One could devote a career to dissecting President Barack Obama‘s speech at Cairo University in Egypt on June 4th and point out in detail its numerous errors, fallacies and untruths. One could even dwell on how apparently naïve his is about the nature of Islam, an ignorance of it that is all the more revealing because he claims to have been exposed to Muslim instruction in Indonesia as a child. His patronizing boast of having come from a Kenyan family “that includes generations of Muslims” is utterly irrelevant. A man is not made by his ancestors — not unless he chooses to be.
On minor errors, Daniel Pipes, the prominent authority on Islam, noted that:
“Barack Obama’s mention of ’seven million American Muslims’ in the course of his rambling and complex six-thousand-word address to the Muslim world from Cairo symbolizes the whole message….Study after study has found that demographic figure about three times too high. But Islamist organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations [CAIR] and the Islamic Society of North America [ISNA] relentlessly promote the notion of seven or even ten million American Muslims. Obama’s accepting their version amounts to a giveaway, a cheap way to win the approbation of Islamists who so widely influence Muslim opinion.”
In short, Obama was soap-boxing for an American voting bloc. But it would be profitable to first dismiss his assertion that America and Islam are “not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead they overlap and share common principles, principles of justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings,” an assertion he echoes throughout the rest of his speech whose theme could only be called, to second Pipes’ appraisal, “sucking up to the Muslims.”
America and Islam are not only “exclusive,” but political and philosophical antipodes. America stands for individual rights, freedom of thought and speech, objective justice, progress, and the liberty to live and conduct one’s life without encountering or resorting to force. Islam has never stood for those things, which are in fact objects of its scorn and hostility. Islam is a political/religious ideology that does not tolerate intellectual or religious freedom and which requires of its adherents complete and unquestioning submission to the words and wishes of a ghost and its marauding prophet. Its concept of justice is barbaric and tribal. Very little of that brutal “justice” as it is practiced in Muslim countries makes headlines in the West; but then again, such murders, mutilations, “honor” killings and the like also occur in the West and the U.S., but do not attract any news coverage, because that would be construed as “stereotyping” Islam and Muslims.
There is no “dignity” to be observed in seeing a single person prostrate himself in obeisance to Mecca, while the spectacle of hundreds performing the same submission is obscene. (It could be humorous; I oft times hope that some comedy group would be brave enough to satirize Islam and Muslims, just as the Monty Python group satirized Christianity.) There is no “dignity” to be observed in Muslim women forced to wear drab, de-sexing traditional garb. Muslims would probably agree with the latter evaluation. What is there in Islam or any of its practitioners to “respect”?
Islam, after the Catholic Church, was the most intolerant creed in history and in existence now. One is either a Muslim, a conquered kaffir or dhimmi — or dead. Islamists believe in progress only if there is something to loot and that can be had without violating the primitive precepts of the Koran — such as camels, slaves, oil fields, or foreign property — but Islam itself is not by its nature a genesis of progress, nor can it ever be. A moral code that requires the voluntary or enforced stunting or compartmentalization of the mind is not going to invent air-conditioning or nuclear power plants or open heart surgery. It can appropriate the products of a free mind, but never originate them. That makes it a preeminently parasitical ideology.
Islam’s chief source of moral authority is the Koran, which, like the Torah and the Bible, is a hodge-podge of fanciful, disparate, and unintegrated casuistic imperatives and fables of questionable moral import. Moreover, it encourages and sanctions holy war or jihad against non-believers and their conquest by force or taqiya or deception. There is no theological “subtext” in its exhortations to kill or enslave Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims “wherever you find them”; these and similarly belligerent injunctions throughout the Koran are not euphemistic commands to “love thy neighbor“ and “cast not the first stone.” They are to be taken literally. The “violent extremists” Obama inveighed against in his speech are only practicing the core tenets of Islam; as I have remarked in past commentaries, remove those tenets from Islam, and what would be left would not be Islam, but a creed as insipid and pacific as that of the Amish.
Yet, the fundamental, anti-mind, anti-philosophy, and anti-moral character of the Koran was selectively overlooked, allowing Obama to quote from it three times during his speech. Those taken-out-of-context nuggets were lifted from a mountain of contaminated verbal slag. But, then, Obama and his aides are not particularly finicky about where they find “wisdom.” Look at the composition of his White House staff and the character of his appointees.
In one section of his speech, Obama delivers a series of compliments to “Islam” which are in fact calumnies against the West, in which he credits Islam with technological and medical achievements. But the Arabs who largely rediscovered Greek and Roman thought and science a millennia ago were exceptions to the rule of Islam. “Tolerant” Islam snuffed out the Arab Enlightenment. For an excellent refutation of Obama’s assertion that the West owes Islam any kind of cultural debt, see Andy Clarkson’s “The United States of America and Islam have nothing fundamental in common.”
As ideas, America and Islam are mutually exclusive and fundamentally incompatible. There is no reconciliation possible between freedom and servitude, between reason and faith, between progress and stagnation, between the sanctity of property and legalized theft, between individual rights and societies policed by priestly castes. As with reason versus any other faith or religion, it is a matter of “either-or.” Obama repeated what he said in Ankara, Turkey in April, that the United States “is not and never will be at war with Islam.” That may be true, however, Islam has been and is certainly now at war with the U.S. and with the West. Obama refuses to acknowledge that reality, because, politically, psychologically, and morally, he would be at home in any Muslim society. One can easily imagine him rising through the echelons of such a society to become a power in it or over it.
“I know that Islam has always been a part of America’s story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second president, John Adams, wrote ‘The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims.’ And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States.”
He knows no such thing. One cannot imagine how a collection of undifferentiated manqués can “enrich” any nation. Look at what is happening to Britain and Europe. True, Islam has “always” been a part of America’s story in that Muslim pirates preyed on American merchant vessels and Muslim monarchs seized American oil fields. In fact, well into the first quarter of the 19th century, Muslims raided European port towns from Iceland to Ireland to Britain to France and Spain, and in the Mediterranean, for slaves. And, with all due respect to John Adams, he never had to deal personally with Muslims. If he had ever gone to Morocco or Algiers or any other part of the world in which Islam held sway, he might have agreed with Winston Churchill’s evaluation a century later of how pathetic and miserable the life of a Muslim was.
Furthermore, given all the research facilities in Washington available to Obama and his speech-writers, one wonders where they find this “history.” The treaty of 1786 with Morocco, which implicitly recognized the United States, was secured with what can only be called a bribe of gifts worth $10,000 to the Emperor of Morocco. Had it not been paid, it would have been piracy as usual, in competition with the potentates of Tripoli, Algiers, and Tunis to seize American merchant vessels and hold the crews for ransom.
France was the first nation to recognize the United States as an independent nation, when it assisted the Revolution with money, troops, and naval support. Britain necessarily recognized the U.S. when it agreed in 1782 to negotiate a treaty with the “13 U.S.,” signed in Paris in 1783 and ratified by Congress in 1784. Next to recognize the U.S. was the Netherlands. For a summary account of American relations with the Barbary States, see the Avalon Project at Yale Law School.
See also my commentaries, Barbary Pirates: Old and New, on Rule of Reason, from August 2007; The Janus Face of Islam from September 2006; or Our Islamic Nemesis, Then and Now from August 2006 for further discussions of the impossibility of “peace” with Islam, a political/religious ideology fundamentally and necessarily driven to conquest by the same psychopathic forces that drove Nazism, with which Islamic leaders sympathized then and probably still do, although they are keeping that under their headdresses. The paramilitary organizations of Hamas and Hezbollah have adopted the Nazi military parade style; their mass salutes are merely closed-fist versions of the Nazi “sieg heil.”
The latter subject is not one much known in this country. Muslim hatred of the Jews in the Middle East predates World War I. Amin el-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, was especially eager to exterminate Jews in Palestine and personally discussed the project with Hitler. Saudi Arabia was another pro-Nazi sympathizer. In point of fact, I cannot recall a single Middle Eastern, 20th century dictator or strongman who at one time or another had not expressed admiration for the Nazis, except, perhaps, the Shah of Iran (the son, 1919-1980). For a revealing account of how the Nazis planned to exploit the Arab “liberation movement” by assigning special military units to the region to direct the Middle Eastern branch of the Holocaust, see Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Martin Cuppers’ “’Elimination of the Jewish National Home in Palestine‘: The Einsatzkommando of the Panzer Army Africa, 1942.” These units were modeled on the ones that directed the massacres of Jews in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Russia, or aided in rounding them up for transport to the death camps.
Before flying to Cairo, Obama stopped in Saudi Arabia to “consult” with King Abdullah, the creature he bowed to at the London summit. Saudi Arabia and its repressive Wahhabist monarchy are ample proof that Islam can only appropriate the products of free minds, not originate or create them, in this instance, having seized Western created oil fields and investing the loot from them in the West. And, one must question Obama’s apparent fascination with the Saudis. Is it rooted in power-envy, or an obsession founded on pragmatism?
“Saudi Arabia and the United States have a near 60-year-old relationship based on guaranteeing oil supplies in return for U.S. protection for the Saudi monarchy.”
The “relationship” can only be characterized as extortionate, one made possible by American willingness to prop up a medieval oligarchy by prohibiting the development of oil deposits in the U.S. One can bet that the Saudis have an army of well-paid lobbyists in Washington who ensure that an “environmentally conscious” Congress perpetuates that extortion.
It is a significant clue to how receptive the 3,000 guests at Cairo University who listened to Obama were to the idea of coexisting with Jews and Israel when they remained silent and unresponsive when he touched on anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and Buchenwald. As one ABC correspondent remarked, “You could’ve heard a pin drop.” But each statement of capitulation and compromise earned him applause. Every Islamist knows that a “two-state” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is but a formula for bringing about the destruction of Israel. Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and their policymakers do not know it. Or perhaps they do, but are counting on “empathy” to prevent it from happening.
All this is aside from the manner in which Obama began his address to the Muslim world.
“We meet at a time of great tension between the United States and Muslims around the world, tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of coexistence and cooperation but also conflict and religious wars.”
You can’t get more Marxist-Hegelian than that. America and Islam are thesis and antithesis struggling against each other in what must ultimately result in a tension-releasing starburst of collectivist union — of pure communism, or socialism, or fascism, or a global caliphate, or whatever facilitates “global amity” and animates our “collective conscience.” This belief in the mystical powers of “coexistence and cooperation” and wishing they would work, of course, is stressed by Obama in his assertion that “Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.” That assertion must have provoked disgust in the defenders of the West, and laughter among Islamists.
What is Obama’s solution? What rain dance of his is expected to promote the climax of those impersonal “historical forces”? Not ideas. Not principles. Not the assertion of reason and rights. But “dialogue.” That is, compromise and give-and-take. It cannot mean anything else but have-not Muslims negotiating what they will take from the haves, and Islamists looting the carcass of Israel. It also means, as Obama stated, pouring more billions of dollars into the corrupt cesspool economies of Pakistan and Afghanistan and other areas of Islamist hegemony. “Humanity” and Immanuel Kant will it; Obama is dutifully unmindful of the deleterious consequences to the West. Or, perhaps not.
There is so much more in Obama’s Cairo speech that could be dissected. All his verbiage about freedom of religion, freedom of speech, “human rights” and “democracy“ is just one pre-packaged, mandatory shibboleth undercut by his demonstrable penchant for statism. In summary, however, his speech was one which George W. Bush himself could have delivered. It simply reaffirmed the evasive, non-judgmental, accommodating policies of the Bush years and broadened their scope.
It was a defining act of submission.