Archive for Saturday, September 22, 2012

Violent acts

September 22, 2012


To the editor:

This is in response to David Omar’s recent letter (Public Forum, Sept. 18) asking why a Coptic Christian would want to inflame the Muslim world. The reason would probably be because the Coptic Christians who live in Egypt and other predominantly Muslim lands have had their churches destroyed, their people killed and/or displaced and other horrible crimes done against them while the Muslims of that land and the world have done very little. I should mention that in other Muslim-dominated areas such as Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Tunisia, Pakistan, Indonesia, northern Nigeria, Christians in the last 25 years have suffered similar or worse atrocities at the hands of Muslims.

Unfortunately, the governments of those areas have mostly turned a blind eye to them. Fortunately for you and all other religious people who live in the United States, we do not have to endure such problems because our forefathers came from Europe where religious groups dominated the government. So, our constitution now protects religious rights and free speech whereas the present day Muslim nations do not.

So, Mr. Omar and other Muslims, instead of justifying the inane and violent acts of your brethren, you should band together and use the freedoms you enjoy to fight for freedom of religion and speech in Muslim nations. When no one has any doubts that the Muslim world is drastically changing, perhaps we will pay closer heed to your words. Until then, you cannot and should not expect Americans or anyone else to not place blame on the violent actions of any Muslims.


Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

Strategic Errors of Monumental Proportions

by Lt. Gen. William E. Odom

Text of testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Strategic Overview

The role that US military forces can play in that conflict is seriously limited by all the political decisions the US government has already taken. The most fundamental decision was setting as its larger strategic purpose the stabilization of the region by building a democracy in Iraq and encouraging its spread. This, of course, was to risk destabilizing the region by starting a war.

Military operations must be judged by whether and how they contribute to accomplishing war aims. No clear view is possible of where we are today and where we are headed without constant focus on war aims and how they affect US interests. The interaction of interests, war aims, and military operations defines the strategic context in which we find ourselves.

We cannot have the slightest understanding of the likely consequences of proposed changes in our war policy without relating them to the strategic context.

There are the four major realities that define that context

Confusion about war aims and US interests. President GW Bush stated three war aims clearly and repeatedly:

The destruction of Iraqi WMD's. The overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The creation of a liberal democratic Iraq.

The first war aim is moot because Iraq had no WMD.

The second was achieved by late Spring 2003. Today, people are waking up to what was obvious before the war -- the third aim has no real prospects of being achieved even in ten or twenty years, much less in the short time anticipated by the war planners.

Implicit in that aim was the belief that a pro-American, post-Saddam regime could be established.

This too, it should now be clear, is most unlikely.

Finally, is it in the US interest to have launched a war in pursuit of any of these aims?

And is it in the US interest to continue pursuing the third? Or is it time to redefine our aims?

And, concomitantly, to redefine what constitutes victory?

The war has served primarily the interests of Iran and al-Qaeda, not American interests.

Abdu Omar 5 years, 7 months ago

Mr. Wentz, Obviously you have also fallen into the trap of condemning a whole religion for the acts of a few. This was the point of Mr. Omar's LTE and you missed it. Coptic Christians in Egypt are being harrassed and offended by a few, not the whole of the Muslim world. Elsewhere in the world people are harrassing Muslims, offending them, killing them, burning their mosques, destroying their livlihoods and the Christian world supports those terrorists because they are our "friends". I will be the first to say that the world is imperfect and cannot be perfected when there are so many different cultures that are at odds with each other. But we can get along if we stop terrorism from the Arabs, Israelis, Irish, Russians, French, Etc.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

You keep wanting to narrow the focus to what the terrorists are doing. At some point, you must look to how the non terrorists are responding to the terrorists within their communities. Even if everyone admits that it's not Muslims as a whole who are making life difficult for Coptic Christians within Egypt, that doesn't answer the question of what are the non terrorists doing to protect them. We can all agree that religious minorities deserve protection from terrorists, right? Do the Coptic Christians feel safe in Egypt? Are they safe in Egypt?

And should the Muslims tell us, "yes, they are safe" and the Coptics tell us "no, we are not safe", what are we in the U.S. to make of that?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

I said in their communities. Obviously, Muslims in Indonesia have no responsibility to keep Christians safe in Egypt. But Egyptians do, be they Muslim or anything else. You and I have a responsibility to keep everyone here safe. We do that by hiring police to enforce the peace.

The question still stands. Are the Egyptians keeping religious minorities safe?

paulveer 5 years, 7 months ago

Look closer to home. Is the US keeping religious minorities same? NO!

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

Absolutely safe? Is anyone, religious minority or not, absolutely safe?

I might get mugged tonight. But I'd like to think that having a police force out there helps to deter that. I'd like to think having courts and a prison system helps deter that sort of thing. It worked last night. And the night before. And the night before. Will it work tonight? I hope so. But I do think that if the police, courts and prison systems were either absent or less effective, my chances of getting mugged tonight would go up.

Again, how's Egypt doing with that?

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

That's nice, but if your brother was going to injure your neighbor, would you not stop him? Of course, you have no responsibility to do so, but if you repeatedly stand by and watch him do it, your are accommodating violence.

Ethically you are right, but I'm not sure I can be so ethical as to not attempt to stop a violent act.

You make a better libertarian than I do.

P Allen Macfarlane 5 years, 7 months ago

Violence justified in the name of religion is usually caused not by religious differences but rather by economic or political factors. A look back at how Christians have dealt with religious minorities would tell you all about this. Most atrocities, including the Crusades, were politically or economically motivated.

Getaroom 5 years, 7 months ago

Let's us not forget all the Churches, Temples and Mosque's that have burned to the ground here in the USA for one reason or another and some recently. How's that for honoring our forefathers dreams?

Flap Doodle 5 years, 7 months ago

Look at how often Methodists have rioted in American streets and murdered people because an artist insulted their faith? Or Amish? Or Mormons?

pizzapete 5 years, 7 months ago

The early Mormons were kicked out of every city and state they tried to settle in until they finally arrived in Utah, as far from the suspicious government and American people as they could get. Don't forget the founder of the faith, Joseph Smith, was actually killed by an angry mob. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century many fundamentalist Mormons actually fled the United States for Canada and Mexico to escape government persecution and to continue polygamy. Mitt Romney's grandfather was one of those who ran to Mexico rather than capitulate to the existing laws against polygamy in the United States.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 7 months ago

This statistic is a couple of years old. I doubt it's changed much. "..Of the 1,575 victims of anti-religious hate crimes, 71.9 percent were victims because of an offender’s anti-Jewish bias..."

voevoda 5 years, 7 months ago

And most of the people attacking Jews claimed to be Christian, not Muslim. I think that you have undermined Mr. Wentz's point, that Muslims and not Christians are responsible for violence.

voevoda 5 years, 7 months ago

Why should Mr. Omar, even if he happens to be Muslim, be responsible for inculcating appreciation for freedom of speech in the non-Western world? Why should he and Muslim Americans be charged with restraining co-religionists in other countries? After all, American Christians did not "band together" to restrain their co-religionists from violent attacks in Ireland. American Christians didn't "band together" to keep Croatian and Serbian Christians from killing Muslims in Bosnia. You, Mr. Wents, haven't assigned to American Christians remediation of the prejudicial treatment of non-Christians in the Christian countries of Eastern Europe or in Ethiopia.

Maybe, Mr. Wentz, you should be the one to take the lead to educate citizens of Muslim countries about the benefits of free speech. Start by retracting your prejudicial statements about Muslims in general, and clarify that you meant to indict only those individuals who engage in violence.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

" Never mind that we have witnessed no such fight from the Muslims who claim not to be extremists."

In Libya yesterday there were mass demonstrations against the militias that attacked the US consulate, and they paid homage to the slain US Ambassador.

But in your generally stated view, the US should have dropped few cruise missiles on them because they are Muslims, and all Muslims are evil.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

It is heartening to see demonstrations in support of our slain ambassador. However, when you say "mass demonstrations", which gives the impression that those in support outnumber the violent demonstrators we've all seen throughout the region, that may be giving an image that is not reflected in reality.

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

It's foolish. Those people need to go home and lock their doors. We don't need their blood on our hands.

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

Very well written letter. I never thought of it from that angle. I accept that Islam holds the west in low regard because we meddle in their affairs, destroy their countries and commit atrocities against their people, but as you note, they equally oppress other less-well-armed groups to the point that Islam becomes the target. They are us writ small. But none of that matters.

Whether the guy is a in different sect of some religion is really irrelevant to the discussion in general as our constitution is more important than actions of others abroad. Americans should respect Islam, but they should be ready to fight for our constitution.

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