President George Bush's speech on a provisional Palestinian state was a “cut and paste” speech. The vision blurs reality, and relies on Israeli rhetoric. It ignores fundamental American interests and principles in the region. Rather than serving the role of an honest broker, the President is proposing to move the United States to take sides with war criminals such as Ariel Sharon. This move will further damage U.S. interests and its credibility in the Muslim world.
Wilsonian self-determination is the right of a people, the Palestinians, based on their free will, and it is not conditional to geopolitical demands of any foreign power, especially an Israeli occupying force. The Palestinians have the existential, legal, and moral right to live in freedom and security in a contiguous, meaningful, and sovereign state. In short, the Palestinians need freedom to build democracy.
Rather than create conditions conducive to democracy, Mr. Bush's plan will reward occupiers and war criminals. The plan also underscores a fundamental flaw in our foreign policy in the Middle East, i.e. serving the Israeli government's apartheid interests above American interests.
As Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “I have been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa. I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about” (The Guardian, April 29).
HUSSEIN H. SHOUSHER
I'm one of those bigots S. Amjad Hussain excoriates because we just don't “understand” Islam. If memory serves, it wasn't Baptists who committed 9/11, or Catholics who blew up the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen. Methodists didn't destroy the Marine barracks in Lebanon, and the mobs who dragged the bodies of U.S. Rangers through the streets of Mogadishu weren't Presbyterians.
Seventh-Day Adventists didn't murder Danny Pearl in Afghanistan, or kidnap American missionaries in the Philippines. It isn't Disciples of Christ who stone rape victims, or throw grenades into churches in Pakistan. Episcopalians don't enslave women and children in Sudan. Plymouth Brethren don't butcher Christians in Indonesia with machetes, or beat 13-year-old Jewish boys beyond recognition in Israeli caves. It was Mohammed, not Christ, who invented Takiya - faking peace with an enemy until you can stab him in the back.
Dr. Hussain writes, “... Muslims are at a loss to understand the sweeping distortions of their religion ...” Exactly what distortions is he talking about? Unconditional condemnation of terrorism has been both tepid and rare in the Muslim world. Christians are at a loss to understand why “true” Muslims don't clean their own house, but instead of apologizing for these monsters, polls reveal that many Muslims applaud their savagery. Like it or not, violent fundamentalism is the dominate face of Islam in the 21st century. Perhaps it is Dr. Hussain who does not understand his own religion.
Islamists have declared war on my country, my people, and my faith. The wonder of America is that people are free to believe what they choose, but spare me the self-righteous and disingenuous posturing of pseudo-victims. For Jews and Christians living under Muslim rule, “peaceful Islam” is an egregious oxymoron.
A recent letter to the Readers' Forum said “states under the Constitution have a right to secede” from the Union. Although that antebellum states' right advocate from South Carolina, John C. Calhoun, would most certainly have agreed, Abraham Lincoln, as president of the United States, held the opposite view. When the southern states seceded and established the Confederate States of America, Lincoln fought and won a long war against the South to bring them back into the Union. Thus it was firmly established that we are one nation, indivisible, contrary to what the letter writer claimed.
The foundation of our strength as a nation dates to the Civil War when the issue was settled, once and for all, that these states are irreparably united in fact as well as in name.
ROGER W. BLACKBURN