Charles Krauthammer sets the record straight on US/Muslim relations

As most of us expected, President Obama began his presidency by “reaching out” to the Muslim world in his inaugural speech, and then again in his first interview as President – which he did with al-Arabiya. The tone on both occasions was apologetic in nature (in a way that only liberals have mastered), as if to suggest that the US had been nothing but hostile to both Muslims and Muslim nations for the last 20 or so years. This is false.

Columnist Charles Krauthammer has done what Obama’s speechwriters and researchers apparently have not – examined the record of relations between our country and the Muslim world over the last 20 years, and the facts he presents pretty much decimate President Obama’s contrary arguments. Here are some highlights (via Memeorandum):

Every new president flatters himself that he, kinder and gentler, is beginning the world anew. Yet, when Barack Obama in his inaugural address reached out to Muslims by saying “to the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect,” his formulation was needlessly defensive and apologetic.

Is it “new” to acknowledge Muslim interests and show respect to the Muslim world? Obama doesn’t just think so, he said so again to millions in his al-Arabiya interview, insisting on the need to “restore” the “same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago.”

Astonishing. In these most recent 20 years — the alleged winter of our disrespect of the Islamic world — America did not just respect Muslims, it bled for them. It engaged in five military campaigns, every one of which involved — and resulted in — the liberation of a Muslim people: Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The two Balkan interventions — as well as the failed 1992-93 Somalia intervention to feed starving African Muslims (43 Americans were killed) — were humanitarian exercises of the highest order, there being no significant U.S. strategic interest at stake. In these 20 years, this nation has done more for suffering and oppressed Muslims than any nation, Muslim or non-Muslim, anywhere on Earth. Why are we apologizing?

And what of that happy U.S.-Muslim relationship that Obama imagines existed “as recently as 20 or 30 years ago” that he has now come to restore? Thirty years ago, 1979, saw the greatest U.S.-Muslim rupture in our 233-year history: Iran’s radical Islamic revolution, the seizure of the U.S. Embassy, the 14 months of America held hostage.

Which came just a few years after the Arab oil embargo that sent the United States into a long and punishing recession. Which, in turn, was preceded by the kidnapping and cold-blooded execution by Arab terrorists of the U.S. ambassador in Sudan and his chargé d’affaires.

This is to say nothing of the Marine barracks massacre of 1983, and the innumerable attacks on U.S. embassies and installations around the world during what Obama now characterizes as the halcyon days of U.S.-Islamic relations.


Iran has already responded to the Obama overture. In perfect tune with Obama’s defensiveness, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared that better relations might be possible — after America apologized for 60 years of crimes against Iran. Note the 60 years. The mullahs are as mystified by Obama’s pre-1979 (or 1989) good old days as I am.

Read the whole thing. He mentions briefly the Bush administration’s attempts at Muslim outreach in the aftermath of 9-11, but there’s a lot more where that came from. The Bush administration bent over backwards to accomodate the Muslim community, to the irritation and outrage of many on the right who think he went too far … and sometimes even the left joined in in the criticism. Remember the bipartisan uproar over the UAE port deal?

As the saying goes, you are welcome to your own opinions, but you don’t get to make up your own facts. That applies to you, too, President Obama.

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