266 At last! I finally get the fighting in Syria.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 7 months ago

I guess I must be slow.

I have to be.

Am I the last person in the country to get what the Syrian fighting is all about. Or have you been confused too?

It's about Al Qaeda!

Apparently, the so-called "freedom fighters" are largely fanatics who want to overthrow the slightly shady, but more or less legitimate government of Syria.

That's why we haven't helped.

I finally figured that out when I read this news:

"Russia's MiG aircraft maker said Friday it plans to sign a new agreement to ship at least 10 fighter jets to Syria, a move that comes amid international criticism of earlier Russian weapons deals with Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime."

That prompted me to dig a little deeper. What did I conclude?

Go! Go! Go! Russia!

And here's a bit of other news you may like.

"Syrian President Bashar Assad claimed in an interview broadcast Thursday that his government is winning the country’s civil war and pledged that he would attend proposed peace talks in Geneva tentatively scheduled for this summer.

'We will go to Geneva as the legitimate representatives of the Syrian people,' Assad said in an interview broadcast on a Lebanese television station.

He also said any agreement reached at the talks would have to be approved by the Syrian people in a nationwide referendum. 'Either side can propose anything, but nothing can be implemented without the approval of the Syrian people.'

His statement contrasted with the likelihood that Syrian rebels would decline to attend the talks, which are being sponsored by the United States and Russia."

What is wrong with the Obama administration? How hard would it have been to tell us what was really going on?

Or am I blaming the wrong people?

Is it the mainstream media that have concealed all this so well?

Somebody has to take the blame.



Ronald Hamric 3 years, 7 months ago

Tom, In all honesty I simply cannot bring myself to give one hoot that radical Muslims are killing one another in great numbers, all over the world. Do I wish it weren't happening? Of course, as in so many of these conflicts, non-combatants often suffer worse than those who are militant. Every Muslim country, who adheres to the Koran, by the words of that book, is our avowed enemy. Call them moderates, fringe elements, a few radicals, or simply peaceable Muslims. But if you want to know what their religious ideology is, simply take a moment and read their "bible" . I got my information/knowledge about the Islamic faith from a young man who was raised in a madrassa in Pakistan. Through a series of events, he eventually converted to Evangelical Christianity. Needless to say there is a price on his head. He travels this country (with bodyguards) trying to inform non-Muslims about that religion and the threats it poses to our culture. Once you hear the finer details of that religious/political religion, from someone who was steeped in it, you come to see just how much we have to be concerned about. The vast number of differences between our culture and those that follow Islam, is so large in scope, that I honestly do not believe the gap can be reduced and we can live in close proximity or in harmony one with the other. Even if you were to set the religious doctrines aside, which they will not do. Ever!


frederick franz 3 years, 7 months ago

To base information about foreign cultures on the testimony of one converted Islam exile, seems to be less than worldly-wise. I have been no advocate of religious beliefs, but I do feel that all of the major religions need to get along with each other. Can you ignore one million Islams?


Tom Garrett 3 years, 7 months ago


I agree with you. You'll see why in a minute.


"Every Muslim country, who adheres to the Koran, by the words of that book, is our avowed enemy."

Sorry, Ron, I have spoken to hundreds of Muslims in Pakistan and the UK, and have read the Koran.

The man may have been saying what he was saying for some reason of his own, but he also may be an example of someone who ran into the wrong kind of madrassah, one run by a fanatical instructor who taught things that are not in the Koran. There are many in the Islamic world who are never exposed to the truth of their own religion because they go to a school where they are propagandized. It should come as no surprise to anyone that that happens considering the fact that kids are propagandized here in some classes in some schools and colleges, though it is usually not so extreme.

For example, consider this statement made by Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the two Boston Bombers while speaking to a friend at a neighborhood pizzeria, “the Quran is great and flawless, and the Bible is ripped off from the Quran, and the U.S. used the Bible as an excuse to invade different countries.”

Consider what he said. The Bible comes from the Koran? How could anyone believe that the Koran written in the 7th century AD was the source of the Bible written around the 13th century BC?

The only answer is that he was taught it. He was brought up in a small enclave in a mostly Buddhist part of Russia. No doubt he ran into some very wrong information. It is not unusual for that to happen.

Here is what I have been told, not once but many times, while talking with Muslims, including their religious leaders. The Koran clearly states that Islam is based on the scriptures. That's why we are called "People of the Book." The way the Koran looks at it, Islam is the completion of the scriptures. That's why they call Muhammed the Prophet, and why their consider Jesus to have been an earlier Prophet.

Here's an exact quote from an encyclopedia: "In Islam, the Muslim scripture, the Qur'an, is taken to represent the completion of these scriptures, and to synthesize them as God's true, final, and eternal message to humanity. Because the People of the Book recognize the God of Abraham as the one and only god, as do Muslims, and they practice revealed faiths based on divine ordinances, tolerance and autonomy is accorded to them in societies governed by sharia (Islamic divine law)."

That is exactly what I saw being taught in Pakistan with my own eyes and heard being taught with my own ears.

Who are the "People of the Book, by the way? Back to any encyclopedia:

"The term "People of the Book" in the Qur'an refers to followers of monotheistic Abrahamic religions that are older than Islam. This includes all Christians, all Children of Israel (including Jews, Karaites and Samaritans), and Sabians."

Find a Mosque. Ask someone. The man you talked to was not stating what it says in the Koran.


Ronald Hamric 3 years, 7 months ago

Tom, I would be more than happy to excise out of the Koran many of the charges for those of that faith, that directly imply how they (Muslims) are to interact with non-Muslims. If that is a debate you want to have, let's get it on. Also, there is at least one significant difference between Islam and any other religion. Islam is dynamic, in other word any Imam can on a moments notice direct their followers to either ignore certain Surah and strictly adhere to others here to fore not "enforced". It is quite simply up to the whims of the Imams as to what parts of their Koran are "in voque" at any given moment. And as with the Mormon faith, there are more than one text that those adherents abide by. If you want a really entertaining read, try to locate Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomein's interpretation of the Koran that he penned while in exile in Paris, during the Sha's reign. And this man was idolized by Muslims worldwide. He was sort of the Billy Graham of Islam. It will take a significant, and you can put that in "Caps", religious upheaval for me to change my views about that religion based primarily on all the research I have done and those to whom I have listened that came out of that religion. Your milage may vary.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 7 months ago


I respect your opinion, but you have to go there, live for a while, and see what it's like. Try Indonesia with the world's largest Muslim population, a whopping 170 million. Or try Pakistan with its 136 million, Bangladesh with 106 million, or even India, which has 103 Muslims still there.

Or better still, try Turkey with its 62 million. The only way you'll be able to tell a Turk from anyone else is if you happen to notice where he goes to worship. I've worked with a lot of Turks, even Turkish-Americans; you couldn't find better people.

And I've worked with Iranians too. In Pakistan, our best friends were the Iranian Naval attaché and his wife.

Also have worked with Pathans--many of them--(Afghans). Fine people. Had 14 of them working for me in Karachi. Iranians and Afghans are not Arabs.

People seem to think that Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan with their last percentage of Arabs and Arab customs represent the way the Islamic world lives. They don't. Look at the population numbers: Saudi 25, Syria 16, Iraq 25, and Jordan 5, a total of 71 million. the Muslim world: 2 billion.

That's what the problem is, you see. The Arabs--a very small percentage of Muslims--are dead scared that secular government is going to take over all nations of the world, and they do not want that. In that regard you can put them into the mindset of the Catholic world in the Middle Ages.

Syria now has a secular government. So has Jordan. So has Iraq, which we never should have attacked! Egypt we will have to watch, but Egyptians are not Arabs. Their allegiance is to their homeland and their way of life; not to a non-Koranic version of Islam.

Islam is a religion of peace, no danger to anyone. We can no more blame the current events on Islam than we can blame the Crusades on Christianity. It is people who do wrong things, not religions. (Of course, I know I am preaching to the choir when I tell you that.)

This will get you feeling better: There are about 2 billion Muslims worldwide, of whom about 5% live in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Iran. (about 105 mill)

If we would get our heads out of our butts and settle the Palestinian issue we would soon forget there ever was a terrorist problem. People want to live their lives in peace and security, not in a never-ending war so that wild-eyed extremists get what they want.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 7 months ago

I should add, Ron, that I am not debating what you said. The word you have been given re the attiude of the fanatics is dead right. But it represents only the small minority of Muslims. It just does not represent the attitude of the overwhelming majority of Muslims around the world.

That, of course, can change if we don't straighten out the Palestinian problem. It is doggone hard to justify the 65 year occupation by Israel of lands that do not belong to them. Our support of Israel while the world was divided in two by democracy v. communism, but that's no longer true. We need to bring both sides to the table and FORCE a solution. It is in our interests and that of the entire world.


Ronald Hamric 3 years, 7 months ago

Tom, The total numbers worldwide vary depending on what source one uses. That's why I didn't reply to Mr. Franz throwing out the number " Can you ignore one million Islams?". The figures I get are roughly 1.3 billion worldwide. But the numbers are not what is at issue. We as Americans are bound by our founding documents one to the other. Irrespective of whatever "religion" was the dominant at our founding, we like to think of ourselves as Americans first, Catholics, Pentacostal, Protestant, Mormon, etc. secondarily. Those documents and what they not only elucidate, but what lies at their core, is what binds us together as a culture and nation. They are our "American Bible" if you will. Now look at the Koran and other texts that define and make common all followers of Islam. Those books (documents) define who they are as a group and lay out the differences between them and everyone else. With your exposure and experience with people in those countries, do you not see the complete and distinct differences (even conflicts) between Sharia Law ( the political aspect of that religion) and political/social character of this nation? When placed side by side, they simply cannot be co-joined into one all encompassing ideology/religion that can coexist.. One prevails at the expense of the other, period. The age of Kumbaya or Live and Let Live, is an anachronism now in this One World Order.

To the original point of your post, I think we have waaaaay too much on our plate right here at home to be too very concerned or get directly involved with what is transpiring on the other side of the globe among people who view us as their "enemies". They made that determination by the way, we did not as a nation, classify all Muslims as enemies of this nation. If those folks on a land mass separated from us by two vast oceans want to slaughter one another ala Sunni Muslim, Shia Muslim, etc. in their stated goal to create a worldwide Islamic Caliphate, then we need to only get involved at the point that that desired undertaking on their part becomes an immediate and direct threat to us as a nation and culture. I said before how I view the Israel/Palestinian conflict. I see America standing with Israel much as the French stood with us in our effort to establish our nation, separate from the Empire of Great Britain. I sense it is an American characteristic to stand shoulder to shoulder with the "little guy".


Ronald Hamric 3 years, 7 months ago

Tom, Although somewhat dated, you might enjoy this article as to "how we got here". Good old American Imperialism rears it's ugly head once again and lies at the root of all that is wrong in today's world.

Google " The Muslim World and the West: The roots of conflict." by ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH Drake University (Economics)


Tom Garrett 3 years, 7 months ago


Back to the point of this string, the fight in Syria, which was made to sound like a revolt of a "people" against a dictatorship is actually an attempt by a small minority, aided by Al Qaida and Al Qaida related terrorist groups, to take over a secular government.

It is critically important that we recognize the difference between a genuine fight for liberty and a take-over by fanatics. One we can support; the other we cannot.

The mainstream media spent altogether too long quibbling, trying to make news of one kind where there was news of quite a different kind. I don't know why they did that, but it will pay us in future to watch them very closely in regard to such things.

In a like manner, I notice that they are making a lot of noise about an "American" who got killed in a drone attack on an Al Qaida camp. My comment on that would be, "He got what he deserved by being in the camp of the enemy. He certainly wasn't there trying to make a speech about the benefits of democracy.

And the mainstream media seems to be dead set against the use of drones. One has to ask why. They are the perfect weapon for hitting people who hide in secret areas around the world and strike at us from afar, believing they are safe. There is not question of law involved in such things. The only law in a war is the war of the jungle. If I may quote from Viscount Slim who led the British to a resounding but little known victory in Burma during WWII by changing the focus of the fight, "The purpose of war is not to occupy territory but to kill the enemy."

It worries me to see the mainstream media beating a drum like that. Are they trying to make news, or is there something more sinister behind it?

As to Syria, we would be wise to view Russia and China as our allies against terrorism. Putin had it right when he pointed out that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who we brought within our borders and protected along with the rest of his family, repaid us by placing bombs in a public event. We have been treating terrorists in Russia as freedom fighters. Time we learned our lesson.


frederick franz 3 years, 7 months ago

I apologize, Ron, My reference to one million Islams was quite mistaken, I was just momentarily very dull in mind at that statement.


Ronald Hamric 3 years, 7 months ago

Mr. Franz, I understand, believe me. I am a charter member of the CRS (Can't Remember Stuff) club and no matter how well my grammar or spelling, this stupid keyboard is forever making mistakes ;-). Your point was still well made and admittedly there are very many Muslims worldwide. But no matter the number, I still fault them for their views on "non-believers) and especially I fault the leaders of that religion.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 7 months ago

"...and especially I fault the leaders of that religion."

Now you're talking! It's the individuals who do the wrong; rarely the religion.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 7 months ago

In fact, that's how I happened to start writing for the Roundup. I had retired up here with intentions of doing very little writing except for completing two novels I had started and writing an occasional article, but I was reading the Roundup on day and saw a comment about prayer in schools that was dead wrong. I used to teach a graduate level course in school law, which is mostly Constitutional law, and so I knew that the comment was dead wrong, and I felt that if the person knew the truth it might relieve his mind. He actually thought it was illegal to say a prayer in school. So I submitted a five part article to the Roundup. It was accepted, and they liked it so much they signed me to a contract to do a column, which led to a separate contract for this forum.

The important part of that is one point that I made in the five articles: It is natural for people to think that what is going on in any religion at any given time to be the fault of the religion itself, but more truthfully it is the fault of the individuals or individuals who are doing it.

Take the Salem witch trials, where Christians actually tried and hanged people on almost no evidence. That is so far from what Christianity is all about that it is hard for us to believe it really happened, but it did. When something like that happens it is not the fault of religion; it is always the fault of a few individuals who either twist that religion into something it was never intended to be, or who are so fanatic they pervert their own beliefs. It is the individuals, not the religion, which must bear the blame. The Crusades, the inquisition, and other abuses of Christianity over the past two millennia cannot be laid at the feet of its founder, can they?

I noticed something else in the news about this subject yesterday which has me worried. Obama et al are now considering arming Syrian rebels. They say they will only give weapons to "genuine" freedom fighters. My question is simple: What difference does it make that we are giving weapons to honest people when the honest people are allied with our sworn enemies? The enemy of my enemy is my friend; and the friend of my enemy is my enemy.

What happens if the rebels win? What kind of nation will be formed? You know d--ned well what it will be; another Islamic dictatorship. Helping that to happen is about the most stupid thing we can do.


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