Saturday, December 06, 2008

James, you need a fact checker‏

Sometimes I get hate mail to the effect "What makes you think you are qualified to voice an opinion of this area? You are not a journalist, ..." and so on and so on.

Well, not like I a need an excuse to exercise my right to free therapy, James Taranto in the WSJ gives a perfect example why I am just as qualified to spout off as the next schmuck.

President-elect Obama wants to give an "Islam speech" - the questions is which venue to do it in. After Abe Greenwald and other of my betters talk about Dearborn vs. Cairo and all that - James gives a "in my fantasy world" comment on the real reason such a speech should be given.
Seems to us, though, that there is another alternative: clarity. Obama could speak frankly about the repression, misrule and fanaticism that are sadly common in the Muslim world, while at the same time repudiating anti-Muslim extremism in the West.
Ummmmm, errrrrr; here is where James steps in it.
But there is a city that, although not a national capital, is for all intents and purposes the capital of all Islam--a place where Obama could credibly speak to all Muslims, Sunni and Shiite, from Morocco to Malaysia to Michigan.

Not only that, but Obama's very presence--along with that of his secretary of state, chief of staff, the rest of his entourage and the traveling press from all over the world--would demonstrate that Islam is a more tolerant faith than many Westerners, including this columnist, have thought.

Is it really that simple? Can we be serious? Yes, we can.

All the new president has to do is give a speech in Mecca.
Maybe this is James' point - but a review of Saudi law WRT Mecca might be helpful. For goodness sake - French Special Forces that helped the Saudi's during The Siege of Mecca had to convert to Islam before they could enter the city.

A lot of the reason there is a global religious war was the presence post-Gulf War I of Western forces in the Saudi Kingdom. Having and apostate from Islam give a speech in Mecca itself? Great way to start a real war .... that's for sure.

James, please tell me you were being too clever by half? If not, drop me a line and let me help out with some fact checking - me or Chap; we would be more than happy to help out with the finer details of the Islamic world.

Is this a petty swipe for a small error? Sure, I make spelling and other typos all the time - but I don't have an editor etc; this is a critical substance. One of the problems we have in this war is the press is woefully under-informed of the Muslim world in general and Islamic terrorism specifically. They need to do much more research if they want to made suggestions on what the CINC must do. An ignorant public in war is prepped for defeat. An ignorant press is professional incompetence.

UPDATE: Geezzzzz ..... let me quote myself,
Maybe this is James' point .... James, please tell me you were being too clever by half?
Well, it turns out that James is being too clever by half. In comments, follow Chap's links to the podcast and you will see that Mecca was his point. I feel much better, as James is usually right on the target and clear. Perhaps he is just having a bad day (or I am) or the clear portions were edited out. His extended remarks are much clearer than the original post....and that is good news.

Did I jump the gun? Maybe, but no one can tell me it was clear - or that press understanding of Islam has been of fine quality the last decade. James continues to meet the fine standards, and I should read tea leaves more often....or I should write my qualifiers more clearly and break out my individual vs. general criticisms better ...

Chap, less Sadlacks, more fiber....even if you make a good point. ;)

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