Obama delivered a much-anticipated speech to the Muslim world on Friday. Mitt Romney jumped on the Fox News bandwagon and called it the latest stop in Obama’s “apology tour”. I guess Mitt didn’t really watch the speech, but instead decided to parrot out the right wing talking points. Or perhaps he was watching the speech through shit-stained glasses. I don’t know.
The fact is the speech was not apologetic. It was honest. He spoke frankly about the stereotypes that divide us and the common principles we share. He acknowledged the stereotypes we have about the Muslim world, and the stereotypes the Muslim world has about us. The message was not directed at Al Qaeda or terrorists, but to moderates in the Muslim world. It was the beginning of the dialogue that has been sorely lacking.
I guess to some, the speech would be jarring considering that our last president neatly packaged foreign states as “against us” or “with us”. Those who were “against us” did not deserve to be heard by us. I understand, the tactic Obama is taking is huge departure from what has been done in the past and it could be uncomfortable.
The substance of the speech was to explain to Muslims the ideals which America stands for and the reasons that extremism should not be accepted in their countries. After listening to the speech in its entirety, I was very proud of his performance.
But Sean Hannity of Fox News had a different take, he said:
While much of America was asleep this morning, President Barack Obama delivered a major address in Egypt that was billed as a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world. But in the end, the president decided to use his time on foreign soil to point the finger directly at America for many of the world’s problems. And he faulted the U.S. for the tension that exists between Americans and Muslims. And that is our headline tonight: “Blaming America First.”
Now, in his remarks, Mr. Obama refused to use these words: “terror,” “terrorism,” “terrorists,” or even that term “manmade disasters.” But he repeatedly quoted the Quran and even accused Americans of overreacting to the 9-11 terror attacks.
His reporting of the speech is patently false and irresponsible. Not once did he blame America for the world’s problems, but he did characterize the Iraq ware as a “war of choice”, which it was. He did not lay blame on either party for the tensions that exist between Americans and Muslims, but he did acknowledge they exist. While he did quote the Quran, he also quoted the Bible and the Torah to illustrate how their teachings share the same fundamental ideals. Hannity’s characterization of the president’s remarks on 9/11 is twisted and just wrong. In fact, what Obama said about 9/11 was:
I’m aware that there’s still some who would question or even justify the events of 9/11. But let us be clear: Al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. The victims were innocent men, women and children from America and many other nations who had done nothing to harm anybody. 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. They have affiliates in many countries and are trying to expand their reach. These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with.
There were no apologies, none at all. I’m proud of our president: Barack Hussein Obama. And I have no apologies, none at all.