Not Sweet Sir Galahad, Mr. Kristof: letter to IHT

Edward G. Nilges
Lamma Island
Hong Kong

17 Dec 2010

International Herald Tribune

To whom it may concern:

In “Heroic, Female and Muslim” (IHT 17 Dec 2010), Nicholas D. Kristof commits the ugly fallacy of tu quoque, a favorite of criminals and children world-wide: for it implies that a wrong can be redressed by another wrong, or a wrong is justified by the independent wrongdoing of the victim. “But Mom! Chuckie is worse than me!”

The Party of Islam destroyed Dr. Hawa Abdi’s hospital. The United States’ Islamophobic policy has destroyed Somalia as a functioning society, since it destabilized the order created by the fundamentalist Islamic Courts government earlier in this decade in the name of the “war against terror”.

It is true that the Islamic Courts never became the stable government of all of Somalia: no actor has since 1991. However, the return of US intervention under the “Bush doctrine” has destabilized a society out of scale to the United States’ willingness to provide humanitarian aid or economic reconstruction. The sole reason for the Bush doctrine has been protection of the homeland and it has been essentially unchanged under President Obama.

The purpose of US meddling was to prevent “terrorists” defined as fundamentalist Muslims from gaining a secure base of operations in southern Somalia. In an era of budgetary constraints, this means the job is done once the society is destroyed. But this means the mass destruction of civilian infrastructure…including hospitals either destroyed, or never built save in anecdotal cases.

In the rhetoric surrounding this mess, “feminism” has become the new Stalinism. Just as Koba the Dread could never be questioned in the Soviet Union between 1930 and 1956, “feminism” is used to put one’s opponents in the Male Chauvinist penalty box of shame, even as Julian Assange’s ill-advised fornication is being used against him in the wikileaks affair. The purpose: to silence.

In destabilizing Somalia, the United States has violated Wilsonian principles of self-determination and international law. Anecdotes whose rhetorical implication is that the US is Sweet Sir Galahad, and its opponents the spawn of Satan and sexist pigs to boot, prove nothing.

Edward G. Nilges


One Response to “Not Sweet Sir Galahad, Mr. Kristof: letter to IHT”

  1. I never bought the argument that being in Afghanistan protects the homeland. Right here in my small town of North Miami I could give 5 crack heads $50 each to poor gasoline down the elevator shafts of the few 5 story buildings right here in small town’s downtown,light a match and wham – terrorist attack. So how does being in Afghanistan stop that? 70% of world opium production there. I think it’s about dope and the internal politics there is about who controls it to finance the agenda , be those what they may, of the several competitors. One of my teacher friends quit a while back and does Christian missionary work as a high school teacher for older teen orphans. He is now in Morocco and his 19 year old secretary brought home a Bible and her father broke both her arms beating her with a large iron skillet.

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