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Bush has alienated moderate Muslims

Op-Ed to The Bulletin

by Robert Speik
Published on April 16, 2004

“At no time in our history was the world more supportive of our nation than in the months after 9-11. Unfortunately, our misled attack on Iraq squandered the world’s support for America and also ended any possible mainstream Muslim support for moderate dialog.”


Terrorism is a tactic not an enemy. We should not be misled. Fundamentalist religious extremism is the enemy, not the brainwashed bombers who kill innocents and themselves while acting as the tools of zealot leaders.

The horrific attack on the World Trade Center on 9-11 must have caused mainstream Muslims to question the humanity of their extremist fundamentalist Islamic leaders. A dialog could have led to a worldwide mainstream Muslim withdrawal of support for the use of terrorism as a fundamentalist tactic to force social change.

Al Qaeda was identified as the master terrorist organization. The forceful removal of the fundamentalist Taliban regime from power in Afghanistan succeeded, however, all our American efforts to capture or kill Al Qaeda’s Bin Laden, failed because the local population protected him. Afghanistan became and still is a barely controlled shambles of a Muslim country.

Unable to win the “War on Terror” in Afghanistan, the Bush administration sought to blame Iraq for enabling extremist terrorism.

We were misled by the Bush administration. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. There was no immediate threat from Saddam Hussein. The unprecedented pre-emptive US attack on Iraq was arrogant and has proved to be catastrophic.

There was no Al Qaeda connection. Women who lived in Saddam’s secular Iraq were educated, liberated and often powerful. Women living under the Al Qaida supported fundamentalist Taliban regime, were enslaved in their homes. Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden were at opposite ends of Islam. Both were harsh regimes, but we all tolerate even more brutal governments in the world today.

At no time in our history was the world more supportive of our nation than in the months after 9-11. Unfortunately, our misled attack on Iraq squandered the world’s support for America and also ended any possible mainstream Muslim support for moderate dialog.

This President misled this nation, and a very few other nations, by using the specter of terror to facilitate his attempt to impose an American style democracy on what was once an oil rich, ineffective, secular Islamic dictatorship. The real reason for Bush to invade Iraq was not the pursuit of terrorists, it was to seize control of Iraq’s oil and re-construction contracts by the United States.

Iraq is now in anarchy. Let us be truthful. Americans live in virtual blast bunkers. More people are injured and killed day by day. This misled War for oil and influence has resulted in the destruction of thousands of human lives, American wealth and prestige and it has destabilized the region.

It is ludicrous for us to believe the Bush administration can succeed in establishing a constitutional democracy in Iraq. Bush’s stated purpose is to create a showcase democracy to influence the citizens in the Arab world to overthrow their traditional governments. Does Bush actually think the stable oil rich monarchies, theocracies and dictatorships surrounding Iraq will tolerate an American style democracy in their midst?

People will say that we cannot talk to terrorists, but America, through the United Nations, absolutely must engage in a positive dialog with world wide mainstream Islam. Iraq may become a fundamentalist theocracy founded on hate for the western world.

Fundamentalist Islamic clerics interpret the Koran and preach doctrines that are clearly un-acceptable in today’s enlightened world. They teach Muslim women to be the servants of men and to be invisible outside the home. This view and practice is not accepted in the modern world. We must support Islamic women in their quest for education and basic human rights. Muslim men are taught to persecute questioners of their leader’s fundamentalist religious doctrines through intimidation, physical retaliation and killing. This behavior is not accepted in the modern world. Basic universal human rights cannot be violated in the name of Allah, or God.

Terror is being used also, to justify the ongoing imposition on all our American citizens, of the Bush administration’s conservative coalition formula for a “Conservative Democracy”.

Without a doubt, our own civil liberties, our pure science, our clean environment, our public schools, our fair tax system that focused on the rich, our treasury surplus, our valuable public lands, our national health care system, our social security system, our great middle class, and our skilled American jobs are being further compromised daily by the Bush administration in its zeal to satisfy the wealthy special interests that support it, and its overwhelming political desire to be re-elected at any cost.

Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Wolfowitz and Rowe have been exposed repeatedly for clearly and solemnly misleading this nation. They are dangerous scary people.

The Bush administration’s “War on Terror” fails because it misleads the nation away from the real opponent, worldwide fundamentalist religious extremism. Let us be truthful.

Robert Speik writes about his active retirement outdoor adventures for


OpEd to The Bulletin

by Janet Whitney
Published on Sunday, May 2, 2004

This is a letter of thanks to Robert Speik who wrote so clearly about the situation in Iraq and the Bush Administration (In My View, April 16). There are many of us who care so deeply about the road we are traveling, at home, in the Middle East and in the world and we search our hearts for words that will create the thoughtfulness and mindfulness among those we encounter in dialogue.

We hold the hope that the world will change, but not as George Bush would have it. A shift in values – away from greed which embodies domination systems – would be a step in a healthier world. While we engage in a war to “liberate” another culture, we are rapidly losing our rights in this country, under this administration.

May folks like Speik keep the word out, and may those of us who believe in introspection keep listening, and then use our privilege of voting.

--Janet Whitney lives in Bend

Thank you very much, Janet Whitney. The prisoner abuse just now revealed to the world is a symptom of this Administration's subversion of our American values.
  --Webmeister Speik

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