Sunday, June 21, 2009

Of President Obama, Politics, and the Another War-on-Terror Blog

This seems to be the weekend for navel-gazing on this blog: but I think it may help clear up a few points.

This Blog isn't Political

I've written a sort of disclaimer, from time to time, pointing out that this isn't a political blog.

I've noted that most blogs dealing with the War on Terror, or whatever the current conflict will be called, have a very identifiable political stand. They're either conservative, or liberal.

That is, I suppose, understandable. People who have decided that the west, as it exists, has to removed in the defense of Islam have a great deal of determination. And since their actions have, so far, killed several thousand people in New York skyscrapers, they are now extremely difficult to ignore.

The subject is emotional, and touches on real and perceived security: so it has become involved in politics.

But, I do not think the War on Terror is, essentially, a political phenomenon.

I do, however, sometimes discuss political matters. That's because in America, leaders are chosen by political means - and their decisions affect the conflict that is the topic of this blog.

I Must be a Conservative, Right?

Wrong. I discussed this yesterday, in "A Digression, About This Blogger."

My views, insofar as they are political, and affect my views of the War on Terror, are least unlike those of a contemporary American conservatives. But that's as far as I'll go.

President Barack Obama: An Historic Presidency

Barack Obama is America's first black president. For that reason alone, practically everything he does will be "historic" in one way or another.

He's also, to the best of my recollection, America's first Hawaiian president. But that's not considered to be quite so important these days. I suspect that someday, as Hawaii's role in the union is more in the forefront of American thought than it is now, America's first Hawaiian president will overshadow America's first black president.

I'm getting off-topic, but not by much.

I've said it before, and I'll say it now: I think Barack Obama is a highly charismatic leader, a skilled orator, and by no means either stupid or foolish. He has shown, in the first months of his presidency, much more good sense than might have been feared. Or, coming in from another angle, an appalling lack of consideration for the views and beliefs of some of his supporters. (December 22, 2008)
"The Whole World is Watching" - Brilliant Choice of Phrase
His use of the 1968 protest slogan, "the whole world is watching" was well-chosen. I suspect that one factor in that selection was a calculated effort to appeal to his (possibly disillusioned) supporters, by quoting something famous from 'the good old days' of the sixties.

I used that quotation as a jumping-off point for discussing how much the world has changed in the last half-century. And, how some people seem to be keeping up better than others. (June 20, 2009)
Using a Sixties Phrase Does Not Equal Sixties Thinking
A comment on that point made it clear that I had, apparently, stated that President Obama was engaged in 'sixties' thinking.

He's not. If he was, he'd have been organizing a sit-in at the United Nations, or been 'reaching out' to the Ayatollahs.

President Obama has "reached out" to some unlikely people. Earlier this year, for example, he was "reaching out" to the Taliban in Afghanistan. At least, that's the impression left by headlines.

The fact is, he was taking a page from America's Iraq playbook, and reaching out to Afghans who supported the Taliban, but weren't all that committed. Letting people know that Americans weren't the diabolical enemy they'd been told about made a difference in Iraq. I don't see why it wouldn't in Afghanistan.

So, apparently, did President Obama.

I Must Support Barack Obama, Right?

Wrong. I'm not "against" the American president, either.

On examination, some of President Obama's policies appear to be prudent. I support these. Other policies of the current administration are unacceptable to me. I do not support those.

As for President Barack Obama, I pray for him - and suggest that others do, too. (May 24, 2009, in A Catholic Citizen in America)

I support or oppose issues and ideas. People are a different matter. But, again, I'm getting off-topic.

Related posts:
A tip of the hat to markstoneman, on Twitter, for suggesting the topic of this post: in a comment on the ""The Whole World is Watching" - But This Isn't the Sixties" post.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.