Reza Aslan’s Deflection

Posted in War on Terror,World by Ryan on the October 3rd, 2014

I’ve seen a few people on Facebook post Media Matter’s edited clip from CNN where Reza Aslan berates the anchors for conducting a “stupid” conversation that could be defined as “bigotry.” Simply because they use the same term Mahrer uses (we don’t know, Media Matters doesn’t show Mahrer’s comments), or introduced it themselves, to identify issues prevalent in many or all Muslim countries as issues prevalent in many or all Muslim countries.

My initial comment was as follows:

Accusing people of bigotry is pretty serious. Aslan drops it without caution, apparently because of a difference in semantics in how to identify numerous Muslim nations through which several common issues are prevalent, but not exclusive across all Muslim nations.

He brings up the point about Somalia. Aslan’s rebuttal is that outside of this no Muslim majority countries have female genital mutilation issues, yet simply googling shows the practice is heavily prevalent in Mali and other Muslim majority countries. In Mahrer’s comments themselves he says that 91% of Egyptian women have been subjected to genital mutilation. All over into Asian Muslim countries it is still practiced. Imams on the Maldives have even recently called for it to continue. The nation he first references as a “Christian nation” that has a FGM problem in Africa is Eritrea. 50% Christian. 48% Muslim.

Religion doesn’t promote violence or peace? It’s what people bring to it? Well, in the last few years, an awful lot of horribly violent people have been bringing violence to Islam.

1 year ago, I wrote a blog post about some of the awful things going on around the globe just that week. Just that single week. Mass murder in a mall in Kenya. Hostages in gun battles in the Phillipines. Villagers massacred in Nigeria. Scores killed in a church bombing in Pakistan. A common thread connected all these events.

I don’t paint with a broad brush, but the brush I paint with thinks critically, is logical, is educated and realistic.

I grew up here in the DC area. I went to school with Muslims. I cut the grass for the Iraqi family in my neighborhood as a teenager, an Iranian family lives down the street. My last job had a recent grad that started working there who was Muslim. We had some fun chats about Islam and Mormons and Ramadan and so forth over the summer. I took the “Islam and the Gospel” class at BYU. Served a mission where the Ottoman Empire had been and a residual minority of Muslims remain. I have clear eyes on weeding out bad apples from good apples and assessing the big picture. I think everyone is best served by truth and honesty in observing facts as they stand with regard to the profound issues at play in so many Muslim countries, and what the common variable is again, and again, and again, and again.

Rather than address the elephant in the room and agree that people should embrace liberal values that ensure freedom for people to act and think as they will, [Aslan] hammers the semantics of using the term, “Muslim countries.” This does little to persuade me that he actually cares about these issues and really cares about seeing them solved in the countries they plague. He reluctantly admits to them, but seems more keen to emphasize that the hosts are skirting bigotry and conducting a “stupid” conversation because they identify huge swaths of Muslim countries as “Muslim countries.”

What exactly does Aslan thinks connects the countries with these issues? Race? Language? Economics? Or religion?

Bergdahl Prisoner Swap

Posted in President Obama,War on Terror by Ryan on the June 2nd, 2014

As details unfold about Bowe Bergdahl’s return from Taliban custody, I’m struck at how this is similar to Benghazi. In the sense that it isn’t just a singularly bad event, but a multi-faceted debacle of several interconnected parts, none of which are positive.



Before: Multiple official requests for more security and precautions following security incidents went unheeded to the point of dereliction of duty on the part of those responsible within the State Department.

During: Limited or no substantive action was taken to respond in real time to requests for assistance during the hours long attack. Both this and the previous point resulted in the deaths of four Americans, most notably, an active United States Ambassador.

After: The Obama administration took the politically convenient route of affirmatively asserting that an internet video was to blame.



Before: Personal email and new statements from soldiers within his unit strongly suggest Bergdahl went AWOL from his base.

During: Several soldiers were killed during search and recovery operations and asset reassignment related to his disappearance.

After: The furthest reaching ramification I can think of from this entire event is the terrible precedent of exchanging several captives for a US service member. From now into the future, there can be a plausible expectation that the United States government will negotiate on these types of terms.




Chasing the Cause Célèbre

Posted in Media Bias,War on Terror,World by Ryan on the May 7th, 2014
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Some stories get a lot of coverage, others don’t. The reasons why should give us all pause to consider how we understand the world and how we react to things in it.

There have been stories about Boko Haram killing hundreds in Nigeria for months now. However, I don’t recall them being front page news like the current stories about the abduction of large numbers of girls. The gender specific nature of the victims seems to have elevated the evil of Boko Haram to new levels, even attracting the attention of US Senators and prompting a letter signed by all 20 female United States Senators.

Senator Susan Collins of Maine is even calling for US Special Forces to be used to help recover the girls.

The debate of using US troops aside, it is striking how hundreds of people being massacred, and students being mercilessly killed doesn’t elicit a great deal of attention until something more emotionally tangible happens that aligns well with more contemporary themes.

I’m wondering why these 20 senators did not sign a letter when 29 students were killed by the same group as mentioned in one of the articles linked above.

Suspected Islamic militants killed 29 students in a pre-dawn attack Tuesday on a northeast Nigerian school, survivors said, setting ablaze a locked dormitory and shooting and slitting the throats of those who escaped through windows. Some were burned alive.

Boko Haram is bad, and we should react uniformly to its actions, just as we should react uniformly to any perpetration of evil, bigotry or violence. Leaders, journalists and concerned citizens need to stop chasing the day’s cause célèbre and actually be informed to react in a principled manner to events in our world.

Islamic Terror

Posted in Media Bias,War on Terror,World by Ryan on the September 23rd, 2013

I’ve been struck the past couple of days just how many large scale events have recently taken place around the world involving Muslim extremists. Particularly noteworthy has been the underwhelming reporting. Were these Christian extremists or some other “unsavory variety” of terror to a progressive mindset, I think the media would be fixated on the wave of violence sweeping the world. I suppose this is the new normal, to either shrug off murder from extreme Islamic adherents as a regularity to be tolerated, or to treat it as non-representative of the whole of Islam and bury the headlines down the page. I wonder if the mall in Kenya got a lot of attention because it most closely resembles a western venue?

Mass murder in a mall in Kenya.

Hostages in gun battles in the Phillipines.

Villagers massacred in Nigeria.

Scores killed in a church bombing in Pakistan.

It is sad these things are happening and I hope apologists for Islam more conspicuously recognize the cancer of extremism from within.

Shooting First and Aiming Later

Posted in Election 2012,Foreign Policy,National Security,President Obama,War on Terror by Ryan on the September 12th, 2012

President Obama takes a full swipe at Romney with this statement in the wake of Romney’s criticism of the Obama Administration’s handling of the Cairo Embassy’s confusing condemnation of “hurtful” free speech:

 “There’s a broader lesson to be learned here,” Mr. Obama told “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft at the White House. “And I — you know, Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later.”

One is left to wonder, what does “aiming before you shoot” look like then? Apparently like this:

Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths.  We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.  But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence.  None.  The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts.

So Obama says that Romney is mixed up in his awareness of the facts, after he just delivered the exact same message his administration disavowed and that Governor Romney is criticizing.

Mr. President, it doesn’t matter if you say how unacceptable violence is, if you criticize “hurtful speech” in the same breath, you are tacitly justifying the violence.

As Governor Romney put it:

I spoke out when the key fact that I referred to was known, which was that the Embassy of the United States issued what appeared to be an apology for American principles. That was a mistake. And I believe that when a mistake is made of that significance, you speak out.

“Incompetence” to Blame for Incompetence

“Frankly it just came down to the fact there was not a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed administrator in place until I was confirmed at the end of June to make a really significant decision like that, that would have impact on a number of people,” Pistole said. “That was a big part of it.”

TSA Director Pistole is basically telling us that the White House was so inept in responding to the threat of underwear bombers, that it took the actual confirmation of a TSA director over 7 months later to then begin the process of implementing the pat downs, which wouldn’t take effect until another 3 months later.

So this Christmas, if you’re flying, as we celebrate the 1 year anniversary foiling of the “Underwear Bomber,” we can also join hands in celebrating the 2 month anniversary of nationwide pat downs.

We Con the World

Posted in Media Bias,War on Terror,World by Ryan on the June 4th, 2010

A humorous look at a serious situation.  I don’t know how I would even hold a conversation with someone that thought Israel at fault in the “Flotilla Incident.”

Southern States Once Controlled by Gigantic Terrorist Army

Posted in U.S.,War on Terror by Ryan on the April 11th, 2010

So says Roland Martin.

Even if you’re a relative of one of the 9/11 hijackers, that man was an out-and-out terrorist, and nothing you can say will change that. And if your great-great-great-granddaddy was a Confederate who stood up for Southern ideals, he too was a terrorist.

They are the same.

Keep America Safe

Posted in Foreign Policy,National Security,President Obama,War on Terror by Ryan on the October 14th, 2009

A new organization started by Liz Cheney, someone I love seeing debate democrats on foreign policy and national defense.

Their “Rhetoric vs. Reality” video is excellent.

Political Correctness

Posted in Media Bias,U.S.,War on Terror by Ryan on the May 21st, 2009

Perhaps CNN thought it was irrelevant to mention the Islamic religious affiliation of those planning to bomb a synagogue and shoot down a US military airplane.

The CNN article doesn’t once mention any sort of religious affiliation, desire to avenge muslim deaths, nor the desire to, “do jihad.”  I suppose it was not an important detail.

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