Obama Should Build on Bush Legacy, Not Lie About It

In Indonesia, President Barack Obama continued to attack a straw man as if he were still on the 2008 presidential campaign trail. He proclaimed that America was not at war with Islam, and that he was trying to overcome "mistrust" which he implied had been generated by his predecessor President George W. Bush. “The relationship between the United States and Muslim communities have frayed over many years. As president I have made it a priority to begin to repair these relations", Obama said. He was not as explicit in Jakarta as he had been in Cairo last year when he traced the cause of the alleged mistrust to U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

Yet, neither of those wars was ever declared as being against "Islam." They were against particular regimes and terrorist groups whose members are Muslim, but whose victims have also been primarily Muslim. The Middle East is a Muslim region torn by the same kind of political strife that is evident the world over. Muslims battle other Muslims for wealth and power, and the U.S. supports those Islamic factions which are compatible with the defense of its own interests.

 

Obama talked of combating militants and extremists, who are Muslim. He told President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that aid to Indonesian special force would be resumed after having been cut off under president Bill Clinton due to supposed human rights violations.  This is not a war against Islam, but it is a another war involving Muslims.

 

The Bush administration had no problems working with the governments of Muslim states on issues of common interest. The most dangerous threat to peace is the rise of Iran who has a nuclear weapons program to deter interference with its support for militia groups and terrorist cells across the region. Bush's forging of a coalition between Israel and the Sunni Arab states against Shiite Iran is a policy that must continue whether Obama wants to acknowledge it or not.

 

The November 8 issue of Defense News has a special section on the arms race in the Middle East. Barbara Opall reports,

 

Without strengthening traditionally moderate Arab states in the region, and without a solid, self-sus­taining government in Iraq, Iran and its state- and non-state allies in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza could credibly challenge U.S. and Western influence in much of the region.

 

In response to the Iranian threat, Saudi Arabia is buying European Typhoon and American F-15 fighters, Apache attack helicopters, and is up grading armored vehicles; Jordan is upgrading its F-16 fighters; Kuwait and the UAE are buying Patriot missile defense systems; Egypt is buying F-16s and Apaches. Everyone is buying new missiles to equip their warplanes and more naval units to defend the Persian Gulf oil shipping lanes. Islamic states are buying most of their weapons from the U.S., often with special financing from Washington.

 

These programs go back to the Bush administration when arms sales to Israel and the Arabs were explicitly linked to diplomatic cooperation against Iran's proxies in Lebanon and Gaza. So it is time for Obama to drop his false characterization of the past and get back to work to keep the coalition he inherited united and moving forward. 

 

 

 

In Indonesia, President Barack Obama continued to attack a straw man as if he were still on the 2008 presidential campaign trail. He proclaimed that America was not at war with Islam, and that he was trying to overcome "mistrust" which he implied had been generated by his predecessor President George W. Bush. “The relationship between the United States and Muslim communities have frayed over many years. As president I have made it a priority to begin to repair these relations", Obama said. He was not as explicit in Jakarta as he had been in Cairo last year when he traced the cause of the alleged mistrust to U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

Yet, neither of those wars was ever declared as being against "Islam." They were against particular regimes and terrorist groups whose members are Muslim, but whose victims have also been primarily Muslim. The Middle East is a Muslim region torn by the same kind of political strife that is evident the world over. Muslims battle other Muslims for wealth and power, and the U.S. supports those Islamic factions which are compatible with the defense of its own interests.

 

Obama talked of combating militants and extremists, who are Muslim. He told President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that aid to Indonesian special force would be resumed after having been cut off under president Bill Clinton due to supposed human rights violations.  This is not a war against Islam, but it is a another war involving Muslims.

 

The Bush administration had no problems working with the governments of Muslim states on issues of common interest. The most dangerous threat to peace is the rise of Iran who has a nuclear weapons program to deter interference with its support for militia groups and terrorist cells across the region. Bush's forging of a coalition between Israel and the Sunni Arab states against Shiite Iran is a policy that must continue whether Obama wants to acknowledge it or not.

 

The November 8 issue of Defense News has a special section on the arms race in the Middle East. Barbara Opall reports,

 

Without strengthening traditionally moderate Arab states in the region, and without a solid, self-sus­taining government in Iraq, Iran and its state- and non-state allies in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza could credibly challenge U.S. and Western influence in much of the region.

 

In response to the Iranian threat, Saudi Arabia is buying European Typhoon and American F-15 fighters, Apache attack helicopters, and is up grading armored vehicles; Jordan is upgrading its F-16 fighters; Kuwait and the UAE are buying Patriot missile defense systems; Egypt is buying F-16s and Apaches. Everyone is buying new missiles to equip their warplanes and more naval units to defend the Persian Gulf oil shipping lanes. Islamic states are buying most of their weapons from the U.S., often with special financing from Washington.

 

These programs go back to the Bush administration when arms sales to Israel and the Arabs were explicitly linked to diplomatic cooperation against Iran's proxies in Lebanon and Gaza. So it is time for Obama to drop his false characterization of the past and get back to work to keep the coalition he inherited united and moving forward. 

 

 

 

RECENT VIDEOS