Who Hijacked Our Country

Monday, April 09, 2007

Nancy Pelosi: Jeopardizing the Peace Process?

Nancy Pelosi sure did push some buttons with her famous trip to Syria. Bush doesn’t want ANY outside interference in his plan (whatever the Hell that is) for the Middle East. Hey, things are going great over there; let’s not jeopardize anything.

Now if any Republicans want to go to Syria, that’s cool. But Democrats — stay the F%$#!#$!! out! And this includes any Democratic ex-president who might have an excellent track record for peace agreements.

Jimmy Carter was ordered by Bush not to go to Syria. He said: “I have known President Bashar al-Assad since he was a college student, and I thought it might be helpful if I went and urged him to support the peace process in the Middle East. But for the only time in my life as a former president, I was ordered by the White House not to go.”

That’s sort of like Barry Bonds offering to help a Little League player with his batting stance — and getting told to F%$#!##!! off.

Now, thousands of rightwing bloggers have dutifully followed their Master’s Orders to display that picture of Nancy Pelosi wearing a head scarf when she was in Syria. For them, here's a little primer from the “DUUUHHH!!!” category:

Most Moslems are offended by the sight of any exposed body part, including long hair. Most women have their hair covered. Pelosi was just following the motto of “when you're in Rome…” More American travelers should be this perceptive about following local customs.

Wearing a head scarf in Syria is no different than being in Japan and taking your shoes off before entering someone’s house. You don’t wear revealing clothing when you're in church, and you don’t walk around most Moslem countries with your long hair flowing.

Understand now?

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Blogger Praguetwin said...

Wearing a head scarf in Syria is no different than being in Japan and taking your shoes off before entering someone’s house. You don’t wear revealing clothing when you're in church, and you don’t walk around most Moslem countries with your long hair flowing.

Having traveled in the Arab world, I had the same thought go through my head, but just couldn't put it into words for some reason.

Well done.

April 9, 2007 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

PragueTwin: Yup, that's what I remember from being in Iran (I haven't been to any of the Arab countries). I knew several American women there who had problems being harrassed and felt up by Iranians. When they started wearing scarves over their heads, the problems stopped and they were treated respectfully. I don't agree with that Moslem prudishness, but travelers need to adapt to local customs.

April 9, 2007 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger ParisL0ve2 said...

When my mom was growing up, women weren't allowed into the Catholic Church that she attended unless they were wearing headscarves. If they didn't have one on, they were turned away.

So you see, it's not just Muslims who were or are "prudes." It was Catholics too!! And let us not forget about certain Christian denominations in which women aren't allowed to wear certain articles of clothing including pants. It's deemed to be inappropriate or suggestive clothing even if it's not. I have a few neighbors like that.

April 9, 2007 at 5:53 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

ParisLOve2: That's true, a lot of Christian denominations have those same ideas about what women should wear. Makes it all the more ironic that the Far Right is making such a huge deal out of Pelosi's scarf.

April 9, 2007 at 6:08 PM  
Blogger People in the Sun said...

And I would argue that if you go to a house in Japan and take your shoes off then the terrorists have already won.

April 9, 2007 at 6:23 PM  
Blogger Mile High Pixie said...

Not only are they making a big deal out of it, but they're conveniently forgetting that on previous trips to the Middle East, Laura Bush and Condi Rice wore hijabs. As the writer quoted in Salon.com's "Broadsheet" said, "It's called manners, my friends."

April 9, 2007 at 7:55 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

People In The Sun: LOL. Yup, that's the trouble, too many wussy Americans trying to fit in when they travel to other countries.

Mile High Pixie: That's interesting; I don't remember that. But I'm impressed. It's hard to picture either one of them (especially Laura Bush) making any effort to follow local customs. "Manners," yes, that's what it is.

April 9, 2007 at 8:04 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Sorry, I need to rant.

There is nothing wrong with respecting the customs of a country, state, town or home in which one is a visitor. I am pretty sure that is all Pelosi was doing by wearing what she wore in Syria: she was showing respect. That is something Syria hasn't seen from American political leaders for some time now, and it is a concept many conservative talkers do not understand when it comes to people who are not Americans.

Re. customs... Some Americans seem to think the rest of the world should speak English, and that we shouldn't have to speak other languages besides English, no matter whether we are at home or abroad. The same kind of Americans may well feel the same way about clothing and related customs in other lands. Some of us seem to think that if we are the greatest nation in the world, why should other countries and/or cultures need to be given common courtesies and consideration by us? It seems to be a prevailing attitude of superiority, and to that attitude, I say bullshit. These people are the "ugly Americans" that cause the rest of the world to dislike us and take on negative views of our country. Such behavior can cause people of other nations to see us as having a need to grow up and join the rest of the world. Someday I hope we will be able to do that.

As for Pelosi "jeopardizing the peace process", she is only doing so according to mainly far rightwing people who have been trained by conservative pundits to view the "peace process" as invading other nations without provocation, going to war under false pretenses, taking natural resources which don't belong to us from other countries, and making sure other countries follow the rules set by the U.S., or face punishment from us.

While I don't believe diplomacy always works, I believe it can often succeed. It makes sense to me that not all of the leaders of nations in the Middle East want to destroy the United States. I also think some of those leaders would like to be able to police the radical elements in their countries which cause trouble around the world... then again, if you have the U.S. dicatating policies which seem punitive or difficult for your country, why should you go an extra mile or two to police those fundamentalists who want to make things difficult for the U.S.?

I think if our country was willing to help facilitate a series of Middle Eastern peace conferences with all nations participating, making sure we could get Iran, Syria, and Yemen there along with Israel and the other nations we consider our "friends" in that region, lots of concerns could be aired by everyone. It might become painfully obvious that a major part of the Middle East problem is the unconditional support of Israel by the U.S. It might also become painfully obvious that people of Arab nations don't "hate America for its freedoms", but they tend to have a strong dislike for our Middle East foreign policy. The United States needs to swallow some of its pride and accept that we need to make some fundamental changes in our approach to that part of the world. If we were willing to do that, I believe relations would improve with nations such as Iran and Syria.

But I believe it isn't just America that needs a paradigm shift re. the Middle East... it's definitely a two-way street. Nations with Muslim religious majorities would have to be willing to crack down on those in their countries who wish to foment terror and violence. If they are willing to police themselves in such a manner, I know we can be their friends. If we let up a bit and treat all the nations more or less equally in that region, I believe they can all be our friends too. The natural resources of that part of the world could be used to improve the lives of not only people in the Middle East but of people in need around the world.

So I think Nancy Pelosi realizes that nations in that part of the world want to talk to us. I respect her for doing what Bush refuses to do, which is to realize diplomacy means more than setting conditions one knows the other country can't or won't follow in order to have an excuse to beat up on them.

If we talk, they will listen. Much more so than if we threaten them with bombs and invasions.

That huge problem with religious fundamentalists dictating that America needs to be destroyed? How on Earth can we believe that kind of problem can be solved militarily? Let's see what we can do to help create a more peaceful Middle East, and make ourselves appear as a benevolent nation to those people. Winning hearts and minds in that area may take decades... but as long as we take such a bellicose approach, I think it will so much easier for Islamic religious nuts to gain political prestige/power and recruit angry young men to their nutty cause. I have always thought that the best way to get rid of enemies is to make them your friends. There will always be the religious troublemakers... heck, we have there here in America too... but let's stop giving them so many reasons to swell their ranks, and let's see what happens.

Finally (whew, yes, I am FINALLY just about done) here again are the words of Senator Webb:

"These presidents took the right kind of action for the benefit of the American people and for the health of our relations around the world. Tonight, we are calling on this president to take similar action in both areas. If he does, we will join him. If he does not, we will be showing him the way."

If people like Nancy Pelosi are helping show Bush the way, I have no problem with it whatsoever.

April 9, 2007 at 8:36 PM  
Blogger PoliShifter said...

BushCo has no interest in peace or diplomacy, only war.

Anything or anyone that works toward a diplomatic solution to a problem that BushCo is looking to fix via military force, is a threat to them.

Hence the threat posed by Pelosi to BushCo.

April 9, 2007 at 9:51 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Yeah, it's funny that Pelosi could cause such a ruckus just by adapting to the customs of the country she was visiting. Ironically, the people who were the most put off by Pelosi's scarf are mostly the same ones who are so adamant that all immigrants have to instantly learn English, move into a tract house and pretend they've been Ward and June Cleaver all their lives. Hey, we're Number One and the rest of the world is just a bunch of savages who wish they could be like us, right?

If Bush hadn’t screwed up everything so royally in the Middle East, there wouldn’t be so many “outsiders” trying to come in and fix things. Most people (outside of the most blatant wingnuts) can see this.

The ultimate solution (whether it happens next week or in ten years) is for all parties to come together and negotiate. The PNAC types won't admit this, but everyone else gets it.

Good quote from Jim Webb. If I remember right, that's from his post-SOTU speech last February.

PoliShifter: You've got it, a peaceful settlement in the Middle East is the furthest thing from the Neocon agenda. Pelosi is ruining their plans.

April 9, 2007 at 11:00 PM  
Blogger Damien said...

Well guys someones got to engage in the diplomatic process, I know most of the coolade drinkers think that seeing Nancy over there is a bad look, but those connections must be made, and quickly.

April 10, 2007 at 3:59 PM  
Blogger Kvatch said...

And while they're salivating over Pelosi in Syria, they don't seem to have a problem with Richardson in N. Korea. Just goes to show you where the attention is focussed.

April 10, 2007 at 5:39 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Damien: That's true, these connections need to be made. Bush and Cheney will never negotiate as long as we still have warm-blooded soldiers we can keep sending over there.

Kvatch: For some reason, Richardson doesn't seem to push rightwing buttons the way Pelosi does. Probably because he doesn't represent those wicked "San Francisco values."

April 10, 2007 at 7:23 PM  

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