History can be a nasty thing that gets in the way sometime. Charles Krauthammer reminds us of this in a column in the Washington Post on Friday. President Obama has said that he wants to return to “same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago.” Hmm. Now let’s see. Thirty years ago was 1979, the year Muslims stormed the American Embassy in Iran, took approximately seventy hostages, and held them for more than a year. The Marine barracks in Lebanon were blown up in 1983. There was the oil embargo of the US in the 1970’s. This does not sound like a loving relationship.
So let’s see what we have done lately to change from this ‘loving relationship’ to the tension that we have now. According to the article:
“The two Balkan interventions — as well as the failed 1992-93 Somalia intervention to feed starving African Muslims (43 Americans were killed) — were humanitarian exercises of the highest order, there being no significant U.S. strategic interest at stake. In these 20 years, this nation has done more for suffering and oppressed Muslims than any nation, Muslim or non-Muslim, anywhere on Earth. Why are we apologizing?”
“George W. Bush went to the Islamic Center in Washington six days after the Sept. 11 attacks, when the fires of Ground Zero were still smoldering, to declare “Islam is peace,” to extend fellowship and friendship to Muslims, to insist that Americans treat them with respect and generosity of spirit.
“And America listened. In these seven years since Sept. 11 — seven years during which thousands of Muslims rioted all over the world (resulting in the death of more than 100) to avenge a bunch of cartoons — there’s not been a single anti-Muslim riot in the United States to avenge the massacre of 3,000 innocents. On the contrary. In its aftermath, we elected our first Muslim member of Congress and our first president of Muslim parentage.”
“Iran has already responded to the Obama overture. In perfect tune with Obama’s defensiveness, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared that better relations might be possible — after America apologized for 60 years of crimes against Iran. Note the 60 years. The mullahs are as mystified by Obama’s pre-1979 (or 1989) good old days as I am.”
Americans are smart enough to remember where we really are (I hope).