CRAZYLAND USA — Center for Security Policy founder, former Reagan Administration arms control adviser and Washington Times Op-Ed writer Frank Gaffney was apparently driven out of his mind by the “revelations” he found buried in President Obama’s Cairo speech, arguing in the paper today that the speech proved Obama is a Muslim and that even if it didn’t exactly prove Obama is a Muslim, well, then it proved that Obama’s sympathies lie with Muslim extremists!
But champion iconoclast John Caruso at his blog The Distant Ocean makes a mockery of such over-the-top interpretations of the speech — over-the-top interpretations on both the right and the left — by culling quotes from Bush on the same topics and passing them off as parts of the Obama speech. Brilliant!
On deference for Muslim culture and traditions (ie, the “Holy Koran”):
George W. Bush: We have great respect for the commitment that all Muslims make to faith, family, and education. And Americans of many backgrounds seek to learn more about the rich tradition of Islam. […] I have asked young Americans to study the language and customs of the broader Middle East. And for the first time in our nation’s history, we have added a Koran to the White House Library.
On commitment to a state of Palestine and recognition of the suffering of the Palestinians:
Bush: I’m committed to two democratic states — Israel and Palestine — living side-by-side in peace and security. I’m committed to a Palestinian state that has territorial integrity and will live peacefully with the Jewish state of Israel. […] The Palestinian people have suffered from decades of corruption and violence and the daily humiliation of occupation.
There’s also the refusal to kowtow to AIPAC and Israel, as though the president — whichever one it may be– was unconcerned with the potential political cost:
Bush: Israel also has a large stake in the success of a democratic Palestine. Permanent occupation threatens Israel’s identity and democracy. A stable, peaceful Palestinian state is necessary to achieve the security that Israel longs for. So I challenge Israel to take concrete steps to support the emergence of a viable, credible Palestinian state.
And the bold demand that Israel stop all settlement activity:
Bush: Israeli settlement activity in occupied territories must stop. And the occupation must end through withdrawal to secure and recognize boundaries consistent with United Nations Resolutions 242 and 338. […] Israel should also show a respect, a respect for and concern about the dignity of the Palestinian people who are and will be their neighbors.
And the thoughtful overtures to the people of Iran and an embrace of multilateralism:
Bush: Let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran.
To overcome dangers in our world, we must also take the offensive by encouraging economic progress, and fighting disease, and spreading hope in hopeless lands. Isolationism would not only tie our hands in fighting enemies, it would keep us from helping our friends in desperate need. We show compassion abroad because Americans believe in the God-given dignity and worth of a villager with HIV/AIDS, or an infant with malaria, or a refugee fleeing genocide, or a young girl sold into slavery.
Here he is also on the need to draw a clear distinction between Muslims in general and Muslim terrorists:
Bush: By deliberately murdering the innocent to advance their aims, these extremists defy the fundamental principles of international order. They show contempt for all who respect life and value human dignity. They reject the words of the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, or any standard of conscience or morality.
So, what to make of the ex-President’s confusing sentiments? Frank Gaffney might offer the same cautionary interpretation he provided today in considering the nearly identical sentiments expressed in Egypt by Obama:
Whether Mr. [Bush] actually is a Muslim or simply play[ed] one in the presidency may, in the end, be irrelevant. What is alarming is that in aligning himself and his policies with those of Shariah-adherents such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the president greatly intensif[ied] the already enormous pressure on peaceful, tolerant American Muslims to submit to such forces — and heightened expectations, here and abroad, that the rest of us will do so as well.