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August 27, 2007

Avoidable Mistakes are Inexcusable Ones (UPDATED)

This story is simply ridiculous. We’ve been intensely engaged with the Muslim world for the past six years. In that time, the military hasn’t figured out that Muslims are touchy about the shahada (their declaration of faith)?

We’ve got an uphill battle with the Muslim world--literally in some cases. It’s not too much to ask that a little care is taken not to unnecessarily irritate them (seeing as how we might want to store up a little good will for those issues where we’ve got good reason to irritate them).

Update: No, really. What makes more sense: (1) acknowledging that Muslims get upset over things that we wouldn't bat an eye over and simply conducting ourselves in a manner which minimizes their freak outs; or (2) expecting them to get over their cultural hangups overnight because we're simply "tired of their whining"?

Which one do you think will be better for our foreign policy goals?

Update 2: This post got off track when commenters imputed to me the position that it is somehow "okay" for Muslims to throw hissy fits every time the mood strikes. That is something that I never said.

In fact, I wrote nothing about that until the update, when I wrote that "Muslims get upset over things that we wouldn't bat an eye over." Perhaps I could have been more explicit in saying that I don't necessarily approve of their sensitivity.

There is a difference between acknowledging Muslim sensitivities and approving of them.
As for as our mission in the Middle East, Muslims are something that we must deal with. Even if we think they behave like children. We still must deal with them. That's a fact.

Furthermore, it's reasonable to ask if it is better to accept their tendency to throw tantrums and act accordingly on those occasions when it costs us nothing to do so or to ignore their sensibilities completely.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 08:14 PM

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