Rich Galen

President Barack Obama gave an excellent speech in Cairo explaining how he was going to work toward re-setting the relationship between American and Islam.

The fact of the matter is, Muslims kill other Muslims with far greater frequency than Westerners kill Muslims or Muslims kill Westerners.

In his speech, Obama said

Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible.

The American President - who went out of his way to remind his Egyptian audience that his full name is Barack Hussein Obama - would do well to remember that we really didn't have much of a beef with the other Hussein - Saddam - until he decided to invade Kuwait.

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America didn't have to send over a half a million troops to liberate Kuwait and protect Saudi Arabia from Iraqi invasion in 1991. We could have just used the diplomatic power of the United Nations and called upon the Arab League to make Saddam put the tanks in reverse and return to the status quo ante.

Yeah. Right.

How about the international diplomatic consensus which was built to prevent Saddam from murdering perhaps 300,000 of his own people? How did that work out?

Did the United States have a national interest in helping the Iraqis throw off the yoke of a murdering dictator? Maybe not. But if we didn't, then someone explain to me the national interest which was at stake in defeating Adolph Hitler and the German Army in Europe in World War II.

If America's national interest was at stake in the latter, then it was also in the former.

How about the international consensus which was built to stop the horrors of mass ethnic cleansing in Darfur and before that in Rwanda? The excellent use of "diplomacy and international consensus" didn't do much to save a million lives in Cambodia, or hundreds of thousands of lives in Croatia, Bosnia and points east.

When America took military action, it stopped. When we didn't, it went on. It is impossible to know how many other cases of ethnic cleansing have been prevented by the fear on the part of the perpetrators that America might be stirred to action.

The most egregious example ethnic cleansing of modern history was the attempt by the Nazis to completely eliminate Jews.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at