If I were President…
1. We get less than 20% of our oil from the Middle East. I’d halt this immediately.
2. That oil shortfall would be sourced from our own reserves and Canada. I’d even throw a bone to Venezuela in exchange for their withdrawal from OPEC.
3. I’d close all bases in the Middle East.
4. I’d place a base in Israel and Egypt. Keep the base in Turkey.
5. I’d tell Egypt and Turkey that they have choice. Either they’re with the West or their with the Muslim world. If they decide that they’re with the Muslim World, then we withdraw all support and all bases from those countries.
6. I’d tell Europe and Asia that America is no longer responsible and will no longer take action in the Middle East except in the case of defense of our allies.
7. The Allies in the Middle East would be designated as Israel because they are a Democracy as well as Egypt, Turkey and Jordan.
8. Our alliance with Egypt, Turkey and Jordan would be predicated upon Democratic reforms and their renunciation of a foreign policy based upon Islamic Internationalism. These countries can keep their Islamic Nationalism, if they chose to do so. That choice would mean our pulling all resources and support from their nations.
9. Support of Jordan and Egypt would also be predicated upon an agreement to assimilation all Palestinian refugees. All refugee camps would have to be closed down. Those refugees would have to be given full rights in the countries in which they are located. The US would assist with funding for housing and job training for these refugees at 50% of the cost. This Aid Package would be closely guided by a contractual auditor to ensure that the monies were being used to build infrastructure and not lining the pockets of corrupt officials. If bribes are insisted upon, funding would be withdrawn.
10. Continued support of Israel would be predicated upon a real peace plan with the Palestinians.
a. Israel would either permanently partition the West Bank and Gaza as sovereign nations and pull out completely leaving the Palestinians to their own fate.
b. Israel would annex the Palestinian areas and alter their constitution making Israel an officially and legally secular nation. Part of that constitutional reconstruction would be safeguards for all religions, creeds, ethnicities from persecution, etc.
There would be a ten year time frame to effect these changes with specific milestones in place. If these milestones are not met, we would pull all support for any or all of these nations.
We would offer the new Palestine Nation, if created, a package of aid in return for a turning away from Islamism. The US would provide financial and expert support in building a nation from the ground up. A referendum from the Palestinian people would be required to receive this Aid Package. In essence, the Palestinian people would be required to request it via said referendum and the leaders of Hamas, Fatah as well as members of any other quasi-governmental group recognized by the people. If the people did not vote for our assistance, the offer would be withdrawn. This Aid Package would also be closely guided by a contractual auditor to ensure that the monies were being used to build infrastructure and not lining the pockets of corrupt officials. If bribes are insisted upon, funding would be withdrawn.
The onus would then be on these nations. If they decided to go along with us, they would have our support. If not, we would withdraw from them and leave them to their collective fates.
I would have these treaties ratified by the US Congress and the United Nations.
There would be no military solutions offered. Either they come on line with us or we no longer have a reason to be associated with them. End of discussion.
As for the Gulf and their oil, that would be the responsibility of whomever wishes to continue to purchase oil from those nations. China, France, Germany…whomever it may be.
We would continue to patrol the ocean lanes for support of international trade. The Straits of Hormuz — no longer our problem. Saudi Arabia — keep with your Wahhabism/Salafism on your own shores or risk offending more nations.
Egypt seems to be progressing towards Democracy. This surprised me as I thought that the Muslim Brotherhood would take them in the direction of Islamic Sharia. This is a positive development. Jordan would need to step away from Monarchy and join the rest of the world in Democratic reforms.
Over the short term, these initiatives would seem expensive. Over the long term, these initiatives would save America and the Globe much in terms of blood and treasure.
This would be my solution.
In effect, we would be saying; “Join the World and we will support you. Remain in the Dark Ages and we will abandon you.”
I want out of the business of supporting corrupt and/or stubborn regimes. Whether that regime be Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Western Europe.
The next thing that I would do would be to withdraw all forces from Europe. The only way we would keep US troops stationed in Europe would be if at least 50% of the costs were funded by the country that wished for us to be there. All real estate used by the forces stationed in those countries would need to be loaned permanently at a cost free basis for the duration of the deployment to that country. A Status of Forces Agreement would have to be met whereby our Servicemembers would be subject to US Law and the UCMJ only while in country. All services for our Servicemembers would be provided without interference by the United States. All Servicemembers would be on a Tax Free Status in that country. That nation would also have to be a member in good standing of the Democratic Nations of the World.
If they are not willing to do this. No problem. We will simply not have a need to act in defense of their Nation.
I would also pull out of South Korea. On the way out, I’d tell China that if North Korea attacks, we would bomb the North into the dark ages. That would be my final and only dealing with North Korea. If the people of the North are too brainwashed, too stupid or too weak to fight for change, this is not the problem of the United States of America. Let China feed North Korea or South Korea if that be their desire.
I would pull all of our forces out of Japan. Japan doesn’t need us there and many of the people don’t want us there. Next, I would enter a treaty with the Philippines wherein we purchase land from them to station our Pacific Forces. I would base a Marine Expeditionary Unit and an Army Mechanized Infantry/Stryker Division there along with a Carrier Fleet being on Station at all times.
China would be warned that Japan is still our ally. Taiwan would be told to work out their differences with China. If China became bellicose and threatened invasion, we would act in defense of Taiwan. Unless the threat is based on Taiwanese provocation. In that case, Taiwan is on their own.
I would also make an alliance of mutual support with India. Our Armed Forces would conduct joint operations/exercises with India. If possible, I would allow for a treaty whereby US Forces would be permanently stationed in Southern India. This would hinge upon Indian acquiescence on the Kashmir debate.
I would withdraw all forces and support from Pakistan and Afghanistan. If Pakistan wanted our support, they would have to oust the Saudi Wahhabis and the Deobandi. Pakistan would also be required to sweep the FATA and NWFP of taliban influences. They would also be required to withdraw from the Kashmir debate. This would be the price of assistance from the US. No debate. No equivocation. If they want our support, they give up their dispute with India over Kashmir and halt support of all terrorism directed towards India.
India and Kashmir would be required to allow a full vote by the Kashmiri people. 1. Independence 2. Annexation by Pakistan 3. Retention by India
International Election Officials would oversee the vote. Any monkey business by either side and no deal. Kashmir should be able to decide it’s fate. Their fate should not be decided by Muslim terrorists or Indian Soldiers.
We would withdraw all support from Pakistan if this is not followed through to completion. With regards to India, we go to a neutral stance. India has no need of our support. They’re a viable nation in their own right.
Aside from moving away from the Defense of Europe, I would do nothing in Europe. They’re sovereign nations that can navigate their way through the world in their own rite. We should not be providing defense for them unless they are willing to subsidize it.
On patrolling the commercial sea lanes, I would require that other nations either subsidize fleet operations or provide support in the form of personnel and equipment. Either that or we protect only US shipping.
It’s time for the free ride to end. The Nations of the World (especially Europe) have enjoyed peace at the expense of the American tax payer for far too long. They decry our every move. It’s time for them to step up. The World doesn’t want Team America — World Police or so they say. Let them have their desire.
These actions would save American Tax dollars. They would remove us from the Middle East conflicts. They would place the onus on other nations to conduct their own defense and improve the lot of their own citizenry.
After these offers, blame for the sorry affairs of the world could no longer be placed at the feet of America. The primary sources of conflict would have been given a viable alternative. If they chose the path to peace, it would be with our leadership. If they chose the path to war, it would be at their own behest. The blame would lie with themselves.
Another thing that I think would be a positive is for an exchange program wherein a Battalion of another Nations forces would be given the opportunity to come to Fort Irwin, Texas to train with US Forces. I’d rotate the Nation on a regular basis. 6 Month rotations. This would be a tremendous opportunity for our Armed Forces and theirs. I’d offer this opportunity to India, Romania, South Korea, Hungary, Egypt, Russia, Thailand, Iraq, Jordan, Israel and other Nations with whom we would engage in treaties of mutual defense or with whom we wish to improve relations.
The last item on my agenda would be reforming the UN. That, though, is a whole other post.
Along with legislation mandating a Declaration of War in order to commit forces to a Ground Invasion of another country. I have no problem with bombing a perpetrating country into the stone ages. If there are viable targets. I would also work to repeal the prohibition against assassination of World Leaders. We could have saved a lot of money and lives by simply putting a .99$ bullet through the forehead of Saddam Hussein. We could save a bit more by spreading about 200 USD worth of lead throughout the Iranian, Hezbollah and Syrian power structures.
Tunisia, Egypt, Lybia, Syria. Revolutions are breaking out all over within the Arab world.
Egypt. They wanted Mubarak out. They say that they desire freedom. Now, the likely scenario is that they vote in some form of Muslim Brotherhood-ish Islamic government. A government that seems to be heading toward a Sunni version of the corrupt government of Iran. How is that more Democratic than Mubaraks regime? How is that freedom?
The Syrians are doing the same thing. Protesting, demonstrating, rioting in order to get Assad out. They say that they want freedom. They say that they desire Democracy. Yet again, they’ll more than likely get an Islamic Sharia form of Governance based on the model of Iran.
In Lybia, it’s more of the same. Trading Qaddafi for Islamic Sharia under Fundamentalists who wish to force their idea of Islam on the masses.
Is Sharia as dictated by power mad fanatics considered freedom by the people of the Arab world? Trading one form of tyranny for another. Is this Democracy?
I can’t see a difference between a Fundamentalist Islamic Government under Sharia law wherein all are coerced into being “good Muslims” or face imprisonment, beatings, torture or murder and the genocidal regimes of Stalin and Mao. If one substitutes Islam for Maoist Communism, the difference between Mao and Khomeini escapes me. Mao starved his people to death. Khomeini sent tens of thousands of Irani children to clear minefields between his Irani and Iraqi forces during the war that lasted most of the 1980s. He promised that they would be Holy Martyrs and go straight to paradise. What kind of monster sends ten year old children into the middle of minefields? How is that different from Mao, Stalin, Hitler or Pol Pot. In the end, the only difference between Iran under Khomeini and Iran under the Shah was that the Shah wanted a secular Iran and Khomeini wanted a Fundamentalist Shi’a Iran. Khomeini stepped replaced the leadership of the hated Savak with his own devils and left the torturers and jailers in place. Evin Prison is the same hell on earth under Khomeini as it was under the Shah.
Is this the type of Freedom and Democracy for which Egyptians, Tunisians, Syrians and Lybians fight?
American Capitalism is definitely not perfect. Even so, you get a fighting chance. You make your own choices. America may not be completely free. Not as it once was. Still, America has more freedom and more opportunity than most countries. One can complain about America. One can discount America with lies, hyperbole and propaganda. Yet, the truth remains. People from all over the world flee to America in order to join a country that has more freedom and opportunity than nearly any other country in the history of the world. We are free to come and go as we please. We are free to choose a religion. We are free to choose no religion. We are free to dress as we please. No Basiji, Chastity or Morality Police roam our streets beating women for dressing inappropriately.
What is it that Arabs want? What do Muslims want? They say that they want freedom and Democracy. It seems to me they want the power to coerce others into being “good Muslims.” They say that they want tolerance and acceptance. Yet, I do not see tolerance or acceptance being shown to others by many Muslims and especially by governments who claim to be Islamic.
What of the Religious minorities in those countries? Are they entitled to freedom and democracy as well? Are they entitled to freedom of religion? Are they entitled to freedom from religious persecution? Do women have the right to walk down the street unmolested with their hair blowing in the wind. Do women have the freedom to choose their spouse? Can a Muslim reject Islam and become a Buddhist or a Wiccan without a Fatwa being issued against him. Is it the feeling within the Arab-Muslim World that only Muslims are entitled to Religious Freedom?
I know that there are tolerant and accepting Muslims out there. I know that there are Muslims out there who wish only to be accepted as a Muslim and have no desire to force their brand of Islam on any other. I’ve met them in Jordan. I’ve met them in Egypt. I’ve met them in Afghanistan and Thailand, America and Indonesia. I’ve met them all over. One of the nicest people whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting is a Muslim Woman in Cairo. She loved Islam. She also accepted that others did not agree with her choice. She was fine with that. She had no desire to force her views on me. For my part, I had no desire to force my views on her. I’ve met people like this all over the world.
I readily admit that there are Christians who would force their Christian ideology on others if given the chance. I’ve met them as well. I find these folks repulsive. I find Muslims who would force their religious ideology on others equally repulsive. Thankfully, we, in the West, have separated Religion from Politics. It still reverberates in the halls of our political bodies. Even so, religion is held in check and kept out of our laws for the most part. I would go further myself and eradicate religion from Politics. Personally, I’d like to see a Taoist Buddhist as President of the United States of America someday.
I am digressing. The question is; “What do Muslims want?”
Freedom for all or freedom only for Muslims within their country?
Democracy would mean protecting the rights of minorities as well as the majority. This is not possible under Sharia Law. Sharia and Democracy are largely incompatible. Democracy means allowing differences of opinion to exist. Freedom means allowing the same freedom for others that one expects to have for oneself.
If a Muslim can not wake up one day and say to himself that they wish to convert to Buddhism and do so without being murdered by the Muslim majority, then there is no freedom. There is only a lie. The concept of freedom goes hand in hand with liberty. To be free means that one is free to make all of one’s choices in life. To be sure, law and order must prevail in some form. Murder must be prohibited and discouraged as well as thievery, rape and other such crimes. Fundamental freedoms must be given to all, though. One of those fundamental freedoms in any Democratic Society is freedom of religion. If this does not exist, the rest is a lie.
If any one cares to explain, please feel free to do so in the comments section? I am truly curious.
Recently, a question was asked: “Do you really believe what you are saying or do you think FDR and Bush were begging and pleading for Japan and Bin Laden to attack us so we could enter a war? Seriously?”
On the question of Japan, undoubtedly FDR was courting an attack as justification for entering the War in Europa. Anyone who has read the history of the build up to World War II knows that FDR was looking for a way to get the American people on a war footing. Embargoes are a mother!
As for bin Laden. BushCo were strangely oblivious of bin Laden prior to 9-11. I do not put it past the Gov’t and especially one guided by the likes of Cheney and Rummy to allow an attack to occur so as to “lead” the nation to war.
Why did we NEED to go to Iraq? The answer is that we DID NOT. Yet, 9-11 and the GWOT were used as an excuse to take us into that war. They definitely “shaded the truth” to get the war that they wanted.
The Spanish American War was yet another contrived war as was the Mexican War and the Vietnam War. When one looks at the Korean War, it is a war into which we either secretly goaded North Korea or into which Truman simply blundered like a blind fool.
American spheres of influence were stated loudly to the World. South Korea lay JUUUUUUUSSSSSST outside of the line. Leading NK, China and the USSR to believe that we’d stand by and do nothing.
From the internet:
In June 1950, after Secretary of State Dean Acheson declared Korea to be outside of America’s sphere of influence, the North Koreans invaded South Korea and attempted to reunify the country under communist rule. President Truman immediately declared Korea a “global police action” and attempted to drive the North Koreans out of South Korea. In fact, the United States secret larger goal in the Korean war was to defeat North Korean communism and create a unified Korea under American domination and control. Korea was supposed to be the first major effort to rollback global communism. However, communist China, feeling threatened that aggressive American actions against North Korea would be followed by American attempts to undermine Chinese communism, entered the Korean war against the United States and its South Korean ally. The Korea war quickly proved to be a deadly stalemate between the United States and communist China. Only in 1953, after President Eisenhower secretly threatened to drop atomic bombs on China, did the Chinese agree to an end to the war, leaving North and South Korea divided just as they were at the beginning of the war.
The Korean war, as many American leader later said, seem to justify America’s global crusade against Soviet communism. It convinced many Americans of the truth of the United States governments warning that the Soviet were plotting to take over the world and impose communist domination over the free world. The Korean war would further justify American creation of the “nuclear umbrella” to shield the free world from Soviet expansion. As described by Secretary of State Dean Acheson in 1949, the nuclear umbrella was the American threat to wage nuclear war against the Soviet Union if the communists threatened any country in the free world. An attack on any member of the free world, thus, would be treated as an attack against the United States, which would lead America to wage nuclear war against the aggressor.
As well as the following:
After World War II, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. divided Korea into spheres of influence—the Soviets backed Communist-ruled North Korea and the U.S. backed the South Korean dictatorship. Both Koreas had threatened to invade the other. When U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson declared that South Korea was no longer part of the U.S. defense perimeter in Asia, the North invaded the South.
Do I think that a US President and/or the US Political and Military Leadership are capable of allowing an attack or incident to happen so as to lead us into war? Definitely. It’s been done several times.
REMEMBER THE ALAMO!
REMEMBER THE MAINE!
REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR!
9-11! NEVER AGAIN!
FORT SUMTER! (As Lincoln stated; “The North must not be seen as the aggressor.)
The Tonkin Gulf Incident
Leaving the Koreas outside of our “sphere of influence.”
What did Madame Ambassador say to Saddam Hussein when he asked how the US would view aggression against Kuwait?
Known faulty intelligence used to justify the invasion of Iraq in ’03.
The War of 1812 and lust for Canada.
Hawaii, the US Marines and Dole Fruit
Gautamala and United Fruit
Nicaragua/Panama ~ We needed a Canal passage.
Pinochet ~ Nixon and Henry Kissinger
Nixon, Cambodia and Laos
Scenes like this are ubiquitous in Afghanistan. Old shells of Soviet Armor and Trucks. Every type of Soviet Equipment can be found out there. Aircraft down at Bagram. Personal and Crew Served Weapons of various sorts are everywhere. Bridging equipment. Soviet Armor and Personnel Carriers. Soviet Mobile Kitchen Trailers. Everything needed to field an invasion. The Soviets left much behind when they hightailed their sorry asses back across the Amu Darya in ’88 or ’89.
Now it’s all rusting out on Afghan Bases, outside the Herat Airport and across the highways and byways of the country.
See the two rocks…
Well, some Muslims believe that it is forbidden to touch the penis (even one’s own penis) with one’s hands.
In order to urinate, they’ll take two rocks and hold their penis.
Being the polite and considerate culture that Islam is…they leave the rocks in the toilet so that they’ll be conveniently available for others.
Yes! The next guy WILL use those same two rocks to hold his penis.
And the next one…and the next one…and the next one…lol
“Justice has been done,” President Obama
Osama is DEAD DEAD DEAD. If there is no hell, May he burn eternally somewhere else. Good Job Obama and everyone else involved in the OP.
I doubt that they’ll ever display it. Hell, they should hang it from the Washington Monument in the exact same method that the extremist and illiterate rabble of the Muslim World would do if they captured Bush or any American/
really. Give the bastards a taste of their own medicine. But we’re too “civilized” for all that. More is the pity.
Some folks will spin this politically and attempt to deny Obama credit for taking Osama out. How could you not give him credit, though? Bush had chances to get him and failed. Clinton had chances to get him and failed. It took balls to order the strike. Took balls to order the mission. Took discipline to keep it secret for 6 months. Some leaders would have failed this test. Some leaders would have not wanted to risk the wrath of al Qaeda and other Muslim Extremist groups by taking Osama out.
I’m not a huge Obama fan by any stretch of the imagination, but, in my book, Obama gets big props from me for having the balls to carry this through. Period. That’s just me.
THE OBAMA OSAMA DEATH ANNOUNCEMENT
I love it.
I’m a huge Obama fan for this week, at least.
So long Osama. May you rot eternally in the fires of Gehena!
”I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.” – Mark Twain
I’m pretty damn pro-Israel.
I am. Unabashedly so.
They fight. They work for their own welfare. They built an oasis out of a desert.
How long are we supposed to defend these guys? How long are we supposed to put out security and treasure and blood on the line for these people? When do they stand on their own?
If they can’t, then they’re not a Nation State. They’re at best a dependent territory. Perhaps, they should become a state. Join the Union. Then I could see supporting them indefinitely. They could pay Federal taxes with the rest of us.
If they can never stand on their own, should they stand at all?
That is my question.
No, I don’t think that to be the case. It’s not really about Islam generally speaking.
It’s more complicated than that.
Islam. Muslims. They’re not bad folks and many of them are damn fine people.
The problem that we won’t face is the Nejd.
Saudi Arabia owns it and has BLACK GOLD.
Also, the official religion of Saudi Arabia is the same form of Islam from which sprang all of the Fundamentalist Thugs who are terrorists. Saudi Arabia is a State Sponsor of Terrorism.
BUT because they have oil. It’s the truth that shall remain unspoken.
It is the evil with no name.
To speak it’s name is to reveal the truth.
It’s easier to keep the public ignorant and let a few hundred or a few thousand die at a time and keep the pipe line open to “cheap” oil.
What’s a few thousand civilians to Big Business and Big Government. Most of the ones who die don’t pay taxes or pay negligible taxes anyway. They don’t matter.
Saudi Arabia is the monster. Wahhabism is their little secret Dr. Frankenstein. Islamic Fundamentalism is the monster escaped from it’s dungeon.
It’s escaped before and the Muslims themselves went in and killed thousands of them in the Nejd while the Brits killed thousand more in the NWFP and the FATA in Central Asia.
Today, though, we choose to ignore the belly of the beast and instead, we “combat” the excretions.
Thousands, no, hundreds of thousands have died in the past 10 years.
To keep that Saudi oil pipeline open.
For even more theater of the absurd, consider that the TSA screens pilots. If a pilot wants to bring a plane down, he or she can probably do it with bare hands, and certainly without weapons. It’s also not entirely crazy to think that an airline will take measures to keep their pilots from turning their multi-million dollar planes into flying bombs. Through the index funds in my retirement portfolio, I’m pretty sure I own stock in at least one airline, and I’m pretty sure airline managers know that cutting corners on security isn’t in my best interests as a shareholder.
And the items being confiscated? Are nailclippers and aftershave the tools of terrorists? What about the plastic cup of water I was told to dispose of because “it could be acid” (I quote the TSA screener) in New Orleans before the three-ounce rule? What about the can of Coke I was relieved of after a flight from Copenhagen to Atlanta a few months ago? I would be more scared of someone giving a can of Coke to a child and contributing to the onset of juvenile diabetes than of using it to hide something that could compromise the safety of an aircraft.
And finally, most screening devices are ineffective because anyone who is serious about getting contraband on an airplane can smuggle it in a body cavity or a surgical implant. The scanners the TSA uses aren’t going to stop them.
Over the next few years, we’re headed for a bitter, partisan clash over legislative priorities. Before the battle starts, let’s reach for that low-hanging, bipartisan fruit. Let’s abolish the TSA.
We flew from Bangkok to Cairo on the 21st of September. On the first day, we tripped around to Giza and the City of the Dead. Later that evening, we took the train to Aswan. Along the way, we stopped at Abo Simbel, Luxor, Karnak, Philae, Deendeera, Abydos, Hurghada and finally flew to Alexandria. We spent two days touring Alexandria. Taking in the new Library of Alexandria and Fort Qutbay as well as the Greek and Roman Catacombs under the city. We drove from Alex. back to Cairo where we toured the city in detail (Muhammad Ali Mosque, the Giza Plateau, Pyramids and Sphinx, Saladin’s Citadel, etc). We also took in Sakkara and Memphis and viewed the Red and Bent Pyramids as well as the Alabaster Sphinx and the Statue of Ramses II along with the Ziggurat of Zoser and the surrounding pyramids.
Then we were off to Israel. We spent about 5 days in Jerusalem viewing the old City and took day tours out to Nazareth, Akko (Acre), Ceaserea, the Dead Sea, the Jordan River and Masada. We met an old friend (Mali) from my days in the MFO in the Sinai. And we got the excellent airport treatment for which Tel Aviv is so famous. But that’s a story for another day.
Finally, we were on to Turkey. I wanted to see the Hagia Sofia. Primarily. That said, I was a bit anxious about Turkey. I’ve been to quite a few Muslim countries and Islam hangs over them like a pall. I don’t particularly care for it. It’s quite heavy and puts a damper on things. Israel did not have this except in the Palestinian areas of the Old City in Jerusalem.
We arrived in Turkey and I was quite pleasantly surprised. Islam is an undercurrent in Istanbul. They’re Muslim. You know it. They know it. No one gives a damn. I like that. It’s how it should be with all religion and it’s how it is in most non-Muslim places.
It was refreshing. I don’t think I saw but 10 Chadori/Hijab wearing women and they all seemed to be tourists. Nothing oppressive in Turkey about religion. They seem to all get along. I met quite a few Nestorian Christians and they had the same attitude. We’re Christians. So what! There’s none of the demand that their religion be respected at all cost. I like that.
Turkey was clean as well. That’s another thing about Muslim countries. They’re dirty and run down. Even newer places. It’s as if Allah has declared that “thou shalt not do maintenance.” lol Cairo is the worst. They built the city hundreds of years ago atop ruins. They didn’t remove anything. They cleared no land. Just started building atop the rubble. When those buildings started falling apart, they just built around them. And the dirt and grime. It’s everywhere.
Not so in Istanbul. It’s a beautifully maintained city. Clean streets.
And the people. Everyone was so nice. And they smiled. Very few mean spirited folks or scammers around. As a matter of fact, I can’t remember anyone even attempting a scam on us. We asked directions when we were lost and we were simply given directions.
The food was great as well. They had these pancakes with beef or veggies or jellies. Whatever you wanted. AND THEY WERE DELICIOUS. Of course, the Lamb Kabob was excellent. I ate so much kabob, I thought I was going to explode.
The Hagia Sofia or Aya Sofia was wondrous. Incredible. Amazing. It was gargantuan. The famous religious depictions were beautiful. Centuries old Art.
The Blue Mosque or Suleimein. One of the most beautiful structures I have had the pleasure to visit. More lovely inside than the Mohammad Ali Mosque in Cairo. Insanely intricate and well maintained as well. Simply beautiful. Can’t say it enough.
We walked around the city several times. Stopped by a few museums. The Istanbul Archaeological Museum was huge. Relics from Troy, Persia, the Ottomans, the Greeks, the Romans, and everything in between. It was amazing.
Then we went up the hill to the Topkapi Palace. I didn’t know much about it. I knew it was supposed to be gorgeous and historical. I hadn’t researched it. We almost didn’t go. Huge mistake. If you make it to Istanbul, you must go to the Topkapi Palace. Aside from it’s beauty and historocity. It has what are called “The Sacred Trusts.”
The Sacred Trusts are actual artifacts handed down (or stolen) from Empire to Empire from the time of Mohammad. His clothing. His water bowl. The plates off of which he ate. And not only Mohammad. There are relics from Fatima and “the Companions.”
That is some serious history.
There are also pieces of the Kaba’a from Mekkah and old keys and locks to the Kaba’a and the Grand Mosque there in Mekkah.
I could scarcely believe my eyes when I walked in this room. When I laid my eyes upon the Sword of Mohammad, I thought I was seeing things. I had to rub my eyes. Take my glasses off and clean them and take a second to let it sink in.
Imagine finding the sword of Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great. Imagine finding the actual clothing that Jesus wore or the actual cup and plate from the last supper.
I’m no believer in any of these religions, but, I have a keen interest in history. As a personality from an earlier age and a great historical interest, I have much respect for Mohammad. He built an empire from nothing. He created a religion and a culture which has lasted for over 1300 years. It’s not his fault that his religion and his culture has been hi-jacked by complete asses like Osama bin Laden, the House of Saud and the followers of al Wahhab. That’s not to mention the Iranian fools. And, still yet, it doesn’t take into account the idiotic Apologists in Europe and America who sell their lies to an ignorant populace.
At any rate, it was a singular experience for me to be able to gaze upon the Swords that Mohammad and his companions used to rise up out of the desert and plant the seed that created one of the worlds greatest empires.
I was awe stricken.
After Istanbul, it was on to Ephesus to see the Greek Ruins, the House of Mary where Jesus’ Mother supposedly lived out her last days and the Temple of Artemis. Next day it was on to Pammakule. These places are so full of history and culture that there is no possible way for me to do them justice. The Temple of Artemis is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
In this trip, we’d been fortunate enough to visit 3 of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. The Temple of Artemis, The Pharos of Alexandria (Fort Qutbay) and the Pyramids at Giza.
In my estimation, Abo Simbel is a great worthy of this acclamation as well. Abo Simbel is a wonder of any age much less to marvel that it was built thousands of years ago. But then again, Egypt is full of wonders that defy description, dazzle the eye and boggle the mind.
From Cairo to Istanbul in 28 Days. This was a great trip and we all very much enjoyed ourselves.
Hope you enjoy the pictures…Dave
(some of the pics in the slideshow are from earlier trips to Paris, Rome, Athens, Santorini, etc)
I have discussed religion and politics around the world with people with whom I have no reason to expect agreement.
Yet, I’ve never been in a fight. And I don’t really hold back on that which I believe.
For instance, I know for a fact that I disagree with most Europeans with whom I come into contact over Israel. Yet, I discuss and we’ve discussed without it becoming a problem. This is in personal, face to face conversation. Yet, on the internet, it always turns ugly. Why is this? I’m constantly attacked and called a “cunt” on the ‘net. Especially on websites such as ThailandFriends.com.
It seems that on the net. Where one can be as ugly as possible without physical repercussions, the folks get ugly almost immediately. Without thought. A few folks on this website in particular are guilty of this. One can not speak of Islam without an onslaught of insult. If you ever go there, Ciaran, Beej and Pee Marc are the most egregious examples of this inability to discuss subjects intelligently and amicably. I’ve discussed the pros and cons of Islam with Muslims in Muslim lands and have never been insulted as much. What’s even more hilarious is that one mention of Islam brings about attacks on Christianity. I’m not Christian. So the tactic does not work.
I find it ever more hilarious that one of these guys has as part of his Artistic portraiture a picture of Jesus made up of dollar bills and another print/creation of Shell with blood as oil. Yet, he doesn’t stop to consider that the Holy Keepers and Sacred Defenders of Islam known as Saudi Arabia are the folks who benefit most from the bloody old trade. It’s the Saudis who benefit most from oil and have since their unholy alliance with FDR. Yet, he attacks the dollar and Jesus when it is the Saudi denomination in both money and religion that benefits most from the dollar. Perhaps, he’s too stupid to realize this. The House of Saud, Mohammad and Islam had benefited most from oil.
Then again, most ideologically pure folks are too blind to realize their stupidity.
Which leads to the question? Why?
What is it about White Anglo Saxon Protestants and other Europeans that lead them to attack those who question Islam more vociferously than even Muslims themselves. Muslims are capable of self examination. It seems that White Europeans and their cousins in America are not capable of this. It’s a quandary with which I am not particularly capable of answering. Are these folks so emotionally crippled by their guilt over past “sins” that they are incapable of questioning the present. What is it?
I am truly perplexed by this strange phenomenon. Will some European please explain it to me without becoming enraged and simply calling me a cunt. lol
It’s quite hilarious. So, if you want to debase yourself by calling me a cunt. Please do so. I will laugh it off and spread further the Euro apoplexy. If someone with the intelligence and the ability to emotionally separate oneself from their ideology could explain this strange phenomenon to me could be so kind, I would truly appreciate it.
I’m curious. perhaps, they are so anti-West and so elitist and so bigoted that they can’t see that those whom they seek to “protect” are just as illegitimate and just as corrupt as those against whom, in their impotence, they rebel.
Islamic Extremism began before America was founded. It existed in our early days. It was there in the Barbary Pirates. It was there before our Revolution in the Nejd being fought against by other Muslims. It existed long before we started our foray into the World as a power of any great importance (real or imagined).
Islamic Extremism has been there since the beginning of Islam. Islam was born in blood. It was born extreme. The first act of Muhammad was to use Islam as a tool to capture Mekkah and to turn the pagan shrines there into Islamic Shrines with the Ka’aba as it’s center.
What we know in the modern era as Islamic Extremism was started by al Wahhab. Al Wahhab was a Cleric born in the late 1700s. He assisted the Saudi Family in their ultimately successful efforts to conquer Arabia. Afterwards, his adherents became so violent that they were put down by the Egyptians at the behest and with the approval and thanks of the Ottomans.
The Muslim Brotherhood traces it’s philosophical founding to al Wahhab. All Islamic Terrorism groups not sponsored directly by Iran and even some of those such as Hezbollah, the Quds Force and Hamas trace their philosophical foundings and their violence back through the Muslim Brotherhood to al Wahhab.
I find it amusing when Westerners who are wholly ignorant of the history of Islam and it’s people wax poetic about how America or the West is to blame for Islamic Extremism.
Islam began as a tiny desert cult or sect in the deserts of Arabia. It conquered it’s way via Holy War from Central Asia and Western China to India and Indonesia to parts of Southeast Asia thorugh Asia Minor into Eastern Europe down through the Middle East and the Levant to North Africa and into the African Interior ending in Spain.
This peaceful religion then sided with the Germans in both World Wars I and II. Syria and Egypt then sided with communism and the Soviet Union.
I suppose that is peaceful as compared to a pacifist community or two…
Currently, Islam is used to justify African Slavery, Holy Jihad and suicide bombs, Airplane Hi Jackings, Clitorectomies on young women, the chattel slavery and oppression of millions of women across the Islamic world and in the West, execution of homosexuals, honor killings of sisters, mothers and wives for the slightest of reasons.
It is a given that not all Muslims practice these things or approve of such things. It is a given that the leadership of Islam is weak and vacillating. Relying on oppression and duplicity to remain in power.
Yes, Christians have done ugly things as well. That said, Christians, for the most part, are not doing these things now.
There is no mainstream movement in Christianity that calls for the Bible as Christian Law. No mainstream movement that calls for the execution of infidels, homosexuals or women based on Christian law.
This does not exist in the West. Not in the mainstream.
There are loons and fools a plenty. None of them get the time of day from the majority of the Western World including adherents to the Christian faith.
The world would be better off without Islam and Christianity. That much I believe. Individual Christians and even smaller organizations are fine. It is primarily the politicized and the mainstream fundamentalist Christians with whom I have a problem. Christianity has done much harm. The belief in Jesus of Nazareth and those who follow the actual teachings of Christ have been a great boon to the world at large. Christianity as we know it is a perversion created by the State of Rome as a mechanism of control. It was also used by the Monarchies of Europe to further their power and political aims. Jesus, I believe, would not approve of what we have called Christianity for the past 1600 plus years.
We’d find others things over which to fight.
The West is not to blame for Islamic Extremism.
America is not to blame for Islamic Extremism. It pre-dates America herself and it certainly pre-dates American Global Power.
Someone someday might successfully explain to me how something that existed before her birth is the fault of America. As of this date, no such person has arisen.
Only fools who know nothing of history.
Not all Muslims are enemies of Liberty and Freedom. Not all Muslims would force their brand of religion on others. Even so, there are many Muslims who would. Radicals are always the more powerful force in history. Moderates will usually fight for nothing. Pacifists will not fight. Those who believe in nothing will not fight for their vision of life on the planet.
This is the danger of Islamic Extremism. The radicals are willing to fight and to die for that in which they believe. Ignore that at your own peril–as many have done before.
Smells like tolerance to me…
Speaks volumes to the propaganda of certain parties and their agenda to turn the tide of public opinion against Israel. Arabs/Muslims in Israel are as tolerated/accepted and as free as those in Europe and the United States. That tolerance, acceptance and freedom ends when the Muslims resort to acts of terror.
I felt completely safe in most of Israel. The only time that I felt endangered was around Palestinians because they noted that I was an American and had been a soldier by a pin I was wearing and my bearing.
In the end, Israel creates life out of the desert. Palestine does nothing but destroys and tears down. The Palestinian leadership would much rather destroy itself battering itself against Israel than build it’s people up and create a Palestinian Nation.
That is the major difference to me.
I disagree with waging this “Shadow War” against al Qaeda.
Announce to the world that it is our intention to destroy al Qaeda. They attacked our Nation. They declared War. We did not. This is the War desired by Osama bin Laden and his motley crue of Wahhabist thieves, cuthroats and murderers. They wanted it. They got it.
Announce that we will strike al Qaeda wherever they exist. Wherever they hide. In any hole. On any mountain. On any sea. In any place where al Qaeda deems it necessary to plant a parasitic, violent bud, we shall strike to root it out before it takes root.
Announce that if al Qaeda is allowed to plant operatives or to exist unmolested by the local populace, said populace will be accountable for the actions of al Qaeda and said population will be accountable for any and all deaths resulting from al Qaeda and their brothers and sisters. The fault lies with the folks who cooperate with al Qaeda.
Tell the NGOs and Humitarian Organizations of whatever stripe that we do no hold ourselves accountable for the deaths surrnouding al Qaeda. Whether it be bullets, cluster bombs or fragments of US munitions or suicide vests and IEDs from insurgents or al Qaeda operatives.
We did not want this war. Nevertheless, we have it. We intend to prosecute the war to it’s conclusion. The conclusion is the destruction of al Qaeda and it’s subordinate and parallel organizaations in whatever part of the world it may exist.
After that announcement is made, we, The United States of America, should bomb the Nejd and every place sacred to the Wahhabis. We should invade Saudi Arabia and hold Mekkah hostage all the while allowing the Hajj to continue unmolested. Circulate rumours that we have planted a nuclear device under the Ka’aba along with the intent to detonate said device should a strike occur on US soil.
Also, we should pull out all military resources that protect or support or otherwise maintains the power of any Islamic despot. From Cairo to Iraq and Afghanistan. Tell the people of the Islamic World that their governance is now up to them. If they show that they are worthy and willing to fight for Democracy and their share of the delights of Liberty and Freedom that we will at a time, deemed opportune to us, intercede on their behalf. We will support no country that has as a defining point in their National Statement or
beliefs the destruction of Israel or any other Democracy. Period. We will support no Nation that has as part of it’s Constitiution
Immediately halt all support for Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq until they actually come on line with a WESTERN AGENDA as opposed to an Islamist agenda. I would like to end all support of Islamic Countries period. I would include the protection of their shipping on the sea lanes. Let Iran fight it out with the Sunnis and afterward step in to pick up the pieces. These parties would slaughter each other. The West should precipitate such a crisis and then step in and pick up the pieces after they’ve murdered 2/3rds of each others populations.
Shariah Law. We will support no Nation which has as part of it’s national belief system the enslavement or disenfranchisement of minorities or women.
After this, we strike out at al Qaeda wherever they surface. If locals are killed. It is their fault for not having rooted out al Qaeda or for having allowed al Qaeda to plant roots.
Eventually, they’ll get the message. If al Qaeda is there, missiles will rain down in holy terror. If no al Qaeda is there, no missiles will arrinve.
We must halt our support of terrorising despots. We must support freedom and liberty. We must defeat al Qaeda.
As of now, we are losing this war. Especially when we allow them to plant their seeds of terror in our own front yard.
HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!!!
The TopKapi Palace in Istanbul has a collection called the SACRED TRUSTS.
In this collection are the swords of Hassan, Husayn, Ali, Uthman and many of the other companions of Mohammad. It also includes the Sword of Mohammad himself in addition to a whole array of other items that were handed down from Dynasty to Dynasty of the Caliphate of the Islamic Empire.
It was amazing walking through those rooms. I had no idea that these things existed. A real treat for me. Indeed.
I’ll have to get a copy of the book in order to show it around. Expensive, big and heavy, though.
Still. Amazing. I was awestruck.
This is a list of the items on display in this collection:
- The Holy Mantle
- The Honored Standard
- First Manuscripts of Quranic Verses
- The Letters Of Prophet Muhammad
- The Sacred Seal
- The sacred Strands of Hair
- The Prophet’s Footprint
- The Sacred Sandals
- The Bow Of the Prophet
- The Holy Tooth
- The staff Of Prophet Muhammad
- The staff Of Moses
- The Cooking Vessel Of The Prophet Abraham
- The Turban of the Prophet Joseph
- The Prophet John’s (John the Baptist) Forearm and a Fragment Of His Skull
- The Keys and Locks of the Kaba
- The water Bag used during the restoration of the Tomb of the Prophet
- Covers Of Kaba and the tomb of the prophet
- Soil form the Grave of Prophet Muhammad
- The Prayer Rug and Bridal Veil of Fatimah al-Zahra
- The scarf of Aisha bint Abu Bakr
- Sword Of The Prophet
- Sword Of Abu bakr al-Siddiq
- Sword Of Umar ibn al-Khattab
- Sword Of Uthman ibn Affan
- Sword Of Ali ibn Abu Talib
- A Piece of a Mantle Attributed to Husayn ibn Ali
- A Piece of Earth from Karbala
* I don’t know about the Staff of Moses. Everything else would seem to be original and in decent shape for swords, clothing, etc that are well over 1,000 years old.
I was reading Tamerlane ~ Sword of Islam, Conqueror of the World when I came across this passage. I laughed out loud. Unny was sitting beside me and looked at me funny. So I “made” her read the passage. She looked at me like I was an idiot and asked me why it was funny.
I couldn’t really explain why? It just was….
The book was a most entertaining read. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Justin Marozzi has a similar style to John Man. Man writes exhaustively about Central Asia, China, Genghis Khan and his grandson Kublai.
Timur was a madman. I love the guy.
We need a Timur or a Genghis in our age. Someone with the balls to do what is necessary rather than politicize and haggle like clucking hens.