February 27, 2012

After reports of burned Korans, "a deadly chain of events that has not only inflamed tensions but possibly exposed a crippling weakness" in the Afghanistan exit strategy.

WaPo puts it this way:
The killing of the U.S. officers on Saturday occurred two days after a man wearing an Afghan army uniform fatally shot two American troops in eastern Afghanistan, the latest in a string of incidents in recent months in which local security forces have turned against NATO personnel.

Some of the killings have been perpetrated by Afghan troops whose loyalties lay with the Taliban. But, in most cases, the attacks have been the result of tensions between U.S. forces and Afghans who felt as though they had suffered an insult to themselves or their faith.
But Obama apologized. The article doesn't mention Obama. Only "Senior Obama administration officials," who, we're told, "have sought to reassure a war-weary American public that the NATO combat mission in Afghanistan would draw to a close by the middle of next year." The middle of next year, that is, after the election. We weren't supposed to be thinking about Afghanistan during the election season.

Here's the NYT article:
American officials sought to reassure both Afghanistan’s government and a domestic audience on Sunday that the United States remained committed to the war after the weekend killing of two American military officers inside the Afghan Interior Ministry and days of deadly anti-American protests.

But behind the public pronouncements, American officials described a growing concern, even at the highest levels of the Obama administration and Pentagon, about the challenges of pulling off a troop withdrawal in Afghanistan that hinges on the close mentoring and training of army and police forces.
This article does refer to Obama, his apology for the Koran burnings, and the impending presidential election — in the context of things Romney and Santorum said. Romney's comment is so bland, it's not worth quoting. Santorum, in what the NYT calls "harsh criticism," faults Obama for apologizing when the burning of the Korans was not an intentional display of disrespect.

Here's the full transcript of what Santorum said (on ABC's "This Week," i.e., the George Stephanopoulos show). Santorum, referring to the Koran burnings, says "a mistake was made, clearly a mistake, which we should not have apologized for."
[S]ay it's unfortunate, say that this is something that should have been done.... But to apologize for something that was not an intentional act is something that the President of the United States... suggests that there is somehow blame, this is somehow that we did something wrong in the sense of doing a deliberate act wrong. I think it shows that we are -- that I think it shows weakness. I think what we say is, look, what happened here was wrong. But it was -- it was not something that was deliberate, and we are -- we -- you know, we take responsibility for it. It's unfortunate. But to apologize, I think, lends credibility that somehow or another that it was more than that.
Do we have any actual experts on Afghan culture who can tell us what apologies mean to Afghans? Obviously, we have trouble understanding what counts as a manifestation of disrespect and why it inflames the Afghan people to such a degree, or whether it's bogus inflammation used as an excuse for violence, so I have no confidence that Obama or Santorum is any good at predicting the effect of apologizing or not apologizing on the events in Afghanistan.

Both of them seem to take a position on apologizing that has to do with their American cultural values. As Americans, we can talk about the meaning of apologies and form opinions about whether Obama or Santorum has the better philosophy. But choosing a President, I want someone effective at doing what is in American interests around the world.

Obama came into office claiming some special insight into how we are perceived in other countries, and he made us feel that he would improve these perceptions. This has not happened.

Santorum offers a different approach. Perhaps reciting and adhering to clearly stated American values would work better than Obama's apologies for America. But I don't see any special understanding or expertise in either of these men. They are just 2 American men behaving according to their instincts and ideology.

157 comments:

Matthew said...

I thought apologies were specifically "for something that was not an intentional act."

I think that Obama was right to have apologized here. We did something that offended people; we need to explain why it was done and apologize.

We can then go to the nitty-gritty and ask them for acceptable ways to deal with books that have been defaced with potential coded language, but, in general, apologies are meant to deal with offenses you did not mean to give.

Jay said...

Obama came into office claiming some special insight into how we are perceived in other countries

Which you believed.

and he made us feel that he would improve these perceptions

No, not "us," people like you who voted based on race.

This has not happened.

I'm shocked by this development.

Pogo said...

They detect weakness, and exploit it.

It has worked thus far in the EU. Why not here?

AJ Lynch said...

I was watching CNN yesterday around 3PM and saw their news break where they give viewers the top news stories of the day. They failed to mention the killing of the two officers. Yet they did report the vital news that Nelson Mandela had been released from the hospital.

Bob Ellison said...

There's a simple way out of this. Put a Koran, a Bible, a Talmud, and whatever else we can think of inside an Olympic-style torch device, way up high up some steep steps. Put a Muslim, a Christian, Jew, etc. at the bottom, and get that guy who shot the arrow into the Olympic 1992 flame loaded up. Whoever comes out alive wins. Maybe everyone comes out! Depends on the athletes.

Jay said...

Do we have any actual experts on Afghan culture who can tell us what apologies mean to Afghans?

Given the fact that the rioting has escalated after Obama, Jay Carney, Hillary! and other government officials apologized, I think we get the jist of it now.

Let's defund apology czars & "experts"

Rusty said...

Matthew. Then the commander on the ground should have given the apology, not the president.
The current resident is real quick to apologize for any slight real or perceived. I think it points to a very flawed character.
We have spent a lot of lives and not a small amount of treasure on that shit hole, it's their turn to suck it up and let it go.
It's not like it was the only copy.nfrop

Chip S. said...

Send the Great Orator to Afghanistan to calm everyone down with his brilliant rhetoric.

Or does that only work on people predisposed to believe what he says?

Matthew said...

"We have spent a lot of lives and not a small amount of treasure on that shit hole, it's their turn to suck it up and let it go.
It's not like it was the only copy."

None of that matters, if it honestly was not meant to offend these folks.

Also, the President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. It is perfectly legitimate for him to issue an apology for those serving under him, especially if it is going to go to another head of state.

I dunno, this might be part of my squishy RINO moderateness showing through, but I think the only people to get any blame for this should be the people shooting other people.

I somehow doubt fewer people would be getting shot if an apology was not issued.

Jay said...

Obviously, we have trouble understanding what counts as a manifestation of disrespect and why it inflames the Afghan people to such a degree

Actually, we do not.

See, it isn't at all complicated.

Islamic scripture categorizes infidels as equivalent to “urine, feces, semen, dead bodies, blood, dogs, pigs, alcoholic liquors,” and “the sweat of an animal who persistently eats filth.”
...
Abdul Sattar Khawasi — not a member of al-Qaeda but a member in good standing of the Afghan government for which our troops are inexplicably fighting and dying — put it this way: “Americans are invaders, and jihad against the Americans is an obligation.”


They believe you are unclean scum and the desecration of their "holy book" is an insult of the highest order.

But let's carry on like Mr.Magoo looking for clues as to what might upset them.

Michael said...

Matthew: "I think that Obama was right to have apologized here. We did something that offended people; we need to explain why it was done and apologize."

Here is "why it was done": It was a MISTAKE. It was not done on purpose.

And by the way, what kind of bullshit "religion" acts this way over a book? Burn a thousand Bibles and no one, not one soul, will be killed as a result. See the difference? Even if the thousand Bibles were burned by accident.

roesch/voltaire said...

After ten years of occupation one would think that the military had learned enough about the culture to know how easily the average Muslim likes to take offense to a non-believer burning the Koran. While I think this plays into the too common narrative of the West insulting Islam, I think Obama had little choice but to apologize given the impossibility of our continual occupation if the vast majority of Afghans turn against us-- that this is now happening shows just how futile our efforts have been. And it should serve as a lesson to those who call for more empire expansion in the MIddle East as though it is a simple as dropping a few bombs will solve the matter.

Jay said...

Oh, from the NYT:

Within a few hours of learning about the episode, General Allen ordered an investigation, and by day’s end he issued an order for every coalition soldier in Afghanistan to complete training in the next 10 days in “the proper handling of religious materials.”


Don't you feel better now?

Jay said...

roesch/voltaire said...
After ten years of occupation one would think that the military had learned enough about the culture to know how easily the average Muslim likes to take offense to a non-believer burning the Koran


Could you point out where anyone in the US military or US government believes these people wouldn't take offense to burning the Koran?

edutcher said...

GodZero, after parrotting Pelosi Galore that A-stan was the "real war on terror" while he was in Copngress, has done everything in his power to bring about this mess.

McChrystal, Zero's hand-picked man to run the surge, had to wait 9 months to even see the Messiah.

Zero shorted the troop list McChrystal wanted by 50%.

Zero announced we'd leave a year early.

He owns this and shouldn't be allowed to get away with it.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

This whole thing is completely idiotic. We need to remain in A-stan for awhile simply because it sits between two even more troublesome shit-holes, Iran and Pakistan.

My youngest son, as well as several military friends, have done multiple tours over there, so I've got at least a dog or two in that fight.

The real problem is this: How on earth do you train police and military when only 25% of them are literate? By contrast, you can't even enlist in the army of Uganda unless you have graduated from high school.

More to the point, at least 80% of Afghans can't even read the fucking Koran.

We've maintained an important naval base in Cuba for more than half a century against the wishes of a useless government. If the Cubans tried anything it would be a serious mistake, and they know it.

We should do the same with Bagram, supply it by air (which will be necessary once people figure out what we're doing) and defend it ruthlessly. Some places are too broken to fix. NRTS-9. Too bad about those women and girls, but we cannot take care of everything wrong with the world.

We can, however, look after our own strategic interests, which until Iran and Pakistan have been neutralized means maintaining a robust presence in Afghanistan.

As Giuliani demonstrated, the best way to deal with a Bad Neighborhood is to build a police station right in the middle of it.

Obama has squandered that option in Iraq, and if we're fortunate he'll be gone before he can do the same in A-stan.

phx said...
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phx said...
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Matthew said...

"Here is "why it was done": It was a MISTAKE. It was not done on purpose."

Which is why you apologize.

I agree; the response is outlandish and bad. The initial offense pales in comparison to what came after. That does not, however, lessen the fact that an apology was still warranted.

It just means that there are some bad people who need to be brought to account because they don't understand how to work things out civilly.

ricpic said...

Our federal government, including the military, is already infiltrated by CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood. Our state governments as well. Once that is understood there should no longer be any confusion as to the non-response or measured response or apologetic response to each and every muzzie insult and assault, including the murder of Americans.

edutcher said...

phx said...

All the polls I've heard about show that America stands much better under Obama than GW in the perception of people in foreign nations.

Link, por favor, 'cause that ain't what I've read.

WV "uslaw" Althouse's second love.

Chip S. said...

Did I miss the story about the Afghan apology for the two US soldiers who were murdered?

But then I suppose an apology isn't necessary, b/c it wasn't unintentional.

bagoh20 said...

You either are apologizing or at war - make up your mind. Nobody expects an invading force to apologize for damages unless that force has made it clear they open to that kind of manipulation. This kind of approach will lead to failure. If you are killing the inhabitants, the idea of apologizing for burning their books is insulting.

Jay said...

All the polls I've heard about show that America stands much better under Obama than GW in the perception of people in foreign nations.


Even if true, so what?

Please name the list of countries that refused to trade with the US or refused security guarantees or foreign aid under GW.

Oh wait, there were zero and such "polls" have no value?

GET OUT!

Hagar said...

The riots and suicide bombings in Iraq and Afghanistan are organized and financed by Iran and will increase to speed us on our way, since the Iranian government feel that our government is weak and they are winning.

In this case, it is right that our commander in Kabul should apologize - if what is said to happened is what happened - but it should have stopped there. Obama getting into the act just confirms to the rest of the world that the Iranian government has got it right.

Bender said...

Again with the damn "experts." Experience has shown, time and again, that the so-called elite "experts" that we are supposed to turn to like sages of wisdom are the most ignorant and stupidest people in the room.

How much expertise does it require to learn the lesson of appeasement?

Appeasement only encourages the enemy, appeasement only incites more conflict.

If there had been something to apologize for, some intentional wrongdoing, it might be a different question, but there is in this case nothing for the United States to apologize for, except of course under the Obama view that we should apologize simply for being ourselves. And all that Obama's world apology tour from a couple of years ago accomplished was contempt for the United States.

Henry said...

I don't think it matters what we say. An incident triggers riots and murders. After a while the riots and murders will subside. Nothing Obama or any U.S. official says will make any difference.

Obama and Clinton and General Allen may address their apologies to the Afghans but they know that their apologies are really for us. They need to assure U.S. citizens that they are doing the right thing.

Three years ago Obama based his critique of President Bush on the basis that we should be in Afghanistan rather than Iraq.

Hows that looking now?

rhhardin said...

American interest is preventing a large group of terrorists having a place to organize and finance something big, instead of, as they are now, watching their backs all the time.

Obama seems to be working that surprisingly successfully, so gets applause for that part. If he pulls out, probably that would be giving that up too. The nation building is a best option but not the only one. Staying and knocking off any organization of bad guys is the second best option.
Nation building isn't a necessity just a nice possibility.

Obama doesn't seem to be working very well in about everything else.

Muslims work by thuggery. The thugs take over and rule the non-thuggish Muslims. It wouldn't hurt if Obama understood that.

phx said...
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Bender said...

On the other hand, I'm surprised we're not seeing more people saying, "yeah, those militant Islamists are bad, but at least they're not Catholic, then we'd be having suicide bombings left and right against American troops."

Michael said...

phx: you do, indeed, apologize for bumping into someone by accident. But you do not follow them down the street, into the subway and across town apologizing for the same incident the whole way. You do not keep apologizing in the hope that the other will say "no problem."

phx said...
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Amexpat said...

The main criticism of the apology is that it hasn't stopped the rioting. Taliban sympathizers were going to exploited this incident for all its worth anyway. But, if an apology has a chance of lessening tensions by giving some support to Afghanis urging restraint, then it's worth doing.

As to the cultural aspect, isn't apologizing when making a mistake part of our values?

jimbino said...

Muslims who advocate killing people over a book are barbarians and should be prosecuted in the name of human rights.

There is no such thing as desecrating a book, a flag or a cemetery, since "sacredness" is an mere invention of the superstitious and religious and bears no relation to reason or reality.

Unfortunately, otherwise rational Westerners in general, and Amerikans in particular, have long subscribed to this magical thinking--thinking that involves finding certain artifacts of superstition to be "sacred," giving them a position superior to respect for free speech and other human rights.

Such magical sacredness has been ascribed to altars, cemeteries, dead bodies, funerals, flags, icons, American Indian bones, burial shrouds and even hills in South Dakota.

Having put up with and promoted this nonsense for so long, Amerikans can be seen to deserve the treatment they are getting at the hands of evil superstitious folks of a different stripe.

Jay said...

Amexpat said...
The main criticism of the apology is that it hasn't stopped the rioting.


Actually, that isn't it at all.

Matthew said...

Jimbino -- Respecting how other people live their lives (when they are not harming others), even when we don't agree with them, is the cornerstone of the American community. Your right to wave your hand ends at the tip of my nose, even if you wave it in a funny way I don't like.

To think that Americans should give up their traditions (or snub others traditions) is missing the point. Some things need to be stopped (the rioting), but simply saying "It's just a book!" misses the point entirely.

Jay said...

from Iowahawk's twitter feed:

If there's anything that charms 7th century illiterate cavemen who behead gay people in soccer stadiums, it's a nice heartfelt apology.

Still waiting for an apology from President Sososorry: the families of the 300 people killed by Fast & Furious guns.

garage mahal said...

Did I miss the story about the Afghan apology for the two US soldiers who were murdered?

Pretty hard to get worked up over a few books being burned when they blow up childrens schools and play soccer with people's heads.

Nice part of being an theist too. They're all just books!

Matthew said...

Jay: Obama's inconsistency is one of his many charms!

Jon Burack said...

I don't see how we can expect a president to understand how another culture will respond to an apology. Could even the most informed cultural anthropologist do that, given how context-dependent the response is likely to be? For instance, is the rage exploding over there now just an example of how Afghanis typically respond whenever someone accidentally burns a few Korans? I doubt it. This rage is politically generated, I believe. And I think it likely that what is fueling this rage in part is the very proclivity of a self-doubting society and its president to apologize for what it does not itself even believe merits an apology. That's the bottom line for me. You do not apologize out of any understanding of what the other culture expects, you apologize out of your own honestly felt remorse at what YOUR values tell you was a wrong. In this case, the entire world KNOWS that nearly all Americans, as well even as the president most likely, do not think for a minute this mistake merits any remorse. But they know we can be rolled and so they roll us. THAT is what I want my president to see and prevent.

Darrell said...

They weren't Qur'āns.
The four books were desecrated Qur'āns. Desecrated by messages written in them to be passed along to other prisoners and outside the prison. Get someone in the Obama administration that has brains and make them deliver this message nonstop.

This is faux outrage. That's why the Left understands it so well. I would have just said that the US printers made a mistake and used the pigskin cover. Then I would have destroyed them in private. But I'm not an expert.

jimbino said...

Wrong Matthew.

We militant atheist are far past the point of putting up with religious persecution wherever it rears its ugly head. We deny to superstitious folks the right to declare certain physical objects sacred and expect us to genuflect to such nonsense, particularly, as in the case of Muslim and Roman Catholic nonsense that has been used for centuries to persecute and kill atheists and agnostics.

This Muslim threat is a call to arms for all rationalists, atheists, agnostics, humanists and freethinkers.

Crimso said...

"As to the cultural aspect, isn't apologizing when making a mistake part of our values?"


Perhaps, but sometimes hewing to your values NO MATTER WHAT can be an attribute used against you.


“When I am the weaker, I ask you for my freedom, because that is your principle; but when I am the stronger, I take away your freedom, because that is my principle” Louis Veuillot

Matthew said...

"We deny to superstitious folks the right to declare certain physical objects sacred and expect us to genuflect to such nonsense, particularly, as in the case of Muslim and Roman Catholic nonsense that has been used for centuries to persecute and kill atheists and agnostics."

Of course, because denying them rights is the best solution to the problem.

Because it is always best to assume bad faith in all actors you disagree with, even the nonviolent, peaceful ones -- solely because you misunderstand the complicated tapestry of history with a video game/movie-esque view that bad things can be solely blamed on one thing.

But no, go on. Rant and rave about murderous theists. It makes you look intelligent and counter-culture. Don't let me stop you.

Lem said...

I have no confidence that Obama or Santorum is any good at predicting the effect of apologizing or not apologizing on the events in Afghanistan.

President Obama is good at inflaming the religious sensibilities of mild religions like Catholicism.. protestants..

Islam is maybe one more thing above his pay grade.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

I am skeptical that Afghans are angry at us because we unintentionally burned korans. If we hadn't burned the korans, the people set on killing us would merely have used some other excuse. I think if I were president I would point out that surely it is some kind of idolatry to kill American soldiers there because a few books were burned, books that already had been defaced and which were burned unintentionally or without proper procedures having been performed.

Apologizing for basically innocuous behavior to people trying to use such behavior as an excuse to kill us definitely seems weak to me. An innocent human's life is more sacred than any book, and it shows a lack of morality to allow one's behavior regarding such an issue to depend on local customs. Such idolatry is bad.

Apologizing for innocuous mistakes to people who have no intention of forgiving us gives a wrong impression, rather like forgiving people for things one has never been angry about. True, I'll apologize if (say) I accidentally put my vegetables in someone else's grocery cart right next to mine. But then, I haven't anything more substantial to apologize for. E.g., I haven't (accidentally) killed shoppers trying to protect them or otherwise. I think it transcends religious values for people to more want apologies for having wrongly killed their innocent people than for having accidentally burned defaced readily available books. If our government seems to put apologizing for destroying defaced books on the same plane as apologizing for occasionally taking innocent human life, they will just seem like a bunch of idolators with no principles that are irrespective of what is expedient, as one suspects those who are murdering us in the name of idolatry mostly are.

I think to ordinary Afghans if we try to behave according to the supposed principles of their most fanatical religious leaders rather than according to universal natural principles, e.g., that idolatry is evil and that life is sacred, we will seem amoral and unprincipled.

Ann Althouse said...

"All the polls I've heard about show that America stands much better under Obama than GW in the perception of people in foreign nations."

All the polls I've heard about show the opposite. But I'm not saying you are wrong.

Can you solve this conundrum?

It's easy: I haven't heard about any polls. Who polled the world? How is that done?

Please link to whatever it is you are referring to. What I'm referring to in the polls is the general opinion that seems reflected in events such as what we've seen in Afghanistan in the past week.

"And here's the other thing Althouse, apologizing for doing something wrong even if it was inadvertant IS an American value."

Read my post carefully and you see that is irrelevant to my point. I care about doing what actually works and is in our interest in the world. If apologizing fires up Afghans to defeat us because we are weak and lacking in resolve, then I'd say don't apologize. Stand firm on asserted principles. If that works! I want some expertise.

traditionalguy said...

What did Obama expect when he has announced that the Great Satan is no longer a player in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The Muslims hate infidels. We are infidels.

Once we were the infidels who were the world's hegemon with 80% of the military forces in the world and the will to use them.

After Obama's massive disarmament announcements and Obama's pulling out of Iraq for no reason, and Obama's announcement we shall pull out of Afghanistan next summer, who is fooled anymore. Not the Muslims. Only the Media narrative spinners in the USA.

The strong war horse is MIA. The Mohammedan Warriors are back in business.

We spent 7 years too many in the Afghan mountain valleys providing Human Target Practice for the Taliban and AlQaeda at no cost. It was a political decision that was insane at the time.

Obviously the Taliban are planning a huge retirement party for the remaining American Human Targets. The Koran burning incident is their opening shot.

jimbino said...

Matthew,

We have the historical examples of Galileo and Martin Luther, both persecuted by the Roman Catholic church and subjected to the penalty of death for what they said.

While Galileo, the first modern scientist, for chrissake, more or less apologized, Martin Luther called the pope an unremitting fart that stank all the way from Rome. He did not apologize, but prepared for war.

Fortunately, with help from equally bellicose friends and protectors, he won. The result is that we nowadays don't suffer such death threats from organized superstitious folk and only occasionally have to put up with farts from Rome.

phx said...
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Robert Cook said...

Glenn Greenwald has an article up at Salon that discusses why the Afghans are angry at the U.S.

Of course his article points out what is largely obvious, but the obvious seems perversely immune to being grasped by many Americans.

Lem said...

“When I am the weaker, I ask you for my freedom, because that is your principle; but when I am the stronger, I take away your freedom, because that is my principle” Louis Veuillot

Its ironic that someone who has so richly benefited from the acts of placation of racial sensibilities.. and of course is devoutly adherent to those "benevolent" tenets.. is severely impotent to placate the held fast sensibilities of others.

John Lynch said...

Leave. Afghanistan is hopeless. No purpose is served by being there. There will never be a functioning government and Afghanistan will spend centuries as a backwater.

All the terrorists are in Pakistan, anyway. It doesn't make us safer to fight in Afghanistan.

I think Obama realized this, but he escalated to avoid being accused of being a weak loser. Which is poor leadership- if he thought leaving was the right strategy he should have done it in the first place.

phx said...
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Jane said...

I am slowly changing my mind on Afghanistan. My usual response had been for many years, "we have to stay to protect these people, especially women, from the Taliban." Actions like this lead me to the conclusion that, for all practical purposes, they ARE the Taliban, in which case, the women and girls are screwed either way, but we can't occupy an entire country to protect the women from the men.

Nathan Alexander said...

One of the most important parts of leadership is perception management.

Obama is supposed to be a leader in the free world.

As such, apologizing for the burning of the Korans indicates that it was wrong to do it.

He should have managed expectations by saying something like:

"Islam is the religion of Peace. These Korans were defiled by those who wrote messages of hate and death on the pages of the Koran. As we know that no peaceful Muslim can bear the desecration of the Koran, we acted quickly to ensure that such desecration was quickly and completely eliminated. You're welcome."

It might not have worked...but it would have put any ensuing riots in the context of being wrong, and in betrayal of the idea that Islam is the religion of peace (or in confirmation that it isn't).

Muslims need to be put on the defensive for the actions of violence taken in Islam's name.

Nathan Alexander said...

@phx,
Cherry picking data does you no credit. Even another poll from the very same month of 2010 shows you to be wrong:
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/06/obamas-muslim-outreach-falteri.html

Not to mention it got even worse in 2011:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/checkpoint-washington/post/arab-worlds-views-of-us-president-obama-increasingly-negative-new-poll-finds/2011/07/12/gIQASzHVBI_blog.html

And as of last year, the opinion of the US under Obama was worse than 75% of the years under W in the years that data is available:
http://www.pewglobal.org/database/?indicator=1&country=233

How much you want to bet that it will be even worse when they do the poll in 2012?

phx said...
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Nathan Alexander said...

Yep, you are cherry-picking.
Because you ignore the other two.

I admit I mis-read the 3rd poll that I linked. I was in a hurry.

Did you mis-read the date of the pol you linked, or do you think that all that matters is what people around the world thought nearly 2 full years ago, in disregard of what they think now?

phx said...
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David said...

So sorry for the person I became.
So sorry that it took so long for me to change.
I'm ready to be sure I never become that way again
'cause who I am hates who I've been.
Who I am hates who I've been.


Reliant K.

damikesc said...

I notice the Left, as usual, does not hold non-white people to the standards of basic humanity.

"Sure, you poor folks can't control yourself when somebody burns a book your idiot compatriots vandalized. How can we expect more out of you?"

A single apology was moderately justified. Multiple apologies? Forget that nonsense.

LarsPorsena said...

The only thing that is shocking is that these killings have generated a thread. These kind of 'green on blue' killings have been going on since we've been in Afghanistan. There was an incident about six months ago where an Afghan officer killed 6 US advisors at an airbase.

William said...

If ever a people deserved to be lectured for clinging to their guns and religion, it is the Afghans....I don't think Obama has a particularly effective stategy for winning, but that might be because there really is no effective strategy for winning......I really believed that the Iraqis would greet us as liberators. Why not? That would be the rational response to the overthrow of a dictator who had led them into two catastrophic wars and killed dissenters by the hundreds of thousands. No such luck.....We're out of Iraq now, and we didn't take their oil. No occupation. No oil. They still hate us just as fervently and still continue to kill each other at a brisk rate.... The Muslim world is an extremely fucked up place. It's like trying to negotiate a property dispute with a neighbor who is a brain damaged paranoic, high on meth.....I suppose some solutions are worse than others, but all solutions are bad.

Hoosier Daddy said...

It's amazing the damage a teeny tiny insignificant percentage of the peace loving Islamic community can cause.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Glenn Greenwald has an article up at Salon that discusses why the Afghans are angry at the U.S..."

Poignant reading I'm sure.

phx said...
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Hoosier Daddy said...

"... I notice the Left, as usual, does not hold non-white people to the standards of basic humanity."

They never have. Rest assured that if a bunch of white evangelical Christians were self detonating and beheading 'heretics', the Left would be screaming bloody murder.

Bender said...

We have the historical examples of Galileo and Martin Luther, both persecuted by the Roman Catholic church and subjected to the penalty of death for what they said.

Yeah, that damn Catholic Church.

Of course, were it not for the Catholic Church, you all would be Muslim right now.

(You're welcome by the way.)

Regarding some arrogant, knows better than anyone else but actually got practically everything backwards, young ex-priest by the name of Luther, he and his fellow protest-ants were far more zealous and bloody than were those loyal to the Church.

With respect to Galileo, notwithstanding the best attempts by ignorant anti-Catholic bigots like the one here to libel the Church with false histories, the record shows that, if fact, Galileo was neither killed nor tortured. And after he did die, he was buried with honors in the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence, near the tomb of Michelangelo, and many elite Florentines.

Galileo was actually celebrated and congratulated by high officials of the Church for his theory, following Copernicus, that the earth revolved around the sun. In 1611 he travelled to Rome, where he was feted by cardinals and granted a private audience by Pope Paul V, who assured him of his support and good will.

In April 1615, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, Consultor of the Holy Office (a/k/a the Inquisition), wrote that: (1) it was perfectly acceptable to maintain Copernicanism as a working hypothesis; and (2) if there were “real proof” that the earth circles around the sun, “then we should have to proceed with great circumspection in explaining passages of Scripture which appear to teach the contrary.”

It was only after Galileo, a rather headstrong person, began demanding that everyone accept the Copernican theory without actual scientific proof that he started to get into trouble. (And It was not until 1838 that telescopes had progressed to the point of being able to observe the necessary stellar parallax and thereby scientifically prove the theory. By the way, Galileo was also zealous in his demands that people accept his theory that the planets orbit the sun in perfect circles, which Kepler and Jesuit astronomers had disproven.)

In addition to this belligerent insistence on accepting heliocentrism as established fact, Galileo made a much larger diplomatic error in then going beyond the realm of science and started telling some of the Biblical scholars and theologians (those that took a rather literal reading of scripture, as opposed to a more figurative one) that they were wrong, that they needed to reinterpret scripture. It was only after Galileo started to tell some of the theologians their business, that he knew more about theology than did they, that he began to earn the wrath of some in the Church. (Galileo even tried to confront Pope Paul V over the matter, but he referred the matter to the Holy Office.) And at the time of the first trial in 1616, following the trouble instigated by the protest-ants over, inter alia, the matter of scriptural interpretation, those theologians weren't too happy about a scientist telling them their business.

After the Holy Office essentially told him to settle down and quiet down, given his prior belligerence, Galileo could not resist later began alienating those who would have been his supporters, including Galileo's friend and supporter Cardinal Barberini, who was elected Pope Urban VIII.

That is the background of the Galileo affair. It is true that the Holy Office finally got fed up and after a second inquiry (during which he was housed with a personal valet in a luxurious apartment), condemned him as “vehemently suspected of heresy.” But it is also true that Copernicanism had never been declared heresy by the Magisterium, making such a condemnation unjust. And it was because the Commission had gone overboard that Pope John Paul II issued an "apology" of sorts.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Glenn Greenwald has an article up at Salon that discusses why the Afghans are angry at the U.S..."

I'm sure the Afghans are upset we are occupying their country after it was used as a base of operations by Al Queda, with the support of the Taliban to launch attacks on the US that killed 3000 people.

Michael said...

Phx. My point was that multiple apologies were made as a result of this incident, not one. The commander of those who made the mistake is who should apologize and it should stop have stopped there and the President, the Secretary of State and the guy who apologized to American Muslims! should have kept quiet.

And we note that we have yet to hear an acceptance of the multiple apologies.

phx said...
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The Crack Emcee said...

This is one of those "Keep crying and I'll give you something to cry about" moments. Obama's a fool.

Not as big as those who voted for him, but a fool none-the-less.

Wally Kalbacken said...

I think Newt was out front on this early with some very definitive criticism of Obama's apologies and he scored some points for Super Tuesday.

The recent Afghan trouble points out the same problem faced in Iraq - how do you know who to train? What indicators do you look at to separate the supposedly responsible Afghan police officer or army personnel who can be trusted, from the Taliban sympathizers who are merely lying low? I don't have a clue as to how that has been attempted, but it is clearly one of the critical questions. And intuitively, the difficulty in making that dichotomy, is enough to make me think that Afghanistan may not be worth the cost of trying to manage it.

Cedarford said...

edutcher said...
GodZero, after parrotting Pelosi Galore that A-stan was the "real war on terror" while he was in Copngress, has done everything in his power to bring about this mess.

================
Oh, please!!
Obama inherited that godawful steaming hot mess from Dubya.
How soon Edutcher and all the other Neocon tools forget the grand nation-building speeches of Dubya and his fellow idiots. Often made at SOTU speeches and State Dinners toasting their honored guest - Statesman and champion of the Noble Afghan Freedom!!! Lovers - Ahmed Karzai.

The Newt-like, grandiose idea was that only by 100s of billions in nation-building would we be "truly safe from another 9/11 that was the most Awful Enemy Attack - in All Recorded History - That Changed Everything!!!
If we didn't try making stone age, rabidly hateful of outsiders, Islamoid barbarians into prosperous middle class people with daughters "shed of their Burquas" attending university...

why, Bush and minions declared...We would Betray the Godlike Hero Cops and Firefighters and Heroes of Flight 93!!

Blaming Obama for that is like blaming Nixon for LBJ's Vietnam. With the obvious distinction that Nixon was far more intelligent and adroit than Obama has shown - in extricating America from THAT unwinnable mess.

The surge in Afghanistan has failed miserably, by the way. The ground commanders begging for more time, money and troops to "help the noble Afghan police and army make the transition to Freedom!!" - has been again shown as a delusional crock of shit.

Hagar said...

This is war - with Iran - not Afghanistan, and even religious wars always turn out to really be about power and wealth.
Every "religious war" I have ever read about have had a mixture of troops of the supposedly contending religions on both sides - or all sides; these things often turn into general conflagrations, and that is what we really do not want this to become, but most surely will if we do not prevail.

bagoh20 said...

OK, lets see the hands of those who thought an apology would make anything better over there. C'mon you think it's a good idea, so hows that working. Maybe we just need to apologize harder, have a national appeasement day or something.

When you revel in outrage, an apology is just more reason to be angry. It's like Obama is trying to steal their mojo, their anger, their power. They ain't gonna fall for that.

If you are an Afghan, and you want a little taken off the top, just tell your buddies that you respect Obama's apology. They got some brutal wedgies for a guy like you.

jimbino said...

Yo Hagar,

Who were the battalions when Buddhism began? Confucianism? Shintoism? The troops at Jesus's side? How about Martin Luther's army? Joseph Smith's? Hubbard's?

No, since 1095, when Pope Urban II called for a Holy War, it's been mainly bellicose Roman Catholics and Muslims who have called in armies and threatened persecution of everyone around who voiced objection to their superstitions.

Have you heard of Jon Hus or Bruno? You must be reading history books approved for Texas students.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Well its been about a half a millenia shy since the Church has been demanding the persecution of non-believers and heretics.

Levi Starks said...

I'm sure there's a blog site just like this one in Afghanistan, Where they are rationally discussing the Pro/con benefits of accepting the US apology.
And I just heard a few minutes ago that the US has agreed to put the accused "burners" on trial in a UN court. This is just so precious that it couldn't be scripted.

Firehand said...

I seem to remember Obama declaring A'stan "the war we MUST win." Repeatedly. Until he was in the Oval Office and began looking for ways to give up.

But not plainly and openly, oh no; then he'd be held responsible for the decision, and he doesn't like that. So we get halfway-measures so he can pretend he's trying to win.

I think we should've said to hell with A'stan three or four years ago and gone with the punitive-raid method: they cause US a problem, stomp those responsible into the dust, tell everyone else "Don't make us come back", and leave. But that would require politicians with the balls and integrity to give the orders, and we don't have very many of those. Damn sure don't in the White House.

jimbino said...

Yeah Hoosier Daddy,

It's been a half-millennium since the RC church has had temporal power stripped from it. There remains a threat to humanists and freethinkers should the Church ever regain power. They already control the Supreme Court, for chrissake.

You are right, however, in thinking that it is now Islam that presents the greatest existential threat to the world, because Muslims don't stop at persecution wherever they are in power, as in Saudi Arabia, and even the "moderate" Indonesia.

phx said...
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I Callahan said...

They already control the Supreme Court, for chrissake.

Right. The Supreme Court has Catholics, therefore the Catholics control the Supreme Court.

What a loon.

jrberg3 said...

"I know some on the right-wing think that's a good thing, but I seriously doubt it, not if they want to defeat Obama"

Why would you think that? Do you think this apology-fest has benefitted Obama? I think Americans are tired of the pandering to those who profess to practice the religion of peace!

"They already control the Supreme Court, for chrissake!"

And now we're off into conspiracy territory heh? That would be a good plot to a Dan Brown novel.

Bender said...

Hey jimbino -- what do you think of them Joos and how they control everything?

Chip Ahoy said...

It's the best of what they have. It's their identity. Yon said about Iraq, not Afghanistan, every household has a copy displayed prominently, black with gold letters, respectfully treated sacred object. Military are taught about that and they're usually predisposed anyway. But it is strange to learn in this thread that the population is 75% illiterate. Literacy most likely means ability to read the Koran. Imagine it, your greatest treasure is a book that you cannot even read.

And then you go poop in a pile in the corner while standing barefoot on the dry poop at the edges. Come out and complain about everybody who is purposefully without a copy of the book that you cannot read all being low-life wrong religion-having pig invaders.

Whatever that means, if true, it also means that they are 75% most likely would make the same mistake because they don't read Arabic either.

One of my Comparative Religions professors at Regis said you really must learn Arabic to read the Koran, then it was spelled Qurouurorurrranorurian or summat but I'm digressing, and that is why the Arabs, he was speaking about Arabs, prefer you learn the language first before studying the Koran. Then you would be able to really 'get' it. It's in the sound. He said. It ululates and undulates and punches and rat-a-tat-tats. He continued, the thing is, You're out there in the desert, oasis to oasis, and generally speaking there is nothing. Much of the aesthetic sense of beauty out there in the desert is focused on the language.

I don't know about any of that, I do know that I felt the same disappointment toward my copy of the Koran English as I do toward my copy of Book of Coming Forth by Day in English.

Worst of the worst, none of them pop up.

Michael said...

Phx. Thanks for thelink to the article. Greenwald has written an excellent Sophmore essay, really quite goodrecognizing he has had only four of five days to put it together.

Very impressive that he would point out the hypocricy of a country that criticises the violent reaction to the burning of a Koran, a country which itself almost, but didnt, make burning a flag a crime. Because if there is one thing a good sophomore does is to conflate and Greenwald does it as well as any high school thinker. False equivalency being the bulwark of lefty thought.

Nathan Alexander said...

@phx,
Yep, you are still the one cherry-picking.

This article, this entire discussion, is about the impact of Obama's actions in Afghanistan and the Muslim world.

It isn't as if the opinion of Tuvalans toward Obama mitigate the fact that Afghanis are killing Americans over the destruction of defiled Korans.

With data, specificity and recency trump old generalizations.

So go ahead and tout Obama's popularity with illiterate stone-age peoples in the Brazilian rain forest. It really doesn't apply.

jimbino said...

Right Nathan Alexander,

We have to admit that Obama needs to come out and announce what we all know to be true:

Islam is the enemy of mankind in Pakistan, Afghanistan and wherever it rears its ugly head.

It is Islam itself against which we need to declare and wage war, not the poor people of Afghanistan.

36fsfiend said...

"Obama came into office claiming some special insight into how we are perceived in other countries, and he made us feel that he would improve these perceptions."

Ann,

When did Obama make this claim?

As far as the standing of the US improving in the eyes of the world and your claim that this has not happened, this poll conducted by the BBC in 2010 seems to indicate otherwise.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/8626041.stm

Hoosier Daddy said...

I would not worry too much about a resurgent Vatican.

Kirk Parker said...

"...whether it's bogus inflammation used as an excuse for violence"

This.

Kirk Parker said...
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Kirk Parker said...

Matthew,

I completely disagree about an apology being needed. At the very least, we should have explained exactly why it was done, without the slightest hint of apology for having done so. Even better would be to have agressively thrown any questioners' bona fides back in their faces: "Oh, so you think it's OK for someone to deface the Koran in this manner? Hey Ummah!!! Ahmed Mohammed over here [x°y'z"N, y°y'z"E] thinks it's OK to deface Korans!"

phx said...
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traditionalguy said...

I love how the NYT always "unexpectedly" discovers another Obama disaster.

Who knew that going weak in place of staying strong would cause the Taliban which we have been killing for 10 years to ignore Biden's wishfull thinking that says they are really our friends and use Muslim Jihad tactics on us as we are running for the border?

But I doubt Drone Master Obama will use mass B-52 strikes like Nixon used to get the North Viet Namese's attention in 1972.

phx said...
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Nathan Alexander said...

@jimbino,
Nope.
Never said that, never implied it.

What we need to do is provide them with choices that highlight their own voluntary actions.

If they want to claim Islam is the religion of Peace, then we need to hold them accountable for that.

It's all about self-election. No need to call someone stupid if you have a long string of stupid actions to refer to. No need to call someone dishonest if you have a long catalog of lies from them. But you do stop treating them as if they were honest until/unless they completely demonstrate otherwise for a long stretch of time.

The bottom line: if you lie down with dogs, expect to get hit with flea killer.

36fsfiend said...

phx said...

"But it would be hard to argue that strengthening our position vis a vis the rest of the world, particularly Europe and Russia, is bad for the United States goals in the Middle East. I'd like to hear that argument."

I think the people of the Middle East have a low opinion of us because of our military actions in that part of the world.

I'm still interested in Ann's claim that Obama came into office claiming he some special insight into how we are perceived in other countries and that he made us feel that he would improve these perceptions.

Rick67 said...

@phx - Well yes under normal circumstances one would trust the president has top men advising him. Top. Men.

But we have reason to believe either (1) they aren't and/or (2) the president doesn't listen to them very well.

Excessive bowing. I'm all for adapting to other cultures but a small bow is sufficient in Japan. Top. Men.

Remember the incident with Russia and the "reset" button? Top. Men.

An iPod loaded with his own speeches? Top. Men.

Returning a bust of Churchill to Great Britain? What a colossal insult. Top. Men.

These are just a few examples of why we have reason to doubt the otherwise normal and default assumption that presidents have experts who advise them well on such matters.

It astonishes me that anyone can with integrity attempt to defend the astonishing incompetence of this administration.

Tarzan said...

If the wages of this 'war' include apology tours in response to reports of book burnings, then we really need to look more closely at exactly what the hell we're doing there.

I say torch the poppy fields and make doing so an object of drone attacks for the foreseeable future. Screw the 'poor farmers livelihood' or whatever the purported reason is we're guarding these things instead of torching them. Beyond that, get out and leave them to their own damn fate, with a warning that anything resembling a terrorist training camp will be met with the harshest terms and no warning.

Clearly the only way for these people to get out of the Dark Age they are currently in is to go through it. Not one single more American life should be wasted in the effort to secure or civilize this place.

phx said...
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Kirk Parker said...

36fsfiend,

"I think the people of the Middle East have a low opinion of us because of our military actions in that part of the world."


Hahahah hoho hehe he he he...

That was great! Now go ahead and pull the other one.

AJ Lynch said...

Chip Ahoy pointed out that every Afghan home has a Koran yet 75% are illiterate and so they can't even read it! That is hard to get your mind around if those stats are accurate. HTF do they know what the Koran really says?

36fsfiend said...

phx said...

“About the US military actions effecting public opinion of US in the MidEast - certainly it's had an effect. And it's not 100% one way or the other.”

phx,

We have been involved in the internal affairs of the countries in that part of the world in one way or another since the 1950s. If some country was involved in our affairs for that long, what would be our opinion of them?

“It's an extremely complicated position. But to say, for example, "We can't be sure of how our apology will be perceived by this other culture" and to use that as THE excuse for throwing doubt on Obama's handling of a pretty serious international incident is just a little weak. IMO it really smacks of partisanship. Maybe I'm wrong. But who cares, right? As long as we beat Obama.”

I don’t agree that Obama is making the country weak for apologizing for a mistake that impacts another country. It’s been done by other presidents in the past.

jimbino said...

Yo Al Lynch,

Every hotel and motel room in Amerika has a Bible and few Protestants and no Catholics have ever read one.

Hell, I've never met a Catholic who could explain the RC Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception or find basis for it in the Bible!

In fact, you can't find a discussion or prescription concerning anything resembling Amerikan marriage, gay or straight, anywhere in the Bible. The closest you can come is St Paul's admonition to stay single!

phx said...
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phx said...
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phx said...
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R. Chatt said...

I did read Glenn Greenwald's article, nothing exceptional about his anti-American slant at Slate. 

He does mention, almost in passing, ' “Americans are invaders, and jihad against Americans is an obligation,” said Abdul Sattar Khawasi, a member of Parliament..." ' but fails to acknowledge the deep importance of that tenet to Islam.

It's an obligation to destroy all non-believers, i.e., non-Muslims, if they are unwilling to accept Allah and Mohammed as his prophet.



Greenwald's mistaken point was that the current rage is the result of Afghan anti-American sentiment, pent up over 10 years of American occupation, and the accidental killing of civilians.



Really? Too bad the Afghans don't have the same degree of rage over the Taliban killing their children and raping their women. Indeed.



Apologizing to someone who hates you for being who you are and who has no interest in being your friend under any circumstances, is obviously pointless. That's kind of universal. It makes you look stupid and weak, which is what we have done.

OTOH, if the point of the apology was to make us in the US feel better, that's kind of insulting and pointless too, isn't it?

I agree, the commander on the ground should have issued a statement explaining that the Korans had been desecrated by extremist messages and were inadvertently mishandled. BTW, the problem wasn't that the Korans were burned, which is acceptable, but that they were mixed with regular trash. End of story.

Lem said...

good commentary Chip @ 1:23

Synova said...

I don't think that someone has to be an expert on Pashtun culture or Afghanistan to have a basic understanding that in many cultures and particularly *particularly* in honor based cultures, weakness is always always a bad thing to admit.

Admitting weakness and sin is Christian. Turning the other cheek, when it's the other guy who is wrong and you are right, is Christian. If someone were to make this mistake according to their OWN ideologies, it ought to be Santorum. But it's not.

Why not?

The right answer, frankly, would have been to IMMEDIATELY counter attack... the Korans were violated by the prisoners, being used for sending messages, they were written in and could not be returned to the prisoners. Sorry they weren't disposed of properly, but this problem will NOT reoccur because the prisoners. All of them. Will not have access to Korans again. Period.

Apologizing did nothing to stop anything, and may have been such a declaration of weakness that people thought they might be able to drive us out.

And you know... they may have been right about that.

phx said...
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Synova said...

"And I just heard a few minutes ago that the US has agreed to put the accused "burners" on trial in a UN court. This is just so precious that it couldn't be scripted."

This had better not be true.

Rick67 said...

@Synova - One thing I have observed in my (admittedly rather limited) study of Islam (in graduate school part of a PhD program in Middle East studies) that is often overlooked is what one scholar of Islam calls Muhammad's "theology of glory".

Many people are aware that the Qur'an contains several stories one also finds in the Bible (both Hebrew Bible and New Testament). Although generally similar there are some crucial and revealing differences.

One is that - to my knowledge, and perhaps I've overlooked something - in the Qur'an the prophets of G-d do *not* suffer defeat, shame, or humiliation. It's quite remarkable. Prophets in the Qur'an don't get thrown into prison or into pits, they aren't tortured and killed. They always triumph and their opponents always lose (judged, killed, destroyed, damned). This is one reason why yeah sure Jesus (Isa) in the Qur'an is a prophet, is Messiah, even born of a virgin (not all Muslims agree with this interpretation, but I think the Qur'an is clear on this point) but Jesus does *not* die a painful shameful death on a cross. In the Qur'anic worldview, that just can't happen to one of God's prophets. Paul's famous "God's power is made perfect in weakness" is completely alien to Islam and the Qur'an.

I hadn't thought of how this important characteristic of Islam/Qur'an (God - and his believers - must always triumph) might relate to *culture*.

Bender said...

I've never met a Catholic who could explain the RC Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception or find basis for it in the Bible!

You need to pay more attention. Please allow me to relieve you of just a little of your ignorance.

What is the "Immaculate Conception"?

Very simply, the doctrine states that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the “New Eve,” who was redeemed and given the life of the fullness of grace from the first moment of her existence, such that she was preserved from Original Sin at moment of her conception in the womb of her mother, St. Anne.

Why should Mary have been immaculately conceived?

When he appears to Mary, the angel calls her "Full of Grace," as if that were her name. (Lk 1:28) "Full of grace" describes not only who she is, but what she is. It was the fullness of grace that gave Mary the total freedom, unimpaired by the errors of sin, to say “yes” to God, in the fullness of her being, at the Annunciation and throughout her life.

In this way, Mary could be a proper and pure “living temple” for the Son of God in her womb. “She is the living house of God, who does not dwell in buildings of stone but in the heart of living man,” says Pope Benedict XVI.

Moreover, in Jesus, God literally merged into mankind, becoming small, defenseless, and vulnerable while dwelling within the Virgin Mary’s womb, in the most intimate of relationships. Just as the first Eve was formed out of the first Adam, so Jesus, Son of God and the new Adam, was formed out of the new Eve, flesh of her flesh, bone of her bone. (c.f. Gen. 2:23) Jesus being the Lord, like us in all ways except sin, it was necessary that His flesh be pure and without the stain of sin. Thus, it was necessary that she from whom His body was formed be pure and without the stain of sin, i.e. Immaculate.

Robert Cook said...

"Greenwald's mistaken point was that the current rage is the result of Afghan anti-American sentiment, pent up over 10 years of American occupation, and the accidental killing of civilians."

Greenwald's point is hardly mistaken, and in fact is entirely self-evident.

"Accidental killing of civilians"?

IF they're "accidental," the least one can say about them is that they are wanton and reckless. I hardly think Americans would be forgiving of proportionately equal "accidental" killing of civilians by an occupying force on American soil.

Bender said...

Now, an objection is raised by some Protestants that the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, that Mary was conceived without Original Sin, somehow equates Mary to God and is a denial of the truth that we can be saved only by and through Jesus Christ. However, such objections do not understand the doctrine, which states that the grace won by Christ on the Cross was applied to Mary in anticipation of this saving event.

But how could Mary be saved by Jesus if He wasn't even born yet when she was conceived and the Crucifixion and Resurrection did not happen until about 45-50 years after that?

Although it would be impossible to gain the benefit of something before it existed in time from a human perspective, we must remember that God is eternal.

For us humans, time is linear, with a before, present, and future. But time is not linear for Jesus Christ, rather, He is eternal, all moments in time exist simultaneously, and each moment endures in perpetuity. Thus, at Mass, the sacrifice of Jesus that we celebrate is not something that happened 2000 years ago, but is happening right now, in the present. He is forever on the Cross, forever rising from the dead. And, just as that saving event extends "forward in time" for us, so too does it extend "backward in time" for Mary. Jesus is eternal, so when Mary was conceived, the Crucifixion and Resurrection were happening for Him.

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception, like all of the Marian doctrines, really says more about Jesus than it does about Mary herself. That is because, in all things, just as when she said at Cana, "do whatever He says," (Jn 2:5) Mary always points us toward her Son.

But, at the same time, Mary also points towards ourselves. Or, more accurately, she points us to the people that God intended and intends for us to be. She is the "new Eve," the new mother of all of those who are truly living, that is, those who have eternal life. Just as her bodily assumption into heaven anticipates the resurrection of the body of all of the faithful, even if we ourselves will not be bodily assumed into heaven, so too does her immaculate conception anticipate our own "conception" into eternal life, a life full of grace in communion with He who is Love and Truth.

Although the faithful have professed a belief in the Immaculate Conception since the earliest days of the Church, and it has long been a feast day on the Church calendar, still it was not until 1854 that the doctrine was "formally" stated. That the dogma was not declared until that late date does not mean that it is a new teaching, to the contrary, it is because it has been the understanding and belief of the Church throughout the millenia that it could be formally ratified as doctrine.

See Ineffabilis Deus (Apostolic Constitution on the Immaculate Conception), His Holiness Pope Pius IX, December 8, 1854

I ♥ Willard said...

I'm very glad to see that we Republicans have finally discarded the "personal responsibility" message we've been pushing for a couple of decades. I think everyone will be relieved to know that mistakes don't require apologies anymore.

I can't wait for the Catholic Church to get up to speed on this revision too.

I ♥ Willard said...

My last CAPTCHA reminded me of one of the great names from the world of sports: Uwe Blab.

Synova said...

phx, you're an excellent example.

Firstly... I did not say "foreign cultures."

Secondly... why did you? Why is "foreign cultures" a single set? Is it a single set in your mind? If it is, perhaps you should consider that you are *wrong*.

Thirdly... apologizing may be a good idea, and it may not be a good idea. It depends on the context. And if it depends on the context it depends on believing that there is more than a single context.

This is not about what I learned was right in my Judeo-Christian culture from my Mommy when I was four.

This is about what some fellow in a different culture learned from his Mommy when he was four.

I realize that many people don't want to admit how Christian-informed our culture is so maybe they simply HAVE to believe that their values are some sort of universal constant.

If you err, the proper thing is to issue an apology? It depends where you live.

We use apologies to stave off conflict. Others *may* see an apology as confirmation that conflict is necessary because a wrong must MUST be answered.

The right thing to have done is to emphasize that the Korans were desecrated and that the disrespect was on the part of the prisoners.

phx said...
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phx said...
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jimbino said...

Yo Bender,

I didn't intend to imply that either I or Wikipedia were ignorant of the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, only that the vast majority of Roman Catholics are.

Synova said...

"Jesus does *not* die a painful shameful death on a cross. In the Qur'anic worldview, that just can't happen to one of God's prophets. Paul's famous "God's power is made perfect in weakness" is completely alien to Islam and the Qur'an."

Exactly.

Talk to anyone who has worked in the middle east and they'll explain that you don't back down if you expect to get along with your co-workers. Granted, if you then say "yes, and it works that way at the government levels" they might not make the conceptual leap, but it's true.

In one culture, humility may signal strength. In another it signals weakness.

In one culture a person might not ask you to explain, if they don't understand, because they don't want to be thought dumb. In the Philippines a polite person doesn't ask you to repeat yourself because it's insulting to *you* to imply that you don't speak well.

Why would anyone assume that an apology is automatically the right thing to do in order to calm people down?

Bender said...

In fact, you can't find a discussion or prescription concerning anything resembling Amerikan marriage, gay or straight, anywhere in the Bible.

You can find it. If you look real, real hard. Where is it? Well, you might try looking at the very first page of the Bible --
In the beginning . . . God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness . . . So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female He created them.
-- Gen. 1:26-27
and
Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
-- Gen 2:22-24

Now, I could go on and on and give a thorough exposition on the Theology of the Body and related teachings, complete with biblical exegesis on the nature of marriage, but this proves the point, I think.

Still, if you wish to learn more, you may find it here.

Synova said...

Sorry, phx. I don't know how I misread what you wrote that bad.

phx said...
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Bender said...

What does Wikipedia have to do with anything?

By the way, I didn't mean to imply that YOU were ignorant. Rather, I meant to state very explicitly that you are ignorant and have repeatedly proven that you don't know what the hell you are talking about.

phx said...
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jimbino said...

Yo Bender,

It seems one of your group of Creator-Gods was a woman. OK, but where is the marriage ceremony, the "till death us do part," the white dress?

And what do you say about the subsequent incest in the family? And all that polygamy of the patriarchs?

I guess that, if you believe in talking snakes and donkeys, you can believe anything.

Bender said...

Yo, Lemmiwinks, do yourself a favor. Instead of continuing to burrow further and further, just stop.

William said...

Exterminate the brutes. That's the problem. Go on one of these civilizing missions and you're more apt to end up brutalized than they are to end up civilized....I think most Americans have reached a level of frustration and anger at the Afghans and their government that makes our continued presence dodgy. I don't imagine the average Afghan wants to relive those happy days of Taliban rule, but, on the other hand, they don't seem too eager to embrace our presence or values.....Some Afghans are going to lose big if we withdraw. Why aren't they organizing counter demonstrations against the protestors?....They've been living in ignorance, poverty, and brutishness for centuries. It is quite easy to conquer Afghanistan. See Tamerlane and Genghis Khan. The harder problem is to come up with a reason to want to conquer Afghanistan.

Nathan Alexander said...

@phx,
But it would be hard to argue that strengthening our position vis a vis the rest of the world, particularly Europe and Russia, is bad for the United States goals in the Middle East. I'd like to hear that argument.

No argument, it would be wonderful IF we were strengthening our position with the rest of the world. Particularly Russia and Europe.

Too bad we aren't. Too bad the miserable failure currently POTUS is a complete fool when it comes to foreign relations, and appointed a total incompetent to head up the State Dept.

Hey, it's great that the Nauruans really like Obama, and the Kenyans consider their favorite son to be the best thing since sliced bread (not that I think he was born there, but they certainly feel an affinity).

But where it counts, US reputation has dropped dramatically.

Your cherry-picking of unimportant leftist data won't change that.

36fsfiend said...

Nathan Alexander said...

"Too bad we aren't. Too bad the miserable failure currently POTUS is a complete fool when it comes to foreign relations, and appointed a total incompetent to head up the State Dept."

Nathan,

You're not really attempting to be contemptuous towards the President, are you?

phx said...
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36fsfiend said...
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36fsfiend said...

phx said...

"@36fsfiend I think he's actually trying to be contemptuous of me, but I'm not having any of it. I'm already contemptible. : )"

phx,

Nathan indicates on his profile that he is an officer on active duty in the Air Force. If so, he should guard against being contemptuous towards the President on an open blog.

GrandpaMark said...

These apologies are like a child apologizing to a drunken step father administering a beating. It doesn't ever stop the beating because the beating is not really for the perceived crime but rather because of the on going hatred. The current"crime" is only the excuse.

Kirk Parker said...

phx,

I completely disagree, because I don't agree it was a mistake to dispose of these defaced copies of the Koran in the first place.

Bender,

Go easy on him; he hasn't said "breeders" yet.

phx said...
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Kirk Parker said...

phx,

I'm with Synova here as a starting point:

"The right thing to have done is to emphasize that the Korans were desecrated and that the disrespect was on the part of the prisoners."

Yes, and then if we get further complaints: "We burned them to make sure the messages written on them didn't get passed on, and incidentally this also disposed of the desecrated copies too. If you don't like it, you should know that we aren't exactly out of fire yet."

phx said...
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Kirk Parker said...

phx,

You keep saying "we made a mistake". But that part is just as much in dispute as the apology part.

What on earth are you basing your "not liking this" on? On the one hand, you've got folks--some of the with actual experience living in Islamic countries [raised hand here]--saying it's a bad idea and explaining why.

On the other hand, you've got misgivings--but based on what??? Is the real reason you want to apologize is that it will make you feel better?

phx said...
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phx said...
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Synova said...

"I laid a lot of my thinking out here, including the idea that we're really not just apologizing to the Afghans we're showing our allies and the world that we are reasonable and not actually in the wrong."

Which allies are those and what are we telling them?

Are we telling the British that we can't deal with other cultures properly? What good is it to tell our allies that we're inept?

Or are we apologizing to the French?

Who do you think will respond well to our apology? And what you seem to be saying is that strife, that will most certainly kill more Afghans than Americans (as it *always* does) is a proper price to pay for sending the message to other countries where no one will die, that we're properly humble?

Or is he sending a political message to his domestic base? Is that a moral thing to do?

On the one hand someone *maybe* has a little better opinion of us, and on the other hand people die.

If Obama's PRIORITY is the opinion of our supposed allies, or even the opinion of nations who aren't our allies, over dealing with the people actually involved in a conflict with us, then he's totally screwed up not to mention actively dangerous to the stability of the world.

I know that I *say* this often enough, but I'm more convinced all the time that I'm not being overly dramatic. Dead brown people don't matter to the left.

Not if someone can argue in apparent good faith that screwing up in Afghanistan is worth having a better reputation with leftist Europe.

phx said...
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phx said...
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phx said...
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Kirk Parker said...

Synova,

It looks like we've been shunned? Oh, well.

Without saying this specifically about the departed, it's far too often that this kind of discussion reminds me of those line from Bruce Cockburn's "Broken Wheel":

No adult of sound mind
Can be an innocent bystander

And I see so much of the "wishing the world were simpler/easier" just about everywhere we look in our public discussions these days...

36fsfiend said...

Synova said...

"I know that I *say* this often enough, but I'm more convinced all the time that I'm not being overly dramatic. Dead brown people don't matter to the left."

Synova,

What actions are you basing the assumption that dead brown people don't matter to the Left on?

phx said...
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Kirk Parker said...

phx,

If you can point to someplace where I actually called you names, rather than just vigorously disagreeing with some of your points, I'll immediately apologize and withdraw the name-calling.

phx said...
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phx said...
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