.) Because, you see, I'm going to let General Lennox define exactly what "minor" means. (Laughter.)

Every West Point class is commissioned to the Armed Forces. Some West Point classes are also commissioned by history, to take part in a great new calling for their country. Speaking here to the class of 1942 -- six months after Pearl Harbor -- General Marshall said, "We're determined that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on the one hand, and of overwhelming power on the other." (Applause.)

Officers graduating that year helped fulfill that mission, defeating Japan and Germany, and then reconstructing those nations as allies. West Point graduates of the 1940s saw the rise of a deadly new challenge -- the challenge of imperial communism -- and opposed it from Korea to Berlin, to Vietnam, and in the Cold War, from beginning to end. And as the sun set on their struggle, many of those West Point officers lived to see a world transformed.

History has also issued its call to your generation. In your last year, America was attacked by a ruthless and resourceful enemy. You graduate from this Academy in a time of war, taking your place in an American military that is powerful and is honorable. Our war on terror is only begun, but in Afghanistan it was begun well. (Applause.)

I am proud of the men and women who have fought on my orders. America is profoundly grateful for all who serve the cause of freedom, and for all who have given their lives in its defense. This nation respects and trusts our military, and we are confident in your victories to come. (Applause.)

This war will take many turns we cannot predict. Yet I am certain of this: Wherever we carry it, the American flag will stand not only for our power, but for freedom. (Applause.) Our nation's cause has always been larger than our nation's defense. We fight, as we always fight, for a just peace -- a peace that favors human liberty. We will defend the peace against threats from terrorists and tyrants. We will preserve the peace by building good relations among the great powers. And we will extend the peace by encouraging free and open societies on every continent.

Building this just peace is America's opportunity, and America's duty. From this day forward, it is your challenge, as well, and we will meet this challenge together. (Applause.) You will wear the uniform of a great and unique country. America has no empire to extend or utopia to establish. We wish for others only what we wish for ourselves -- safety from violence, the rewards of liberty, and the hope for a better life.

In defending the peace, we face a threat with no precedent. Enemies in the past needed great armies and great industrial capabilities to endanger the American people and our nation. The attacks of September the 11th required a few hundred thousand dollars in the hands of a few dozen evil and deluded men. All of the chaos and suffering they caused came at much less than the cost of a single tank. The dangers have not passed. This government and the American people are on watch, we are ready, because we know the terrorists have more money and more men and more plans.

The gravest danger to freedom lies at the perilous crossroads of radicalism and technology. When the spread of chemical and biological and nuclear weapons, along with ballistic missile technology -- when that occurs, even weak states and small groups could attain a catastrophic power to strike great nations. Our enemies have declared this very intention, and have been caught seeking these terrible weapons. They want the capability to blackmail us, or to harm us, or to harm our friends -- and we will oppose them with all our power. (Applause.)

For much of the last century, America's defense relied on the Cold War doctrines of deterrence and containment. In some cases, those strategies still apply. But new threats also require new thinking. Deterrence -- the promise of massive retaliation against nations -- means nothing against shadowy terrorist networks with no nation or citizens to defend. Containment is not possible when unbalanced dictators with weapons of mass destruction can deliver those weapons on missiles or secretly provide them to terrorist allies.

We cannot defend America and our friends by hoping for the best. We cannot put our faith in the word of tyrants, who solemnly sign non-proliferation treaties, and then systemically break them. If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long. (Applause.)

Homeland defense and missile defense are part of stronger security, and they're essential priorities for America. Yet the war on terror will not be won on the defensive. We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge. (Applause.) In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action. And this nation will act. (Applause.)

Our security will require the best intelligence, to reveal threats hidden in caves and growing in laboratories. Our security will require modernizing domestic agencies such as the FBI, so they're prepared to act, and act quickly, against danger. Our security will require transforming the military you will lead -- a military that must be ready to strike at a moment's notice in any dark corner of the world. And our security will require all Americans to be forward-looking and resolute, to be ready for preemptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and to defend our lives. (Applause.)

The work ahead is difficult. The choices we will face are complex. We must uncover terror cells in 60 or more countries, using every tool of finance, intelligence and law enforcement. Along with our friends and allies, we must oppose proliferation and confront regimes that sponsor terror, as each case requires. Some nations need military training to fight terror, and we'll provide it. Other nations oppose terror, but tolerate the hatred that leads to terror -- and that must change. (Applause.) We will send diplomats where they are needed, and we will send you, our soldiers, where you're needed. (Applause.)

All nations that decide for aggression and terror will pay a price. We will not leave the safety of America and the peace of the planet at the mercy of a few mad terrorists and tyrants. (Applause.) We will lift this dark threat from our country and from the world.

Because the war on terror will require resolve and patience, it will also require firm moral purpose. In this way our struggle is similar to the Cold War. Now, as then, our enemies are totalitarians, holding a creed of power with no place for human dignity. Now, as then, they seek to impose a joyless conformity, to control every life and all of life.

America confronted imperial communism in many different ways -- diplomatic, economic, and military. Yet moral clarity was essential to our victory in the Cold War. When leaders like John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan refused to gloss over the brutality of tyrants, they gave hope to prisoners and dissidents and exiles, and rallied free nations to a great cause.

Some worry that it is somehow undiplomatic or impolite to speak the language of right and wrong. I disagree. (Applause.) Different circumstances require different methods, but not different moralities. (Applause.) Moral truth is the same in every culture, in every time, and in every place. Targeting innocent civilians for murder is always and everywhere wrong. (Applause.) Brutality against women is always and everywhere wrong. (Applause.) There can be no neutrality between justice and cruelty, between the innocent and the guilty. We are in a conflict between good and evil, and America will call evil by its name. (Applause.) By confronting evil and lawless regimes, we do not create a problem, we reveal a problem. And we will lead the world in opposing it. (Applause.)

As we defend the peace, we also have an historic opportunity to preserve the peace. We have our best chance since the rise of the nation state in the 17th century to build a world where the great powers compete in peace instead of prepare for war. The history of the last century, in particular, was dominated by a series of destructive national rivalries that left battlefields and graveyards across the Earth. Germany fought France, the Axis fought the Allies, and then the East fought the West, in proxy wars and tense standoffs, against a backdrop of nuclear Armageddon.

Competition between great nations is inevitable, but armed conflict in our world is not. More and more, civilized nations find ourselves on the same side -- united by common dangers of terrorist violence and chaos. America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge -- (applause) -- thereby, making the destabilizing arms races of other eras pointless, and limiting rivalries to trade and other pursuits of peace.

Today the great powers are also increasingly united by common values, instead of divided by conflicting ideologies. The United States, Japan and our Pacific friends, and now all of Europe, share a deep commitment to human freedom, embodied in strong alliances such as NATO. And the tide of liberty is rising in many other nations.

Generations of West Point officers planned and practiced for battles with Soviet Russia. I've just returned from a new Russia, now a country reaching toward democracy, and our partner in the war against terror. (Applause.) Even in China, leaders are discovering that economic freedom is the only lasting source of national wealth. In time, they will find that social and political freedom is the only true source of national greatness. (Applause.)

When the great powers share common values, we are better able to confront serious regional conflicts together, better able to cooperate in preventing the spread of violence or economic chaos. In the past, great power rivals took sides in difficult regional problems, making divisions deeper and more complicated. Today, from the Middle East to South Asia, we are gathering broad international coalitions to increase the pressure for peace. We must build strong and great power relations when times are good; to help manage crisis when times are bad. America needs partners to preserve the peace, and we will work with every nation that shares this noble goal. (Applause.)

And finally, America stands for more than the absence of war. We have a great opportunity to extend a just peace, by replacing poverty, repression, and resentment around the world with hope of a better day. Through most of history, poverty was persistent, inescapable, and almost universal. In the last few decades, we've seen nations from Chile to South Korea build modern economies and freer societies, lifting millions of people out of despair and want. And there's no mystery to this achievement.

The 20th century ended with a single surviving model of human progress, based on non-negotiable demands of human dignity, the rule of law, limits on the power of the state, respect for women and private property and free speech and equal justice and religious tolerance. America cannot impose this vision -- yet we can support and reward governments that make the right choices for their own people. In our development aid, in our diplomatic efforts, in our international broadcasting, and in our educational assistance, the United States will promote moderation and tolerance and human rights. And we will defend the peace that makes all progress possible.

When it comes to the common rights and needs of men and women, there is no clash of civilizations. The requirements of freedom apply fully to Africa and Latin America and the entire Islamic world. The peoples of the Islamic nations want and deserve the same freedoms and opportunities as people in every nation. And their governments should listen to their hopes. (Applause.)

A truly strong nation will permit legal avenues of dissent for all groups that pursue their aspirations without violence. An advancing nation will pursue economic reform, to unleash the great entrepreneurial energy of its people. A thriving nation will respect the rights of women, because no society can prosper while denying opportunity to half its citizens. Mothers and fathers and children across the Islamic world, and all the world, share the same fears and aspirations. In poverty, they struggle. In tyranny, they suffer. And as we saw in Afghanistan, in liberation they celebrate. (Applause.)

America has a greater objective than controlling threats and containing resentment. We will work for a just and peaceful world beyond the war on terror.

The bicentennial class of West Point now enters this drama. With all in the United States Army, you will stand between your fellow citizens and grave danger. You will help establish a peace that allows millions around the world to live in liberty and to grow in prosperity. You will face times of calm, and times of crisis. And every test will find you prepared -- because you're the men and women of West Point. (Applause.) You leave here marked by the character of this Academy, carrying with you the highest ideals of our nation.

Toward the end of his life, Dwight Eisenhower recalled the first day he stood on the plain at West Point. "The feeling came over me," he said, "that the expression 'the United States of America' would now and henceforth mean something different than it had ever before. From here on, it would be the nation I would be serving, not myself."

Today, your last day at West Point, you begin a life of service in a career unlike any other. You've answered a calling to hardship and purpose, to risk and honor. At the end of every day you will know that you have faithfully done your duty. May you always bring to that duty the high standards of this great American institution. May you always be worthy of the long gray line that stretches two centuries behind you.

On behalf of the nation, I congratulate each one of you for the commission you've earned and for the credit you bring to the United States of America. May God bless you all. (Applause.)

END 10:05 A.M. EDT

Throwing out the rule book - Daniel Pipes

"Our goal is two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side, in peace and security." So spoke President Bush at a Middle East summit on June 4. Then, despite the jump in violence over the next 10 days, leaving 63 dead, he reiterated on Sunday his belief in "a peaceful Palestinian state, living side by side with the Israelis," though now adding "we've got a lot of work to do."

Bush's goal may appear to be just another diplomatic twist in the half-century search for an Arab-Israeli resolution. But it is much more. Indeed, it could well be the most surprising and daring step of his presidency. Here's why:

It is surprising, first, because he largely stayed away from this issue during his first two years as president. To be sure, he met with Middle East leaders, made speeches and rapped some knuckles - but his general approach was to stand aloof and let Palestinians and Israelis sort out their mess on their own. Then, in recent weeks, Arab-Israeli diplomacy moved very quickly from the periphery to the center, becoming as high a priority as it had ever been under prior administrations, perhaps even higher.

Second, the president in late 2001 surprised observers by adopting the idea that the creation of a Palestinian state would solve the Arab-Israeli conflict, a policy no U.S. government has proposed since 1947, before the State of Israel had come into existence.

Third, this policy did not emerge from the usual process of consensus-building of White House aides brainstorming, State Department proposals, think tank studies and congressional initiatives. Rather, it reflects the president's personal vision.

Fourth, aiming to create a Palestinian state is surprising because it turns the domestic calculus upside-down. The "right and the left have both switched their opinion of Bush," observes Jonathan Tobin in the Philadelphia Exponent. Exactly so: Conservatives who were applauding the president's demand for Palestinian democracy now fret about the impact of a Palestinian state on Israel's security. Conversely, liberals not usually counted among his supporters now enthusiastically endorse the goal of a Palestinian state.

Finally, Bush threw out the rulebook for American mediators in Arab-Israeli diplomacy.

Rules of thumb he is ignoring include:

Don't pre-judge the final status. Presidents usually content themselves with vague intentions, leaving it to the combatants to decide on the specifics; "the time has come to put an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict," for example, was how vaguely George H. W. Bush expressed his plans in 1991.
Don't try to impose a settlement. Not since the failed Vance-Gromyko discussions in 1977 has the U.S. government proposed an internationalized format for resolving the Arab-Israeli dispute. More typical was James Baker's famously irritated statement in 1990; he gave out the White House phone number and told the Israelis, "When you're serious about peace, call us."
Don't tie yourself to a timetable. Negotiators have shied away from calendar-specific goals, noting how often dates slip by with goals unfulfilled.
Don't choose leaders. Until now, American presidents have accepted Arab dictators as a given; the Bush administration (having already deposed the tyrants in Afghanistan and Iraq) undertook to sideline Yasser Arafat and replace him with his deputy Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen).
Don't involve the president until the endgame. Lower-ranking officials typically test the waters and clear the path before the president himself joins the fray. For the president personally to involve himself from the get-go, as is now the case, amounts to high-wire diplomacy without a net.
In all, President Bush has made "a radical break" from past U.S. policies, says the Washington Institute's Robert Satloff, an authority on American diplomacy.

Just as the Arab-Israeli theater has provided some of the peak and trough moments of recent presidencies, it could well leave its marks on this one.

Jimmy Carter's single finest moment was the Camp David agreement between Egypt and Israel in 1978. Ronald Reagan's worst moment was withdrawing American troops from Lebanon in 1984. Bill Clinton enjoyed the triumph of the Oslo accord signing in 1993 and suffered signal failure with the collapse of the Camp David talks in 2000.

The fate of "Israel and Palestine, living side by side, in peace and security," in short, can be expected profoundly to influence the course of George W. Bush's presidency.

Bush the Radical - By Daniel Pipes
"Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe."

This sentence, spoken last week by George W. Bush, is about the most jaw-dropping repudiation of an established bipartisan policy ever made by a US president.

Not only does it break with a policy the US government has pursued since first becoming a major player in the Middle East, but the speech is audacious in ambition, grounded in history, and programmatically specific. It's the sort of challenge to existing ways one expects to hear from a columnist, essayist, or scholar – not from the leader of a great power.

Bush spoke in a candid manner, as heads of state almost never do: "In many Middle Eastern countries, poverty is deep and it is spreading, women lack rights and are denied schooling. Whole societies remain stagnant while the world moves ahead. As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment, and violence ready for export."

This is not the first time Bush has dispatched decades' worth of policy toward a Middle East problem and declared a radically new approach.

He also did so concerning Iraq and the Arab-Israeli conflict:

Iraq: He brushed aside the long-standing policy of deterrence, replacing it in June 2002 with an approach of hitting before getting hit. US security, he said, "will require all Americans to be forward-looking and resolute, to be ready for preemptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and to defend our lives." This new approach provided justification for the war against Saddam Hussein, removing the Iraqi dictator from power before he could attack.

Arab-Israeli conflict: I called Bush's overhaul of the US approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict in June 2003 perhaps "the most surprising and daring step of his presidency." He changed presumptions by presenting a Palestinian state as the solution, imposing this vision on the parties, tying results to a specific timetable, and replacing leaders of whom he disapproved.

And this time:

Democracy: The president renounced a long-accepted policy of "Middle East exceptionalism" – getting along with dictators – and stated US policy would henceforth fit with its global emphasis of making democracy the goal.

He brought this issue home by tying it to American security: "With the spread of weapons that can bring catastrophic harm to our country and to our friends, it would be reckless to accept the status quo." Then, on the premise that "the advance of freedom leads to peace," Bush announced "a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East."

Drawing explicit comparisons with the US success in sponsoring democracy in Europe and Asia, he called on Americans once again for "persistence and energy and idealism" to do the same in the Middle East.

Understanding the rationale behind the old dictator-coddling policy makes clear the radicalism of this new approach. The old way noticed that the populations are usually more anti-American than are the emirs, kings, and presidents. Washington was rightly apprehensive that democracy would bring in more radicalized governments; this is what did happen in Iran in 1979 and nearly happened in Algeria in 1992. It also worried that once the radicals reached power, they would close down the democratic process (what was dubbed "one man, one vote, one time").

Bush's confidence in democracy – that despite the street's history of extremism and conspiracy-mindedness, it can mature and become a force of moderation and stability – is about to be tested. This process did in fact occur in Iran; will it recur elsewhere? The answer will take decades to find out.

However matters develop, this gamble is typical of a president exceptionally willing to take risks to shake up the status quo. And while one speech does not constitute a new foreign policy – which will require programmatic details, financial support, and consistent execution – the shift has to start somewhere. Presidential oratory is the appropriate place to start.

And if the past record of this president in the Middle East is anything by which to judge – toppling regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, promoting a new solution to Arab-Israeli conflict – he will be true to his word here too. Get ready for an interesting ride.


Lenghty Euphimism - Pipes

When Dwight D. Eisenhower dedicated the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C., in June 1957, his 500-word talk effused good will ("Civilization owes to the Islamic world some of its most important tools and achievements") even as the American president embarrassingly bumbled (Muslims in the United States, he declared, have the right to their "own church"). Conspicuously, he included nary a word about policy.

Exactly fifty years later, standing shoeless, George W. Bush rededicated the center last week. His 1,600-word speech also praised medieval Islamic culture ("We come to express our appreciation for a faith that has enriched civilization for centuries"), but he knew a mosque from a church – and he had more on the agenda than flattery.

Most arresting, surely, was his statement that "I have invested the heart of my presidency in helping Muslims fight terrorism, and claim their liberty, and find their own unique paths to prosperity and peace." This cri du coeur signaled how Mr. Bush understands to what extent actions by Muslims will define his legacy.

Should they heed his dream "and find their own unique paths to prosperity and peace," then his presidency, however ravaged it may look at the moment, will be vindicated. As with Harry S Truman, historians will acknowledge that he saw further than his contemporaries. Should Muslims, however, be "left behind in the global movement toward prosperity and freedom," historians will likely judge his two terms as harshly as his fellow Americans do today.

Of course, how Muslims fare depends in large part on the future course of radical Islam, which in turn depends in some part on its understanding by the American president. Over the years, Mr. Bush has generally shown an increased understanding of this topic. He started with platitudinous, apologetic references to Islam as the "religion of peace," using this phrase as late as 2006. He early on even lectured Muslims on the true nature of their religion, a presumptuous ambition that prompted me in 2001 to dub him "Imam Bush."

As his understanding grew, Mr. Bush spoke of the caliphate, "Islamic extremism" and "Islamofacism." What euphemistically he called the "war on terror" in 2001, by 2006 he referred to with the hard-hitting "war with Islamic fascists." Things were looking up. Perhaps official Washington did understand the threat, after all.

But such analyses roused Muslim opposition and, as he approaches his political twilight, Mr. Bush has retreated to safer ground, reverting last week to decayed tropes that tiptoe around any mention of Islam. Instead, he spoke inelegantly of "the great struggle against extremism that is now playing out across the broader Middle East" and vaguely of "a group of extremists who seek to use religion as a path to power and a means of domination."

Worse, the speech drum-rolled the appointment of a U.S. special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, directing this envoy to "listen to and learn from" his Muslim counterparts. But the OIC is a Saudi-sponsored organization promoting the Wahhabi agenda under the trappings of a Muslim-only United Nations. As counterterrorism specialist Steven Emerson has noted, Bush's dismal initiative stands in "complete ignorance of the rampant radicalism, pro-terrorist, and anti-American sentiments routinely found in statements by the OIC and its leaders."

Sitting in the audience at the Islamic Center on June 27, 2007, three senior Bush administration staffers wore makeshift hijabs: Fran Townsend (far left), Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, NSC Senior Director for European Affairs Judy Ansley (left), and Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes (right).

Adding to the event's accommodationist tone, some of the president's top female aides, including Frances Townsend and Karen Hughes, wore makeshift hijabs as they listened to him in the audience.

In brief, it feels like "déjà vu all over again." As columnist Diana West puts it, "Nearly six years after September 11 — nearly six years after first visiting the Islamic Center and proclaiming ‘Islam is peace' — Mr. Bush has learned nothing." But we now harbor fewer hopes than in 2001 that he still can learn, absorb, and reflect an understanding of the enemy's Islamist nature.

Concluding that he basically has failed to engage this central issue, we instead must look to Mr. Bush's potential successors and look for them to return to his occasional robustness, again taking up those difficult concepts of Islamic extremism, Shariah, and the caliphate. Several Republicans – Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and (above all) Fred Thompson – are doing just that. Democratic candidates, unfortunately, prefer to remain almost completely silent on this topic.

Almost thirty years after Islamists first attacked Americans, and on the eve of three major attempted terrorist attacks in Great Britain, the president's speech reveals how confused Washington remains.


Oct. 31, 2007 update: Well, Karen Hughes can discard her makeshift hijab, for she today resigned as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, a job she has been struggling at since September 2005. The self-styled "Mom" from Texas never understood the threat of lawful Islamism and steered the State Department in exactly the wrong direction.

Nov. 19, 2007 update: Fran Townsend can also toss her hijab, having resigned today as the president's top staff adviser on terrorism and homeland security. Like Hughes, she has a too-narrow view of who the enemy is, limiting it to the violent fringe. - those who use "violence to achieve ideological ends."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bush Middle East tour

Bush Middle East tour & The Hands of Esau

Uri Avnery is a member of Israeli Knesset and a columnist, who is bold and is a straight shooter. His appraisal of President Bush's trip to Middle East in January 2008 is funny, humorous and real.

The the Gulf News has published an editorial in the form a letter, quite a good assessement of his trip.

The President should not have made that trip, as Uri says, and I agree, he broke all the records of being the worst president in our history. Congratulations, he deserves to be the worst president of our nation, at least that is a record.

He has butchered a Million plus Iraqi's and some 4000 of our men and women for his personal vendetta, he was written to endlessly to stop the the bombarding of Lebanon by Israel, he was even asked - did he want half a million Lebanese made homeless before he takes the action? He did not care.

He is a lame duck president now, which simply means useless.

The two articles below;

Letter to George W. Bush
Gulf News
Published: January 10, 2008, 23:32


Dear Mr. President;

Lest you forget. Invasion of Iraq. Thousands of dead. Looting the National Museum. Disbanding the Iraqi army. Donald Rumsfeld. Shock and Awe. Jay Garner. Paul Bremer. Inciting sectarianism. Abu Ghraib. Thousands of detainees without charges. Torture. Oil. Ghost WMDs. The Niger connection. Halliburton. Blackwater. Deadly security contractors. Mercenaries. Fallujah. Haditha massacre. Blind support of Israel. Instigating the suffering of Gaza. Ignoring the expansion of illegal colonies. Defying United Nations resolutions. Securing "a Jewish State". Allowing Israelis to extend the destruction of Lebanon in the 2oo6 war. Providing Israel with new Bunker Buster bombs to attack Lebanese towns. The War on Terror. "The Crusade". Clash of civilisations. Where is Osama Bin Laden? Afghanistan. Bagram massacre. Bombing media offices. Guantanamo Bay. Kangaroo courts. Indefinite detention. Presidential orders to ignore Geneva Conventions. "Unlawful enemy combatants". Illegal National Security Agency wiretapping. Fingerprinting visitors. Black prisons. Kidnapping foreign citizens on foreign lands. Khalid Al Masri. Abu Omar. Maher Arar. Central Intelligence Agency. "Aggressive interrogation techniques". Destroying the torture tapes. Iran tension. Isolating Syria. Embracing Syrian opposition Iraq style. The Chavez coup. Denial of global warming. Rejecting Kyoto Protocol. Marginalisation of the United Nations. John Bolton. Paul Wolfowitz and the World Bank. Carl Rove. Alberto Gonzales. Firing attorneys. Nepotism. False democracy promises. Dick Cheney, Dick Cheney and Dick Cheney.

Mr President;

The list goes on. You might not be able to recall some of it. But the people around you, Cheney and Condoleezza Rice especially, would. And they realise that on the subject of human rights, your administration has had the worst record of all, surpassing most Third World countries. The tension and the misery in parts of this region can very well testify to this.

Mr President;

In a famous speech in 2003 you announced an "historic" shift in US foreign policy. You pledged to support democracy and liberty while declaring "victory" in Iraq. More than four years later, Iraq is in chaos. It has virtually disintegrated and "the surge" did little to stop the killing or ease the sectarian tension. At the same time, you gave up on your freedom-for-all prophecy. We are all back to the old ways of doing business - arms and oil. The agenda of your current tour is evident.

Mr President;

This is your first official trip to a land you long claimed has a very special place in your heart. The land of the Prophets. However, you started out wrong. By maintaining your support of an Israeli "Jewish State", you are flouting your own ideals upon which your great country was founded more than two centuries ago. So much for the promise of democracy. What you advocate in fact is the creation of states on religious and racial lines, thereby justifying the atrocious actions of terrorists who hate and seek to eliminate the followers of other religions: The same terrorists you like to blame for every ill on earth and every failure of yours.

Mr President;

It has been reported that you are here to "lecture" us on democracy and human rights. But with a record like yours, you will not be very convincing. The people you are addressing have greater respect for human rights and dignity.

You also said that your current tour aims to realise the long neglected peace in the Middle East. Regional peace, Mr President, will not be achieved by escalating tension and threatening to change regimes. And most importantly, it will not be achieved by supporting Israel, which continues to defy international law, occupy Arab lands, oppress the Palestinians and rebuff peace initiatives.

Mr President;

We hope you have enjoyed the trip so far. The scenery is great. The food is exotic. As for the more "serious" things, it is unlikely you will make any difference.

The Hands of Esau
By Uri Avnery
15/01/08 "ICH"

Which of the two men is the leader of the greatest power on earth and which is the boss of a small client state?

A visitor from another planet, attending the press conference in Jerusalem, would find it hard not to answer: Olmert is the president of the great power, Bush is his vassal.

Olmert is taller. He talked endlessly, while Bush listened patiently. While Olmert anointed Bush with flattery that would have made a Byzantine emperor blush, it was quite clear that it is Olmert who decides policy, while Bush humbly accepts the Israeli diktat. And Bush's flattery of Olmert exceeded even Olmert's flattery of Bush.

Both, we learned, are "courageous". Both are "determined". Both have a "vision". The word "vision", once reserved for prophets, starred in every second sentence. (Bush could not know that in Israel, "vision" has long become a jocular appellation for highfaluting speeches, usually in combination with the word "Zionism".)

The President and the Prime Minister have something else in common: not a word of what they said at the press conference had any connection with the truth.

One OF the most moving dramas in the Bible tells about our old blind forefather, Isaac, who wanted to bless his eldest son, Esau, a reddish and hairy hunter. But the second son, the homebody (or rather tent-body) Jacob, exploited the absence of his brother and went to his father in order to steal the blessing. He wore Esau's clothes and covered his arms with hairy goat skins. The ruse nearly failed, when the father felt the arms of Jacob and his suspicion was aroused.

That's when he uttered the famous words: "The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau." (Genesis, 27: 22).

Yet Jacob, the impostor, did receive the blessing and became the father of the nation which was named after him (he was also called Israel). It seems that Ehud Olmert is a true successor: there is no connection between his voice and his hands.

Anyone who listens to him - not just at the press conference, but also on every other occasion - hears words of peace and reason: The Palestinians must have a state of their own. The "vision" must be realized while Bush is president, because Israel has never had and never will have a truer friend. The settlement outposts must be removed, as promised by us again and again. The settlements must be frozen. Etc. etc.

That is the voice of Jacob. But the hands, well, they are the hands of Esau.

* * *

BEFORE ANNAPOLIS, during Annapolis and after Annapolis, nothing at all was done to promote the Two-State Solution. The negotiations were about to begin - any moment now - a year ago, and now they are again about to begin - any moment now. Yes, the "core issues" - borders, Jerusalem, refugees - will be addressed. Sure. Any moment now.

But in the meantime, the hands of Esau are working feverishly. All over the occupied territories, the settlements are being enlarged. The existing outposts remain untouched, new ones spring up from time to time. Around them, a well choreographed dance has evolved, a kind of formal ballet executed by the settlers and the army. The settlers set up a new outpost, the army removes it, the settlers return and set it up again, the army dismantles, and so forth.

In the meantime the outpost gets bigger and bigger. The government connects it to the electricity and water systems and builds a road. And the army, of course, protects it day and night. We cannot leave good Jews at the mercy of the evil Palestinian terrorists, can we?
Bush knows all this and still continues to blabber that "the illegal outposts must be removed". And so it continues: the voice is Jacob's voice, the hands are the hands of Esau.

But one cannot fool all of the people all of the time, to quote another American President who was slightly more intelligent than the present incumbent.

And so, after Olmert and Bush repeated the mantra about removing the outposts and freezing the settlements, one of the journalists popped an innocent question: How does this fit together with the announcement about the building of a huge new housing project at Har Homa?

If anyone thought that this would embarrass Olmert, he was sadly mistaken. Olmert just cannot be embarrassed. He simply answered that this promise does not apply to Jerusalem, nor to the "Jewish population centers" beyond the Green Line.

"Jerusalem" - since the time of Levy Eshkol - is not only the Old City and the Holy Basin. It is the huge tract of land annexed to Israel after the Six-Day War, from the approaches to Bethlehem to the outskirts of Ramallah. This area includes the hill that was once forested and called Jebel Abu-Ghneim, now the site of the big and ugly Har Homa settlement. And the "population centers" are the big settlement blocs in the occupied Palestinian territories, which President Bush so generously presented to Ariel Sharon.

This means that almost all the extensive building activities that are now going on beyond the Green Line are not covered by the Israeli undertaking to freeze the settlements. And while Olmert publicly announced this, President Bush was standing at his side, smiling foolishly and painting on another layer of compliments.

The following day, Bush visited Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah and told the shocked Palestinians that the innumerable Israeli roadblocks in the West Bank, which turn the life of the Palestinians into hell, are necessary for the protection of Israel and must remain where they are - until after the establishment of the hoped-for democratic Palestinian state.

Condoleezza Rice was quick to remind him in private that this was not very wise, since he was about to visit half a dozen Arab countries. So Bush hastened to call another press conference in Jerusalem, talking about the "core issues": there would be a "contiguous" Palestinian state, but the 1949 borders (the Green Line) would not be restored. He would not speak about Jerusalem. Also, the refugee problem would be settled by an international fund - meaning that none at all would be allowed to return.

Altogether, much less than Bill Clinton's 2000 "parameters", and less than most Israelis are already prepared to accept. It amounts to 110% support for the official Israeli government line.

After that, Bush had dinner with Israeli cabinet ministers. He cordially shook the hand of Minister Rafael Eitan, the former spymaster who controlled the Israeli spy in Washington, Jonathan Pollard, whom Bush refuses to pardon. (Eitan would be arrested the moment he set foot on American soil.) He spoke cordially with the ultra-rightist Minister Avigdor Liberman, urging him to support Olmert. Throughout the dinner, he talked and talked, until Condi sent him a discreet note suggesting that he shut up. Bush, in high spirits, read the note out loud.

* * *

I HAVE mentioned more than once the British World War II poster which was pasted up on the walls in Palestine: "Is this trip really necessary?"

That is again the question now: Is this trip of Bush's really necessary?
The answer is: Of course. Necessary for Bush. Necessary for Olmert. Necessary for Abbas, too.

For Bush, because he is a lame duck, in the last year of his term, and therefore almost paralyzed. In the United States he is rapidly becoming irrelevant. His touted Middle East tour has been drowned out by the primary elections mayhem, which produces a new drama almost every day. While Hillary wrestles with Obama and the glib Bill competes with an impressive black grandma, who cares where the worst president in American history is traipsing around?
Olmert is well aware of the situation. When he declares that the last year of the term of his noble friend must be used, what he really means to say is: he cannot exert any pressure on us, he cannot even "nudge" us, as he promises. There is no need to remove even one single outpost for him. So let us squeeze the last drop of juice out of his presidency, before he is thrown onto the trash pile of history.

But Olmert needs the presence of Bush at his side, because his position is not much more secure than Bush's. Bush is bankrupt in a big way, after starting one of the most pointless and unsuccessful wars in US history. That is true for Olmert in a small way. He is bankrupt too, and he also started a pointless, failed war.

In two weeks time, the Winograd Commission will publish its final report on Lebanon War II, and everyone expects it to come down on Olmert like a 16 ton weight. He may survive, if only because there is now no credible substitute. But he needs all the help he can get - and what better help than the "Leader of the Free World" gazing at him with liquid eyes?
It's the old story about the lame and the blind. * * *

THIS WAS NOT Bush's last presidential visit to Israel. He has already promised to return on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state, which falls this year (in accordance with the Hebrew calendar) on May 8. What else can a president do in his last months in office, except star in ceremonies with kings, presidents and prime ministers?

Perhaps he had intended to finish with a big bang, a historic climax that would overshadow even his invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, such as a grand attack on Iran. But it seems that the US intelligence community, in a patriotic act that makes up for some of its earlier sins, has prevented this by publishing its sensational report.

True, this week something happened that put on a warning light. Some small Iranian boats were reported to have made a provocative gesture against the powerful American warships in the Strait of Hormuz.

That takes us right back to 1964 and to what has become known as the "Gulf of Tonkin incident". President Lyndon Johnson announced that Vietnamese vessels had attacked American warships. That was a lie, but it was enough for Congress to empower the president to widen the war that killed millions of people (and buried Johnson's career).
But this time the red light went out quickly. The US Congress is not what it was, it seems that the Americans have no stomach for another war, the historical parallel was too obvious. Bush has been left without an option for war. He has been left with nothing.
Apart from Olmert's flattery, of course.

Uri Avnery is an Israeli peace activist who has advocated the setting up of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. He served three terms in the Israeli parliament (Knesset), and is the founder of Gush Shalom (Peace Bloc)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Did Senator McCain Betray?

Did Senator McCain Betray America?

I am sorely disappointed in our Journalists; each one of them either failed to ask or chose not to ask the tough question to Senator McCain.

In the Presidential debates on Saturday, January 5, 2008 with Charlie Gibson and Chris Wallace, and interviews with Tim Russert and George Stephanopoulos on Sunday January 6, 2008, John McCain was excited to share that “I’ll get Osama bin Laden. I’ll get him even if I have to follow him to the gates of hell”

Here is the piece of interview with Tim Russert:

MR. RUSSERT: “I’ll get him.”
SEN. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.
MR. RUSSERT: George Bush has tried...
SEN. McCAIN: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
MR. RUSSERT: ...for seven years.
SEN. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: What will you do differently than George Bush?
SEN. McCAIN: Well, first of all, I will dramatically—I wouldn’t have passed up some of the opportunities we passed up, such at, as at Tora Bora, and President Clinton passed up. But most importantly, I’ll improve our human intelligence.

SEN. McCAIN: Well, you’re going to recruit, you’re going to train, and you’re going to send people in who can blend into the culture, into the, to the, the tribal communities and in—very tough. Not easy. I didn’t say it was going to be easy. I said it was going to be tough. But I will get him. And why is it so important? One, he killed 3,000 Americans. But two, in the last two weeks he’s gotten out two messages. He is recruiting, motivating and instructing radical Islamic extremists who want to kill and destroy everything we stand for and believe in. This guy is a continuing threat because of his very adroit—as well as other extremists—use of cyberspace.

MR. RUSSERT: If, if your...
SEN. McCAIN: So he’s a continuing threat to America. He isn’t just a guy who’s holed up someplace.

MR. RUSSERT: If your advisers said to you, “Mr. President, this is where Osama bin Laden is.”
SEN. McCAIN: Yeah. Yeah.

MR. RUSSERT: “We can get him tonight.”
SEN. McCAIN: Yeah.
MR. RUSSERT: “But understand, if we go in, we could very well destabilize Pakistan, perhaps bring about the overthrow of President Musharraf.”
SEN. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: Would you trade Osama bin Laden for Musharraf as president?
SEN. McCAIN: I would, I would never have that situation arise, because Musharraf and I have an, a relationship that goes back a number of years. I would be in constant communication with him, and I’m sure that maybe publicly or privately he would be working very closely. That’s the benefit...

MR. RUSSERT: Could he, could he be trusted?
SEN. McCAIN: Sure he could be trusted.
MR. RUSSERT: You don’t think he’s surrounded by Taliban sympathizers?
The full transcript is at:

What Mr. Russert, Stephanapoulus, Chris Wallace and Charlie Gibson forgot or chose not to ask was this major question.

Senator, the why did you not get Osama?
Why did you have to wait to be elected to do that?
Isn’t that a betrayal to your party and to your President?
Isn’t that a betrayal to our nation?

I am disappointed that none of the Journalist asked that question, a total of four times, and none could ask that?

It is not too late now.

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, politics, Islam, Religion and civic issues. His opinions, comments, news analysis and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at or (214) 325-1916

Saturday, January 5, 2008

America Bragging

America Bragging
Mike Ghouse, January 4, 2008

It is time to start bragging about America again. Let the world know that we are one of the greatest nations when it comes to honoring and respecting the God given uniqueness to each one of the 303,171,404 Americans. We have made incredible progress in civility and plurality in a very short period of time.

It was on a cold day of December 1, 1955 when Rosa Parks was ordered to give up her seat to a white passenger. Thank God, she refused to obey the orders. Till then an African American was not allowed to drink from the same water fountain or dine in a restaurant. In life, all it takes is one courageous person to speak up and inspire us to be on the path of righteousness.

Fifty three years later on Wednesday, January 3, 2008 at 10:00 PM history was made again. Democratic candidate Barak Obama, an African American was declared winner of the Iowa caucus for the Democratic Party.

97% of the nearly 3 Million Iowans are rural conservative white folks. On this day, they have fulfilled a larger dream for the world - where the color of the skin doesn't matter, but the character of the person does. January 3, 2008 will be written as a golden day in the civic History of America.

On August 28, 1963. On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, evoked the name of Lincoln and delieverd the historic speech “ I have a dream” and said, “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Dr. King, today, Barak Obama has received that check and possibly may cash it on November 4th, 2008.

This must be an inspiring event to the world, they can see our model of democracy, where every individual is honored for who he or she is, and not for what religion he wears or the race she bears. It also send the message to the world that prosperity of a nation hinges on providing equal opportunity to every Citizen in the pursuit of their happiness.

It is by setting our own example that we can bring goodness to the world, practicing democracy at home puts us humbly on high moral grounds. Every nation around the world has great soul and brain power, as we have proven, they can say to their minorities “common and be a partner in nation building” let’s all grow together.

During the next four years, if we can export our contagious attitude, “to you is your way, to me is my way”, together we can do more or we can live our own life.

Wednesday evening remains a special one for me. I spent the whole evening watching television and cherishing the principles upon which our nation was founded, the will of the people; a rock solid foundation of liberty and Justice reflecting the essence of all the religions of the world.

Fellow Americans, this is the America we want to live in, this is the America we want the world to look up to.

On Jan 3rd the Americans have demonstrated their morality of putting people first, regardless of their race, religion or ethnicity. This is the America we want to share with the world; this is the America we want to brag about.

America we are proud of you, and we salute you.

God Bless America

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, politics, Islam, Religion and civic issues. He is the founding president of World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: Good for Muslims and good for the world. His comments, news analysis, opinions and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at or (214) 325-1916