Foreign Policy

Not in Our Name

Barack Obama has no business bowing before the Saudis

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"The United States is not, and will never be, at war with Islam," Barack Obama explained to the Turkish Parliament on his recent tour of Europe, emphasizing the need for "mutual respect" between our cultures.

"War" and "respect" are two distinct ideas. Both ought to be meted out judiciously. But let's reserve the former as a last resort and the latter to those who actually deserve it.

When Obama bowed to Saudi Arabian "King" Abdullah last week (sadly reminiscent of W.'s insufferable hand-holding with a Saudi prince), he probably thought it an appropriate level of deference. The problem is the wrong person was prostrate.

Why should we "respect" the Saudis? Is it the corporal punishment and amputations? Is it the lack of free speech? Is it a judicial system in which women often are forbidden from testifying, as they are incapable of "understanding what they observe"? Or is it that victims of sexual assault are prosecuted for the crime of being in the presence of unknown males? The honor killings? The forced circumcisions? The terrorist funding?

Though we need not drop Marines into Mecca to remedy that nation's historical and moral sickness, we never should be expected to "respect" gangsters, either.

Why so many on the left are willing to extend tolerance toward those who are militantly illiberal has always been a mystery. Many of these countries wage internal wars to exterminate Christianity and Judaism (religions that existed in some of those places long before Islam), and the concepts of secularism and atheism live only in fantasy.

It's not only fanatics holed up in the caves of Pakistan but also the majority of Islamic nations that, on some level, disregard basic human rights.

And instead of "respecting" Turkey, Obama might have taken the time to live up to his campaign promise to acknowledge last century's Turkish genocide of 1.5 million Christian Armenians. He hasn't.

In Iraq—a country propped up by American lives and generosity—The New York Times reported that in 2005, the most influential Shiite cleric in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, issued a religious decree declaring that gay men and women should be "punished, in fact, killed." But that wasn't enough. Gays, he decreed, "should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing." The Iraqi government looks the other way

Even Egypt—our "moderate" ally that subsists on $6 billion in U.S. bribe money not to wage war on its neighbor—regularly imprisons political dissidents, executes sexual "deviants," and runs state-funded television shows that would give Nazis pause.

Hey, I guess Egypt is "moderate," compared with Sudan.

Our nation should not be in the business of imposing our values on other cultures. We can't. Our values not only diverge but also are, most often, antithetical. And let's never pretend there is anything "mutual" about a call for respect. The deep and fanatical hatred of America flourished decades before the Iraq war or George W. Bush. Islamic leaders have long blamed their own societal corrosion on the West.

Obama promised to transform American foreign policy. He was elected to do so. So he used his first chance to make an impression as president by apologizing for imaginary crimes against Islam and employing a tone of subservience rather than defending our principles.

Not surprisingly, the more "thoughtful" among us immediately embraced the president's self-flagellation in front of some of the world's worst offenders of human rights as a constructive approach. As a geopolitics ploy … well, we'll see what happens.

But there is undoubtedly nothing thoughtful about offering a false choice. To wage war or to offer respect? We can avoid both. We should.

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Denver Post and the author of Nanny State. Visit his Web site at www.DavidHarsanyi.com.

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  1. Why should we “respect” the Saudis?

    Because they are still useful to us as an oil exporter.

    Next question?

  2. Yo, Obama’s not a very good president.

  3. ed,

    I’m pretty sure the Saudis will sell us oil whether the Prez bows or not.

  4. Good article.

    An Islamist theocracy is an Islamist theocracy – whether its ostensibly a Saudi monarchy or an Iraqi “democracy”.

    First article of Iraqi Constitution – “No law may contradict Islamic law”.

    The Iraqis just formalized it.

  5. Because they are still useful to us as an oil exporter.

    If you’re the world’s biggest superpower, you should be able to simply do business with these creeps and skip the blowjob.

  6. *stands and claps*

    The Magic Kingdom is a sandbox largely populated by sexually repressed, lazy men and their virtually enslaved female relatives.

    Every time I feel homesick for the place, I just about sprain something trying to kick myself.

  7. Apparently the Obama-haters are making a big fuss over this bowing thing, for some reason.

    I don’t particularly care for bowing either, but don’t we have a few million bigger issues to worry about in this country? I get annoyed when seemingly intelligent people go to such lengths to portray non-issues as being somehow important.

  8. I agree with the general sentiment but I don’t quite buy the venom. I also disagree about “imaginary crimes against Islam”. The crimes the U.S. has committed overseas as a substitute for foreign policy absolutely are substantial and measurable, whether supporting genocidal dictators, guerilla wars, or convenient terrorists who happened to be harassing communists at the time. Many of those crimes have lead directly to the suffering of Islamic people, and according to their religion that means other Islamics are thereby obligated to fight against us. If you ask me if I think that’s fucking stupid on a dozen different levels, I’ll answer emphatically yes, but to claim that they have imagined these offenses is ignorant at best.

  9. Contrary to popular belief, as a percentage of the U.S.’s total oil, the Middle East ranks pretty low. So then, why are we kissing ass and intervening so much? Response to 9/11 aside, I don’t get it, and I’d welcome us washing our hands of the whole region. Let Europe and Russia play their games there, while we worry about things that are more central to our interests.

  10. The Magic Kingdom is a sandbox largely populated by sexually repressed, lazy men and their virtually enslaved female relatives.

    Wow, Disneyland has really changed since I was there last year.

    The bowing doesn’t bother me as much as Bush and the hand holding. A quick bow when in a foreign land vs. strolling hand in hand with a dictator through of White House Rose Garden?

  11. I don’t particularly care for bowing either, but don’t we have a few million bigger issues to worry about in this country?

    Mr. O made it an issue by failing to grasp basic diplomatic protocol, or worse, grasping it but being unable to stand as President of the country that elected him. There do seem to be more immediate issues than fussing over one gaffe in the Obama World Pander Tour 09, yet these things are important. At best this incident represents a lack of preparedness, at worst a basic disregard for the country he is representing.

  12. Apparently the Obama-haters are making a big fuss over this bowing thing, for some reason.

    I think it encapsulates so many things that have been bugging Obama-haters (and reluctant Obama-dislikers such as myself): the administration’s incompetence and/or failure to noticeably advance up the learning curve, Obama’s and many Democrats’ readiness to blame the U.S., the administration’s arrogance (in denying that it was a bow).

    Plus, it’s the kind of thing that anyone with eyes can easily grasp.

  13. Contrary to popular belief, as a percentage of the U.S.’s total oil, the Middle East ranks pretty low.

    So where do we get the majority of our oil? I have always thought if all the oil in Iraq dried up tomorrow, our government would pull all the troops out as soon as possible. You’re saying that we’re there solely for democracy and trying to instill the American way of life on Iraqis independent of them having a fossil fuel connection? I don’t buy it.

  14. Contrary to popular belief, as a percentage of the U.S.’s total oil, the Middle East ranks pretty low. So then, why are we kissing ass and intervening so much?

    The people have generally been more OK with bombing brown people and stealing their resources than bombing Canada to do the same.

  15. While it’s true that we get more oil from Mexico, and Canada than the Middle East, the oil market is a global thing. That’s why Iran can have an effect on our oil supplies even though we don’t purchase any directly from them.

    Anyway, IMO this is just a continuation of Bush’s policies when he went begging for oil when gas prices where high. It won’t be till we develop a national energy policy and get off foreign oil that things change.

  16. The real outrage is that the Obama Dep’t of Justice is continuing Bush’s stance on warrantless spying. Since neocons love that stuff, they harp on the stupid bowing story.

    I wrote about this after the EFF’s newsletter and blog discussed it.

  17. do business with these creeps and skip the blowjob

    I’m on board with that, Mitch. But I’m not a million-dollar Administration advisor, so my opinions count about as much as those of the black White House shoe-shines.

  18. Sorry, Rick H.
    Blowjob ref all yours.

  19. He wasn’t bowing to the King of Saudi Arabia, he was bowing to one of the Illuminati. They are the ones who put him in power and he knows it.

  20. We have reasons for meddling in the Middle East, but protecting our oil shouldn’t be central to that. We get something like 17% of our oil from the entire region. We produce a lot of our own oil, then Canada, Mexico, Nigeria, Venezuela, and other countries outside of the Middle East make up the difference.

    Even if we said buh-bye to the region, it’s not like they’d stop taking our money when we wanted to buy oil, so it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition.

    Frankly, I think we got into this role because of the Cold War and out of an interest in preserving Europe’s access to this oil. Even today, we’re nervous about leaving the region to Russia’s tender mercies. That’s a legitimate concern, but I think Europe can hold its own there, provided that we make it clear to them in advance that the region is their concern, not ours.

    Also, of course, we could just all acknowledge that what happens there is the business of the countries there, and stop meddling, period. They need us far more than we need them.

  21. Lamar,

    I saw that. Like I’ve said all along, the Democrats aren’t going to make any substantive changes in the bad Bush policies and assertions of power. You see, now the neat toys are in their hands, so why not use them?

    This is why objecting to who has power rather than to the abuse of power by anyone is foolish.

  22. The real outrage is that the Obama Dep’t of Justice is continuing Bush’s stance on warrantless spying.

    But look at the principled stance he took on telecom immunity, Lamar!

    Oh, wait…

  23. When he starts holding hands with them I just might throw up in my mouth a little, cliche notwithstanding. Diplomacy is often repugnant. I leave it to the experts and hope for the best.

  24. Barack Obama has no business

    That’s yer problem. Right there.

  25. I know, Pro, but I have to at least point it out. Plus, I like the folks at the Weekly and they could use another point of view every now and then.

  26. “But look at the principled stance he took on telecom immunity, Lamar!”

    Obama’s stance on both telecom liability and gov’t spying has been, shall we say, “wide”.

  27. Pro,

    I don’t get the whole we have to kiss the Arabs ass because we need their oil. What are they going to do with the stuff if not sell it to us? Drink it? They are more dependent on us for a market than we are on them. That is why the Saudis always get nervous when the price of oil spikes. The last thing they want to do is get the price too high and give us a reason to stop buying the stuff. The Devil himself could run the middle east and he would still have to sell us his oil.

  28. “Obama’s stance on both telecom liability and gov’t spying has been, shall we say, “wide”.”

    Actually it has been his civil libertarian supporters’ stance that has been wide. Obama’s stance has been very forceful and from behind ramming it home to those supporters.

  29. But I am sure he will respect them in the morning and give them a kiss Lamar.

  30. “””So where do we get the majority of our oil?””

    Canada and Mexico.

    “””Frankly, I think we got into this role because of the Cold War and out of an interest in preserving Europe’s access to this oil. Even today, we’re nervous about leaving the region to Russia’s tender mercies. That’s a legitimate concern, but I think Europe can hold its own there, “””

    I do think it was a result of the cold war, but I also think it has something to do with being the world power. A world power must have major influence almost every where be it via of hard or soft power. That, of course, is linked to the cold war philosophy of our world influence must be greater than Russia’s.

    “””The real outrage is that the Obama Dep’t of Justice is continuing Bush’s stance on warrantless spying. Since neocons love that stuff, they harp on the stupid bowing story. “””

    Of course.

  31. We’ve gotten wussy, that’s the problem. Why bow to the Arabs? Why kowtow to the Chinese? Even today–even today–we are the 800 pound gorilla in both of those relationships. In fact, our relative advantages are so huge, you’d think we’d be dictating terms rather than kissing ass. We can have shit made cheaply elsewhere, and we can buy oil from all sorts of places.

    Trickyvic,

    True enough. We’re the superpower, so we must do superpowery things on occasion. There is a valid argument that we’re ensuing a kind of Pax Americana.

  32. “We can have shit made cheaply elsewhere, and we can buy oil from all sorts of places.”

    Exactly. Further, I really hate the T Boone Pickens canard about our buying oil being a transfer of wealth. Bullshit. We buy that oil and use it to make a great economy. They sell the oil and get nothing but the ability to buy shit we make. If I were a Saudi I would be complaining about my country selling our raw materials and letting other countries exploit it.

  33. “Obama’s stance has been very forceful and from behind ramming it home to those supporters.”

    He wouldn’t have been able to ram it home with such force if he didn’t have a Holder.

  34. Touche Lamar Touche

  35. “The people have generally been more OK with bombing brown people and stealing their resources than bombing Canada to do the same.”

    Hmm. Canada. Good idea.

    P.S. Great phony outrage. I see you’ve studied your George Carlin tapes.

  36. They sell the oil and get nothing but the ability to buy shit we make.

    Don’t forget all that starchitecture.

  37. *snickers, hides behind desk and waits for warty*

  38. “””If I were a Saudi I would be complaining about my country selling our raw materials and letting other countries exploit it.”””

    Like us selling raw materials to China then buying a shitload of Chinese made products?

  39. “Like us selling raw materials to China then buying a shitload of Chinese made products?”

    What raw materials do we sell to China? Timber maybe? Certainly not oil. Food perhaps. But what else?

  40. Free trade > unfree trade.
    Individuals should be allowed to trade with the Saudis, no matter how personally repugnant we find that regime.


    I just felt that the Standard Libertarian Disclaimer needed to be said this time.

  41. China Imports from U.S.

    Of the $55.2 billion in American exports to China in 2006, the following product categories had the highest values.

    Semi-conductors ? US$5.9 billion (10.6% of China from U.S. imports, up 74.7% from 2005)

    Civilian aircraft ? $5.3 billion (9.6%, up 39.7%)

    Soybeans ? $2.5 billion (4.6%, up 12.5%)

    Plastics ?. $2.2 billion (3.9%, up 18.8%)

    Raw cotton ? $2.1 billion (3.7%, up 47%)

    Industrial machines ? $1.97 billion (3.6%, up 29%)

    Copper ? $1.86 billion (3.4%, up 99.7%)

    Computer accessories ? $1.82 billion (3.3%, up 27.5%)

    Aluminum ? $1.7 billion (3.1%, up 90.3%)

    Steelmaking material ? $1.69 billion (3.1%, up 11.9%)

    “””http://internationaltrade.suite101.com/article.cfm/top_chinese_exports_imports”””

  42. Apparently the Obama-haters are making a big fuss over this bowing thing, for some reason.

    Not a big fuss here. BUT the President of the United States should bow before no man. Fuck monarchies. Does he bow to the King of Tonga* next? How about the deranged midget in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea?**

    It does piss me off. The entire House of Saud can kiss my royal American ass and I don’t like my president bowing to the medieval scumbuckets.

    * A nice guy king*** who, unlike QE II, actually rules.
    ** Hereditary dictatorship. Yeah he’s a fucking monarch.
    *** All things being relative.

  43. In Iraq-a country propped up by American lives and generosity

    Seriously? I expect better discourse from Reason.

    Putting aside the fact that Harsanyi’s nitpicking about diplomatic protocol, I used to count on the fact that I’d disagree with half of what you guys printed, but I also knew that at least I’d come away with a better understanding and respect for a point of view that was often different from my own.

    I can’t respect anyone who seriously thinks we’re being “generous” to Iraq, or who fails to recognize the very simple math that would show even the dullest fourth grader that the situation there now (as difficult as it might have been pre 2003) is entirely our doing.

    At the very least you could stick to your principles and tell me that 600+ billion is graft and not “generosity.”

  44. We can have shit made cheaply elsewhere, and we can buy oil from all sorts of places.

    Considering the way the scum in DC is turning this country and it’s economy into a land of paupers, one will soon be able to have shit made here cheaply as well. Of course, the only ones able to buy it will be government employees and others who get the funny money first.

  45. Well said, Harsanyi.

  46. “”””Considering the way the scum in DC is turning this country and it’s economy into a land of paupers…”””

    Who’s going to buy our debt when China stops? Maybe Obama is paying it forward by showing a willingness to kiss ass.

  47. Who’s going to buy our debt when China stops?

    I suppose that depends on what you mean by buying our debt. China essentially is selling us manufactured goods on credit. It isn’t going to stop unless a better market can be found. In fact, China doesn’t dare stop, because it would put too many of its own people out of a job. Eight or nine percent unemployment in a country of three hundred million is one thing, but in a country whose population is well over one billion it is quite another. The last thing an authoritarian regime wants is to have a hundred million people or so out of work and no longer able to enjoy the relative prosperity they’ve become used to over the last thirty years. The government of China is probably even more afraid of torches and pitchforks than our own.

    So China is stuck with having to accept our paper dollars. What are they going to spend them on if not T-bills, bonds, etc.? What else is there to buy with them? Political influence? Ask the Clintons.

  48. Maybe Obama is paying it forward by showing a willingness to kiss ass.

    Yeah, I’d agree he’s definitely showing a willingness to kiss Islam’s ass. I notice he didn’t bother to bow to that old white woman in England, though.

  49. Don’t particularly care, but can we finally put to rest the notion that Obama is especially sophisticated in matters of foreign policy or even the smaller diplomatic graces? It’s just the “Intellectual President” drumbeat gets old after awhile.

  50. it’s gonna take more than this, econ. Maybe a hostage crisis…oh, wait.

  51. I think the president is doin the best he can, and you should LEAVE BARACK ALONE!

    LEAVE HIM ALONE! I’M SERIOUS! YOU’RE LUCKY HE WAS WILLING TO BE YOUR PRESIDENT, YOU BASTARDS!

  52. I am disgusted that the president of the United States would bow to a tyrant, and I don’t see why we should treat any authoritarian dictatorship as legitimate. We can do business with Saudi Arabia without treating the king as anything more or less than a man with a lot of power to get us things that we want. All the same, when Harsanyi’s goes from saying that no right thinking American should bow to a despot, let alone the president of the United States, to the notion that we also shouldn’t respect Islam or Muslims, he pisses me off a lot worse than Obama does with the bow. Muslims are human beings who believe things that he doesn’t believe. Some of them do wonderful things, some of them do terrible things. Many of them live under governments that treat their people like dogs.

    But by saying that he thinks Muslim people are unworthy of respect, Harsanyi ignores the basic foundation of individual rights, that all human beings deserve respect. If the government of the United States of America goes around treating the practitioners of one religion with disdain, it’s not behaving in accordance with the principles set out by the Constitution and it is not a government that any Muslim should respect. If we’re going to be meddling with muslim countries and determining the course of muslim lives, the least we can do is give the people of those countries the respect due to any human being.

  53. Jorgen, you twisted what Harsanyi said way-all out of shape.

    What Harsanyi actually said, is pretty accurate. [good article btw, Harsanyi]

    But liberal Democrats are like that. “The enemy is not really our enemy, and it is our fault that they are our enemy if they were in fact actually our enemy.” We had to suffer listening to Democrats say that about the USSR for what, 4+ decades?

    What Democrats refuse to grasp is that, as Harsanyi points out, some ideological systems cannot be reconciled.

    Let’s sum up what this article says in simple terms: by and large Islamic countries suck.

    Anyone disagree with that summary of the article?

    And given what actually in fact does really happen in Islamic countries, Jorgen, I see zero substance behind your protest.

    Perhaps you haven’t taken your true meanings out of the closet just yet?

  54. The American flag is never dipped in salute first. The American vessel of war never renders honors to those who do not render honors to America.

    And yet here is our president bowing to a monarch. One that would make King George look like a Saint. What happened to “All men are created equal?” I would hope that the leader of a Nation of free peoples would not demean us all by bowing to anyone. Not the Queen of England, not the King of Tonga and certainly not the King of Saudi Arabia.

    I’ve been on the fence about Obama for a while now but his star is falling and falling fast in my eyes.

  55. Pro Libertate,

    We have reasons for meddling in the Middle East, but protecting our oil shouldn’t be central to that.

    I agree, for the very reasons you gave. However,

    Frankly, I think we got into this role because of the Cold War and out of an interest in preserving Europe’s access to this oil. Even today, we’re nervous about leaving the region to Russia’s tender mercies.

    That was all true in the past, I agree. But today there is a very different issue at stake that nearly everyone, it seems, is missing. Perhaps because Bush actually did recognize it, but then f***ed handling it so badly.

    Our real interest in Afghanistan today is none other than: making sure it’s not a safe haven for idiots like bin Laden to train the next generation of 9-11 terrorists. At this point, the same is true of Iraq.

    Problem is, we face this same risk with most of the Islamic countries on the globe today. Perhaps the only thing Bush proved is that, powerful as we may be, we’re still not Roman blooded enough to just conquer the Islamic universe. Which is about the only way to insure bin Laden types don’t find themselves a new home.

    I don’t know what the solution to this problem is, but Bush was right in recognizing that it is a problem. Too bad he didn’t leave us a solution that actually makes sense.

    but I think Europe can hold its own there

    Europe can’t hold its own anywhere anymore, because they don’t spend money on their miltary. They’ve got a welfare state to keep up and that’s expensive you know, and besides they can count on us to protect them (though they’ll bitch about how we do it).

    It’s a funny little truth, but diplomacy and foreign relations gets a whole big crap load more difficult when you don’t have any real military power backing you up. The French for one can’t stand their own global impotence, just to give an example, but do you think they’re going to change their priorities?

  56. Ahn Dee,

    I’d have said the same thing, but his star burned out in my world long before he got elected.

    WTF is Obama doing bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia? Let alone apologizing for shit.

  57. I agree with Harsanyi most of the time, but not this Hannity-O’Reilly bullsh*t.

    “In Iraq-a country propped up by American lives and generosity…”

    Those damn Iraqis are just so ungrateful for our invasion/occupation.

    “And instead of “respecting” Turkey, Obama might have taken the time to live up to his campaign promise to acknowledge last century’s Turkish genocide of 1.5 million Christian Armenians. He hasn’t.”

    Imagine if every world leader that showed up at the White House made a point of bringing up the USA’s defense of slavery long after most countries had given it up, or the treatment of Native Americans. We’d love that.

    “Obama promised to transform American foreign policy. He was elected to do so. So he used his first chance to make an impression as president by apologizing for imaginary crimes against Islam and employing a tone of subservience rather than defending our principles.”

    US agression against Muslim countries is not imaginary. Humility is not subservience. And preaching to anyone about human rights would elicit scorn and laughter.

    As for the bow, who gives a sh*t?

  58. Ebeneezer-

    1. Yesterday, the French had something to say about their “impotence.”

    2. We do not have the ABILITY to conquer the entire Islamic world. The United States military is just not up to the task. One of the reasons is that for all the money we spend on the military, most of it goes to fraud and waste and to pay intellectually inferior killers.

  59. Libertymike,

    Intellectually inferior compared to what? And no, most of the money doesn’t go to fraud and waste, that’s ridiculous.

  60. The New Dark Ages are upon us.

  61. I think Big Cat Kahuna hit it on the head– you can’t claim this is a “neo-con” issue, unless you’re willing to consider Machiavelli a neo-con. The bow is symbolic and important in many subtle, diplomatic ways. It telegraphs intention and position. When Obama acts– especially on the foreign stage– he is not acting as a private citizen but as the figurehead for the nation. It is pandering to bow and–I think– a display of weakness for the president to bow to any so-called world leader, especially a monarch.

    Further– I find it highly insulting for the white house and the media to continually try to persuade me that it wasn’t a bow, that 2+2=5. I’m not ready to move into doublethink in order to love the great leader. Unlike practically everybody I run into on a regular basis. (quick aside– I have a good friend who bought one of those stupid sheppard ferrey Obama silkscreens and he had it framed and placed in a prominent spot in his apartment–which made me feel physically ill).

    It’s pretty clear Obama doesn’t have much respect for the philosophic roots of a constitutional republic such as ours– let alone free-market principles– and I for one find it deeply troubling that he seems to prefer kowtowing to despotic monarchs rather than representing western democratic values when abroad.

  62. Art-P.O.G.-

    For starters, those of us who choose not to wear one of Caesar’s clown costumes.

  63. @Art: Maybe, maybe not. I saw a lot, and I mean a *lot* of ridiculous waste in the time I spent working for the DOD. Sure some of that missing money you hear about is going to black ops and secret research, but a lot of it is literally waste and fraud. For example, try 50,000 dollars to a local contractor to put up ~8 feet of chain link fence with a bicycle gate. The project took a year to complete and before it had even started it was already recognized that it was pointless, as the gate bypassed access control at the guard posts and therefore could not even be used. My opinion? Someone up the chain had golf buddy who wanted a new pool or a boat or something. That’s just a small example, anyway, a drop in the bucket compared to millions that went to waste every year in the area I worked.

  64. At least he didn’t try to get on his knees to please the king.

  65. Ha ha, OK Liberty Mike,

    Justen,

    I’m not saying there isn’t fraud and waste (I remember the scandal surrounding that hotel (at Ramstein IIRC), I’m just saying that LM’s comment was a gross exaggeration.

    P.S. Would this even be a scandal if that were the Burger King mascot?

  66. Of the 60 cross-border predator strikes carried out by the Afghanistan-based American drones in Pakistan between January 14, 2006 and April 8, 2009, only 10 were able to hit their actual targets, killing 14 wanted al-Qaeda leaders, besides killing 687 innocent Pakistani civilians. The success percentage of the US predator strikes thus comes to not more than six per cent.

    Thus, Mr.Harsanyi should not put Mr. Obama, Mr. Bush, the spineless U.S. Congress or anyone else leading this Country on a higher moral ground than the corrupt Saudi ruler.

    Why is Mr, H. so concerned about the supposed bow? Why not write about the 600 or so civilian deaths from the drones?

  67. “Islamic leaders have long blamed their own societal corrosion on the West.”

    Right. As if the West hasn’t played a massive role in the tyranny and ineptitude within Middle Eastern societies since the early-20th century through constant imperial meddling.

  68. I doubt it was Obama’s idea to bow or Bush’s idea to hold hands with the SOB. Someone convinces them that this is important to do. We need to know why.

    How many of our political leaders and generals are on the Saudi payroll? Most of them? All of them?

  69. Of the 60 cross-border predator strikes carried out by the Afghanistan-based American drones in Pakistan between January 14, 2006 and April 8, 2009, only 10 were able to hit their actual targets, killing 14 wanted al-Qaeda leaders, besides killing 687 innocent Pakistani civilians. The success percentage of the US predator strikes thus comes to not more than six per cent.

    Ten hits out of sixty is more like sixteen point seven percent – not six.

    As for the “innocent” Pakistani civilians – why should they be considered so innocent? They give safe harbour to the enemy. If their deaths are on anyone’s head morally, it is the enemy who comes out to take pot shots but then runs and hides among non-combatants. And if the government of Pakistan doesn’t like the US sending drones across their borders to take out al-Qaeda, it could get off its worthless ass and take care of al-Qaeda itself – as it has often pledged to do, and as it has accepted US financial aid to do.

  70. “In Iraq-a country propped up by American lives and generosity….”

    Oh, and what about the tens thousands that died after the US invasion? Mr. Harsanyi is a typical neocon shitbag.

  71. I’m more bothered by the “big lie” about Obama’s not bowing when we all saw him bow.

    His bow was a mistake. His claiming not to have bowed was not.

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