As a political statement to assuage the so-called ‘muslim world,’ I suppose it’s not bad. Interpreted in the light of facts, history, and a rational, ethical perspective, however, and it’s overwhelmingly bullshit. Here are the 10 worst examples (in no particular order).
1. Tradition and progress
Obama: “For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning; and for over acentury, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt’s advancement. And together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress.” Then later: “There need not be contradictions between development and tradition. Countries like Japan and South Korea grew their economies enormously while maintaining distinct cultures.”
Why it’s bullshit: There is no harmony between tradition and progress. Tradition means ‘not changing’ and progress means ‘changing.’ When you ban gay marriage, you favor tradition. When you allow gay marriage, you favor progress. There’s no harmony. There can be compromise, but a compromise between tradition and progress is usually a compromise between a nonsensical position and justice.
2. Hostility to Islam
Obama: “the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.” Later: “The attacks of September 11, 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and Western countries, but also to human rights.”
Why it’s bullshit: First, Obama is implying that western hostility to Islam is somehow imagined. Walk around in Texas with a turban and a beard for a while and you’ll quickly find out how real it is. Second, many Islamic leaders ARE hostile toward human rights. That’s why Iran rejected the UDHR as a codification of western values.
Obama: “So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, those who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity…I’ve come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles — principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”
Why it’s bullshit: Muslims, Christians and philosophers define justice differently. In Islam, justice is about satisfying the rules of the Koran. That’s why Saudi Arabia jails women for the horrible crime of having been raped. Real justice is based on physical and emotional harm, and on fairness. These two conceptions of justice are incommensurate.
Obama: “There’s one rule that lies at the heart of every religion — that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.”
Why it’s bullshit: The golden rule is a nonsensical basis for ethics. It can be refuted with trivial examples: ‘If I were gay I would want people to try to cure me;’ or ‘I would love it if she pinned me down and had sex with me, so I’ll pin her down and have sex with her. She’s only screaming “no” to get me in the mood’
Obama: “And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.”
Why it’s bullshit: Deeds like stoning people who wish to convert to a different religion.
Obama: “The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent is as — it is as if he has killed all
Why it’s bullshit: In the “Holy Koran” an “innocent” is a muslim innocent. See Surah 9:121: “Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them.”
Obama: “Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance”
Why it’s bullshit: You do know that homosexuality is a crime in Iran and Saudi Arabia, right?
“We can’t disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretense of liberalism.”
Why it’s bullshit: Hostility toward religions is an inescapable logical consequence of a human-rights-based view of ethics. Religions institutionalize human rights violations, especially around freedom from discrimination. It’s not a “pretense of liberalism.” It’s a direct result of the bigotry, misogyny, and evil motherfuckery enshrined in the Abrahamic religions.
5. Freedom of religion
“freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one’s religion” later: “Freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live together.”
Why it’s bullshit: Freedom of religion is a contradiction in terms.
6. Atheists Beware
Obama: “And I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations — to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our God. These things we share.
This is the hope of all humanity.”
Why it’s bullshit: This american-centric proselytizing if I ever heard it. These are not everyone’s aspirations, and certainly not mine. Not everyone has a family to love. Not everyone wants an education. Not everyone wants to work. And not everyone has a god.
Obama: “when the Holy Land of the three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra — (applause) — as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed, peace be upon them, joined in prayer.” Later: “The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God’s vision”
Why it’s bullshit: Take your faith and your god and your prayers and plant them in your ass where they belong. The sooner we stop brainwashing our children with this anti-rational nonsense, the sooner people will stop killing each other.
Obama: “The Holy Koran tells us: “O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we
have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.”
The Talmud tells us: “The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.”
The Holy Bible tells us: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of
Why it’s bullshit: The funny thing about holy books is, they’re so big you can cherry-pick whatever you want from them. For Example:
The Holy Koran tells us: “Forbidden to you are…married women, except those you own as slaves.” (Surah 4:20-, 24-)
The Talmud tells us: “If a heathen (gentile) hits a Jew, the gentile must be killed.” (Sanhedrin 58b)
The Holy Bible tells us: “How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock,” (Psalms 137:9).
Obama: “When one nation pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises for all nations.”
Obama: “But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point. This is not simply about America’s interests. It’s about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path.”
Obama: “I strongly reaffirmed America’s commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. ”
Why it’s bullshit: All of these quotes reveal the central hypocrisy of American nuclear weapons policy – ‘it’s ok for us to have nukes, but not you, and we want nuclear disarmament, as long as everyone else disarms first.’ This is based on the fundamentally racist, ethnocentric assumption that the US is more trustworthy than any other nation. The primary reason to seek a nuclear arsenal in the modern age is to deter American invasion.
“The situation in Afghanistan demonstrates America’s goals, and our need to work together. Over seven years ago, the United States pursued al Qaeda and the Taliban with broad international support. We did not go by choice; we went because of necessity.”
Why it’s bullshit: you did not go by choice? WTF? Of course there was a choice! You could have just, you know, stayed home and focus on intelligence gathering instead of warmongering. You could have done black ops instead of overt war. You could have used diplomacy and negotiation to broker a deal with the existing Afghani government. No choice my ass!
Obama: “And yet al Qaeda chose to ruthlessly murder these people, claimed credit for the attack, and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale.”
Why it’s bullshit: Then the US ruthlessly murdered over 100 000 Iraqis, claimed credit, and now states it’s determination to keep on killing in Afghanistan. To be fair, Obama says he wants to leave Afghanistan, but to be more fair, it’s all just talk. If he wanted to leave, he’d order troops home, not order more troops to go.
Obama: “We do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan. We see no military — we seek no military bases there” later: “I have made it clear to the Iraqi people that we pursue no bases”
Why it’s bullshit: You seen the Iraqi embassy? Looks like a military base to me…
Obama: “the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein”
Why it’s bullshit: You mean, the one’s who survived? There are more than 650 000 dead Iraqis who might beg to differ.
9. Torture and the Rule of Law
Obama: “I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year. (Applause.) So America will defend itself, respectful of the sovereignty of nations and the rule of law.”
Why it’s bullshit: This is nonsense. Obama has essentially provided all of the american war criminals who approved, ordered and conducted the torture with full amnesty, and proposed a new policy of indefinite detention in American prisons. It’s not gitmo that matters. Gitmo is just a bunch of buildings. What matters is that the U.S. is officially holding prisoners without trial and obstructing the prosecution of war criminals. The rule of law is the maxim that decisions should be made based on the law rather than relying on arbitrary governance. Indefinite detention programs and protecting war criminals for political reasons is the very antithesis of the rule of law!
10. Israel and Palestine
Obama: “So let there be no doubt: The situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. And America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.”
Obama: “Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong
and it does not succeed.”
Obama: “The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people.”
Why it’s bullshit: This is all meaningless talk. The U.S. gives $3 Billion a year to Israel and brands the leaders of Palestine ‘a terrorist organization.’ If Obama really wanted peace in the region, he could just withhold Israel’s funding until a deal had been reached, or give half of it to the Palestinians to encourage economic development in the region.
Random stupid comments
Obama: “Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail”
This is meaningless. There’s never been a world order. All large empires in history have failed, or still exist in some form, and can be expected to fail eventually. All large empires have elevated some groups and persecuted others.
Obama: “We are shaped by every culture, drawn from every end of the Earth, and dedicated to a
simple concept: E pluribus unum — “Out of many, one.””
But socialism is somehow evil in America
Obama: “the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers — Thomas Jefferson — kept in his personal library.”
Obama is implying that Jefferson had great respect for Islam. This is the guy who said “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.” More good Jefferson anti-religion quotes here.
Obama: “I made clear that America is not — and never will be — at war with Islam.”
So he can see the future now?
Obama: “And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments”
If the rest of the world said the same, the US would be distinctly unwelcome. This is more ethnocentrism – ‘when we go to war, it’s for a good reason. Other wars are stupid.’
Obama: “And we will match promising Muslim students with internships in America;”
Setting up scholarships on the basis of religion is a violation of basic human rights, specifically freedom from discrimination based on religion. And don’t give me any affirmative action bullshit. The most persecuted belief system in the US is Atheism, not Islam.
Obama: “create a new online network, so a young person in Kansas can communicate instantly with a young person in Cairo. ”
It’s called email, dipshit.
Obama: “The dream of opportunity for all people has not come true for everyone in America, but its promise exists for all who come to our shores — and that includes nearly 7 million American Muslims in our country today who, by the way, enjoy incomes and educational levels that are higher than the American average.”
This is called selection bias. The US only lets in Muslims if they are particularly intelligent, well educated, and capable of supra-normal contributions to society. The fact that they do better than average is an indicator of racist immigration practices, not enhanced opportunity.
Free thinking people everywhere, beware. Obama is not the American Messiah. He’s another corporatist, religious whack-job tyrant. He’s no more pushing a liberal agenda than I am pushing a religious one. Atheists, liberals, environmentalists – if you’re relying on this asshole, you’re fucked.