Monday, March 22, 2010

Who's the Patriot Now?

I'm not the kind of person that thinks that only the lives of Americans matter. Of course they do matter, but so do the lives of people with different nationalities.

But for U.S. politicians it's not like that. We know exactly how many Americans are killed in any conflict. The body counts of the Vietnamese or Iraqis are much less well known.

But let's play this game of pretending only the lives of Americans matter. Here's something that makes Americans unsafe. U.S. support for Israel. Support for the interests of Israel costs American lives. Look at the #1 reason OBL gave for his attacks against the United States. It is attacks from Israel on Muslims done with U.S. support.

Today Netenyahu is moving forward with plans to build additional settlements in occupied Palestinian territory. This is the equivalent of Mexico crossing in to Texas and building homes for Mexicans subject to Mexican laws, all the while displacing native Texans. Obviously this is not how you go about making peace with your neighbors.

How does this affect the safety of Americans? General David Patreaus told Congress that this flares large scale conflicts, foments anti-American sentiment, limits the strength of partnerships between the U.S. and Arab governments, strengthens Al Qaeda, and improves Iranian influence in the region. All of these consequences quite naturally put U.S. troops in danger and cost American lives.

The fact is Israel's interests do not necessarily coincide with American interests. An attack on Iran would be dangerous for Americans, though the Israeli government indicates a desire to move forward with that. Many American politicians and pundits support that. It's worth noting the politicians that put the interests of a foreign nation ahead of the safety of American troops and citizens.


HispanicPundit said...

Politicians are just following the polls, see here:

Remember all that talk you gave me on ObamaCare, about following polls. Same thing here.

Jon said...

The talk I gave about polls was how our politicians ignore the polls in preference to their special interests. Obama will give us a crappy health care bill that nobody except the insurance industry likes. Our politicians could ignore the polls in this case as well in preference for the safety of U.S. citizens and American troops. They'll ignore the polls for their corporate buddies, but not for our safety apparently.

Jon said...

Something else, HP. Having general sympathies is one thing. What do Americans think should be the actual policies of the U.S. towards Israel? Check it out here. Once again some in our government put both the safety of Americans and the will of the American people aside in the interests of a foreign country.

HispanicPundit said...

I'm curious...from a politicians point of view, what is the benefit in supporting Israel aside from pleasing the voters???

Jon said...

Ever heard of AIPAC?

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Jon said...

Leonardo, you can criticize Islam here, but I don't want the graphic descriptions of Mohammed's crimes with Aisha. Make your point in a less vulgar way. Though I agree with you that what Mohammed supposedly did is horrifying. I understand though that he married her at 6 but didn't consummate for a few more years. Still horrifying. Keep in mind though that marriage at the age of 12 was pretty routine as I understand the ancient world.

I will re-post your hadith references.

Jon said...

Another point here Leonardo. I don't see the relevance of these comments in this thread. I tend to err on the side of allowing free reign here.


From the Hadith of Bukhari:

Volume 1, Book 4, Number 229:

Narrated 'Aisha:

I used to wash the traces of Janaba (semen) from the clothes of the Prophet and he used to go for prayers while traces of water were still on it (water spots were still visible).

Volume 1, Book 4, Number 230:

Narrated 'Aisha:

as above (229).

Volume 1, Book 4, Number 231:

Narrated Sulaiman bin Yasar:

I asked 'Aisha about the clothes soiled with semen. She replied, "I used to wash it off the clothes of Allah's Apostle and he would go for the prayer while water spots were still visible. "

Volume 1, Book 4, Number 232:

Narrated 'Amr bin Maimun:

I heard Sulaiman bin Yasar talking about the clothes soiled with semen. He said that 'Aisha had said, "I used to wash it off the clothes of Allah's Apostle and he would go for the prayers while water spots were still visible on them.

Volume 1, Book 4, Number 233:

Narrated 'Aisha:

I used to wash the semen off the clothes of the Prophet and even then I used to notice one or more spots on them.

Jon said...

I take back what I said. Apparently Aisha was betrothed at age 6 but finally married to Mohammed at 9 or 10. This is awful of course, but I don't know how uncommon it would have been at the time.

HispanicPundit said...

But what comes first? Is AIPAC powerful because of popular support? Or is popular support high because of AIPAC. I think the former.

Jon said...


HispanicPundit said...

Because Israel support is so high. You start from that. Whenever you have public support that large, that gives you a HUGE amount of political power to do what you want. It opens up a window for special interest to move you within.

And the reverse seems much more difficult. Many organizations, even multi-billion dollar organizations, have tried hard to sway the public in one particular direction. Its not easy.

Why do you think otherwise?

HispanicPundit said...

Btw, just finished reading the Greenwald article you linked above. Again, the more I read, the less I like Greenwald, this is no exception.

First, he starts off with the claim that everybody - including the United States - believes we should not take sides in the Israel/Palestine conflict. Fine. That makes sense. Of course, that all depends on what is meant by "not take sides", afterall, even I would answer yes to such a poll question, and in your eyes, Im probably a Zionist. But all is good so far.

Then he moves on to show how "merely supporting such a view" could get you banned from public discourse. His favorite example? Howard Dean and his remarks.

What he forgets to tell you is the context of the remarks. Howard Dean didn't just say that we should treat both "fairly", he ALSO said, right before,

"The controversy began last week when Dean, speaking about the Middle East, said he didn't "believe stopping the terror has to be a prerequisite for talking. You always talk." "

Add to this that Howard Dean was seen as the most leftwing of all the political contenders. So naturally he would be the most likely of the candidates to try and sympathize with the terrorists, to (gasp!) even claim that the United States was at fault for 9/11. So when HE makes comments like this, you get a very different impression than the one Greenwald wants you to think. Nobody thought that, by expressing the above comments, Howard Dean actually MEANT what the poll asked: that we should treat the Israel/Palestine conflict fairly. No, they thought just the opposite, that Dean was expressing a BIAS towards the Arab side (treating terrorists as rational, reducing the priority to fight terrorism, etc). And if anything is going to poll LOW, especially a couple of years after 9/11, it is THAT VIEW.

But Greenwald leaves all of this out. Paints the picture as if poor old Dean was beaten up for such a reasonable view. This also explains Deans strong backtracking, he has to express more Pro-Israel views just to counteract his seemingly pro-Palestine views and in the end, HOPE, to seem more balanced.

Look Jon, you and Greenwald hold views about Palestine, wrong or right, that frankly a majority of Americans dont hold. So what seems to "not take sides" to you all, is not going to be the same as what seems like "not take sides" to the average American. I ALSO agree that the USA should "not take sides" in the conflict. I mean, who wouldnt? But that doesnt mean we would agree in anyway on what foreign policy issues should be taken.

The same with the Iran polls. Of course there should ALSO be Direct Talks, More Trade, Cultural Exchange, and free press. I mean, who wouldnt agree to that? But that doesnt mean that the average joe believes other alternatives are not also on the table. I mean, I too would poll in the affirmative on all of the above and as I said above, youd classify my foreign policies as close to Zionist.

So what does explain the differences? Its the polls Ive showed you. Israel polls very highly to the average American. I haven't found a poll showing this, but Id be willing to bet that Palestine, Iran, and other natural Israel foes dont poll so well - less than 50%, for sure. So based on those premises, a "not take sides" view will naturally seem like a pro-Israel view to someone - like you and Greenwald - who would probably poll the opposite; more sympathy towards Palestine vs Israel. When in actuality, politicians are just following public opinion.