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Washington Watch: Tom Friedman, Condoleezza Rice, Virgil Goode

Washington Watch: Tom Friedman, Condoleezza Rice, Virgil Goode
-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        Fw: Washington Watch: Tom Friedman, Condoleezza Rice, Virgil
Goode
Date:   Thu, 4 Jan 2007 17:30:16 -0500
From:   Edward L. Peck

The man has a valid and powerful point, one which is both highly
disturbing and very dangerous.  We are sliding rapidly toward that most
deadly of conflicts, a religious war.  To have the fires fed here, with
hateful, bigoted public statements by those who should know better as
well as ignorant bigots, to a population as ill-informed as it is
mis-informed, will most certainly not help us avoid a major
catastrophe.  I hope I am wrong..

*From: *James Zogby <jzogby@aaiusa.org <mailto:jzogby@aaiusa.org>>
> *Date: *January 2, 2007 3:29:59 PM EST
> *Subject: **Washington Watch: Tom Friedman, Condoleezza Rice, Virgil
> Goode*
> *Reply-To:
> <http://www.aaiusa.org/page/m/gm2oi6vlzi6/3ihzrm>
> <http://www.aaiusa.org/page/m/gm2oi6vlzi6/Qatrvy>
>
>
>   December 29, 2006
>
>
>
>
> */Tom Friedman, Condoleezza Rice, Virgil Goode – /*
>
> */The Polluting Of Our National Discourse/*
>
> An article by Tom Friedman, a quote from Secretary of State
> Condoleezza Rice and a letter by a Virginia Congressman hit in one day
> last week reminding me how tolerant our national discourse has become
> of bigotry toward Arabs and Muslims and how condescending
> policy-makers and analysts have become in their dealings with the
> Middle East region.
>
> _Tom Friedman's Article_
>
> In the lead up to the Iraq War, /New York Times/ columnist Tom
> Friedman was one of the invasion's strong advocates. Friedman has now
> figured out why the war has gone so badly and so in a rather
> remarkable piece appearing in the /Times /this week, he offers advice
> to President Bush.
>
> Never known for humility or apologies, here's what Friedman has
> concluded: it's the Arabs' fault. I said the article was remarkable,
> and it was, not for its wisdom, but for its shameless self-serving
> bigotry.
>
> Here's why.
>
> The article "Mideast Rules To Live By" makes the following observations:
>
>     * Arabs are dishonest (they say one thing in private, another in
>       public);
>     * Arabs are illogical (prone to conspiracies);
>     * Arabs are weak-kneed, without principles ("moderates", in
>       particular, are dissemblers, with no backbone);
>     * Arabs are more violent and vengeful than "we" are;
>     * Arabs are petty and tribal, and so on.
>
> > 1600 K Street, NW Suite 601
> Washington, DC 20006
> www.aaiusa.org <http://www.aaiusa.org/page/m/gm2oi6vlzi6/3ihzrm>
>
The Friedman lesson for the President appears to be, "It's not your
> fault, sir, it's theirs. You and I weren't wrong about the war; they
> weren't ready for the gift you were giving them." I have often been
> disturbed by Friedman's dismissive tone coupled with his weird
> obsession with *all things Arab*. With this piece my reaction went
> from disturbed to outrage.
>
> As I read through Friedman's 15 rules for dealing with "Middle
> Easterners" (as he terms the objects of his condescension), I
> wondered, "what if an Arab had written a comparable piece about Jews?"
> The reaction would have been swift and justifiable condemnation.
>
> European imperialists wrote this way about their subject natives. And
> whites, at one time, wrote much the same was about blacks. But, this
> is the 21st century and here, in the "enlightened" New York Times, is
> bigotry and condescension on display - passing as enlightened analysis.
>
> Which brings me to...
>
> _Secretary Rice's Quote_
>
> In a long interview with the /Washington Post/ Rice notes, "The old
> Middle East was not going to stay. Let's stop mourning the old Middle
> East. It was not so great and it was not going to survive anyway."
>
> The condescension and arrogance at work here is stunning. In one
> sweeping stroke, Rice dismisses the tens of thousands who have died,
> the civil war in Iraq and the volatile mess left by our neglectful and
> misguided policies in Lebanon and Palestine as the mere passing of the
> "old Middle East", which wasn't "so good" anyway.  There is,
> therefore, no need to beat our breasts with mea culpas, no reason to
> fret about the failures and the devastating consequences of our
> misguided policy.  It is not our fault, it is theirs. And, in any
> case, things are better off now, because we said they were.
>
> Thank you for the clarification and the history lesson, Madame Secretary.
>
> If Friedman and Rice weren’t bad enough, the worst quote of the week
> came in the form of…
>
> _Rep. Virgil Goode’s (R-VA) Letter._
>
> In a letter to constituents, Republican Congressman Virgil Goode
> expressed his concern with the intention of newly elected Congressman
> Keith Ellison to take the oath of office using the Qur’an.
>
> Goode wrote, “I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way.  …[I]f
> American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on
> immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office
> and demanding the use of the Koran.  We need to stop illegal
> immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity
> visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many
> persons from the Middle East to come to this country.  I fear that in
> the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States
> if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are
> necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United
> States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped.”
>
> This ugly rant conflates a number of bigoted threads that have
> infected our national discourse, including xenophobia and
> Islamophobia.  I’ve heard them on our radio talk shows and read them
> in blogs but coming from a Congressman on official stationary is
> another matter.
>
> Facts don’t matter to bigots, only hate and fear.  Ellison is an
> African American who traces his ancestry back to the 1700’s.  The
> largest component group of U.S. Muslims are African American converts,
> not immigrants.  There are a number of American Muslim immigrants
> serving with distinction at the highest levels in the Administration
> and in the US military.
>
> But, facts don’t matter.  What does matter and is of concern here, is
> that it has become acceptable to spew this type of venom.
>
> All of this raises serious and troubling questions we must answer.
> How do we face up to the mess we made in the Middle East and find a
> way forward?  How can we capture and preserve the “values and beliefs”
> that we claim if a Congressman can write like this, a Secretary of
> State can be so dismissive of the human tragedy created of _our_
> blunders and the respected /New York Times/ can publish such ugly bigotry?
>
> Resolving to answer these questions might be a great way to start the
> New Year.
>
> For comments and questions, contact jzogby@aaiusa.org
>
> <mailto:jzogby@aaiusa.org>
>
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>
> Arab American Institute

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