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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Confronting Violent Jihad: “Lessons Learned” with Cong. Pete Hoekstra

McLean, VA, November 4, 2015

Former Congressman Pete Hoekstra has just released his book “Confronting Violent Jihad, Lessons Learned,” and I was invited to a talk at the Westminster Institute by the Congressman.

About 40 people attended the event, and many identified themselves as having worked for the intelligence community and or State Department.

Although a Republican and in a long leadership position, he clearly articulated that going to Iraq and Afghanistan was a mistake. One of the audience members in the Q&A said the disasters in the Middle East have come about by our messy foreign policy. Hoekstra listened to the man when he continued crediting birth of Al-Qaeda to U.S. Military presence in Saudi Arabia, and origins of ISIS to our lies about WMD.

Hoekstra reminded the audience that as chair of house Intelligence committee, he had  met with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and was instrumental in getting Gaddafi to give up the nuclear programs, thus, transitioning him into a useful, obedient dictator.  He insinuated that Obama's regime-change policy was wrong; I wanted to remind him that it was Republican Senators in particular McCain and Graham who were eager to bomb Libya, and not Obama. Indeed the President was opposed to putting the boots on the ground.

Hoekstra also opposed to Obama's asking Mubarak to step down. In fact, Obama did the right thing by siding with the Egyptians and asking Mubarak to step down. Had that not happened, the Egyptian people would have won anyway, and we would have become supporters of their oppressor.  That is precisely what happened with Iran in 1979. Had President Carter told the Shah to step down, Iran would not have become our enemy. This is one of Obama's biggest foreign policy triumphs; he prevented another siege of a U.S. Embassy in Cairo. He is one of the few presidents who understood that diplomatic relationships are between peoples of two nations and not between the heads of the states, and he did the right thing. 

Since the 50's our foreign policy is put together by thoughtless men and women, who believed resolutions to conflicts is achieved thru bullying and telling other nations what to do. Obviously our intelligence is tailored to fit that objective and I have argued with Sean Hannity few of the 102 TV shows I have been with him till today, all the major foreign policy disasters have occurred with wrong information. We cannot rely on our information, we need to factor in what others say. We sacrifice long term stability to short-term visible achievements, and this has got to go. President Obama has made that choice and hope the next president sees the wisdom in it and follows it.

The congressman emphasized that the consistent policy of governments in the past, both Republican and Democrats towards dealing with extremism was broken by Obama, and it should not have been. His contention was that having consistent policy would have made it easy for Middle Eastern governments to figure out a strategy to deal with us.  The Congressman is wrong about that; essentially what he said was, we got it wronged before and must continue practicing the error to make it easy for foreign governments to develop a strategy.

He argued that the United States is not looked upon with respect overseas. I wanted to express that, Obama has indeed earned the respect from the community of nations as a nation to respect. Give him the credit for taking us from being a unilateral bully nation of George W. Bush to a consensus seeking nation of Barak Obama.
Imagine a powerful nation giving equal respect to the little ones? We earn their adoration and not resentment.  He got the six biggest powerful nations to become watch dogs over Iran. Should there be a crisis, we don't have to lose our men and women, as others will be partners in the response. The world is with us today, more than ever.

Hoekstra said that some proceeds of his book will go to fund Steve Emerson's Investigative Project on Terrorism. Surprisingly even as chair of the Intel committee he has failed to see what Emerson is all about; indeed he had apologized more than three times for passing out false information about terrorism activity after the damage was done.

I have always welcomed dialogue. It is always good to place everything on the table and to figure out how to deal with the issues, with a goal to build cohesive societies where no one has to live in fear of the others, or threaten the other.  Perhaps, I will make tall claims on this issue; on my Radio shows, discussion forums, symposiums and conversations; I have cherished and encouraged opposing views. It has allowed me to see the full picture rather than have a partial biased view.
The Westminster Institute has a good library and the shelves were loaded with books on Islam, reforming Islam, Sharia and other issues. I hope to read at least a few books to see if they are represented correctly.
I represented myself as the executive director of the American Muslim Institution and have offered former Rep. Hoekstra, a Shillman Senior Fellow with Investigative project on Terrorism, and Bob Reilly of Westminster Institute to work on issues concerning Islam. I am sure they want a Muslim view on the issues they talk about, and I will speak and present papers on Sharia, apostasy, Quran, Terrorism, Reform and a sane foreign policy, and offer pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.

All of us Americans, regardless of our religions have at least one goal; the safety of Americans.  We have made mistakes by making unverified assumptions about each other. It is time to come together to build a safe America which will pave the way for sustainable prosperity. The American Muslim Institution is committed to be a significant contributor towards the security, prosperity and well being of Americans.

We have work to do and it is a good start.

Please note, I am an independent moderate, and neither a Republican nor a Democrat.

Dr. Mike Ghouse is an Executive Director of American Muslim Institution, he is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics, human rights, foreign policy and building cohesive societies. Mike offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. More about him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at TheGhousediary.com
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