To conservatives who this morning are decrying Obama’s Cairo speech for making nice with Islam, I would ask, realistically, what would you have had him say? Should he have condemned Islam, really raked it over the coals, as some conservative bloggers never tire of doing? If you had been asked to write the speech, please tell me how you would have the President of the United States address the Islamic world. If it would have been your preference that he stand up there before the red curtain and let Muslims have it, how would that have helped our country or anyone else’s? Realistically, now.
The speech was an act of diplomacy and as such, it inevitably was going to skate over some inconvenient truths and tilt its presentation in a way to try to make it more persuasive to its target audience. Fundamentally, Obama’s goal was to tell the Muslim world, “We respect and value you, your religion and your civilization, and only ask that you don’t hate us and murder us in return.” Bush tried to deliver the same message over and over again. The difference with Obama is that people might actually be willing to listen.