Fact Checking Mitt Romney’s Claim That the President Has “Apologized For America”

During last night's debate, Mitt Romney repeated a charge that has become part of the conservative zeitgeist. But is it true?

During last night’s GOP Debate in Orlando, Mitt Romney repeated a claim that Republicans have been making since the beginning of the Obama Administration:

“The president went about this all wrong. He went around the world and apologized for America.

This repeats a claim that Romney made in his book, ironically titled No Apology:

“Never before in American history has its president gone before so many foreign audiences to apologize for so many American misdeeds, both real and imagined,” Romney wrote. “It is his way of signaling to foreign countries and foreign leaders that their dislike for America is something he understands and that is, at least in part, understandable. There are anti-American fires burning all across the globe; President Obama’s words are like kindling to them.”

Romney isn’t alone in repeating this claim, of course. It’s repeated pretty much every day on talk radio, and Karl Rove made a similar claim in his own book. It persists on the right, I think, mostly because it reinforces the idea that the President is in some sense foreign, that he doesn’t share the values of other Americans, and that he prefers the cosmopolitan lifestyle of Europe to that of the United States, even though he never really spent any time in Europe before becoming President. Since it fits into this world view, it’s widely accepted on the right so it’s no surprise to see Presidential candidates repeating it on national television.

There’s only one problem for Governor Romney and everyone else who persists in repeating this accusation. It isn’t true.

Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler rates it a Four-Pinnochio falsehood:

A careful review of all of Obama’s overseas statements found that they had been taken out of context or had been misquoted. Frequently, Obama expressed sentiments not much different than George W. Bush on overseas trips.

Early in his presidency, Obama often tried to draw a rhetorical distinction between his policies and Bush’s policies, a common practice when the presidency changes parties. The shift in policies, in fact, might have been more dramatic from Bill Clinton to Bush than from Bush to Obama, given how Obama has largely maintained Bush’s approach to fighting terrorism.

And Politifact gives it their Pants on Fire designation, meaning they found it to be completely false:

As we looked over Obama’s remarks, we noticed that he never used the word that is the universal hallmark of apologies: “sorry.” Merriam-Webster defines an apology as “an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret.”

We read the seven Obama speeches cited in Romney’s book and selected the passages that seemed the most critical, apologetic or conciliatory, and then ran them by several experts with different points of view. Because of their length, we’ve compiled those passages into a separate document with links to the full remarks, and we encourage you to click over and read those remarks now.

At times, Obama uses an on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand formulation that he tends to employ right before he asks the two sides to come together.

At a town hall meeting in France, for example, Obama encouraged Europe to work with the United States, and admitted that the United States “has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.” But he immediately said that Europe has been guilty of a “casual” and “insidious” anti-Americanism. “On both sides of the Atlantic, these attitudes have become all too common. They are not wise. They do not represent the truth. They threaten to widen the divide across the Atlantic and leave us both more isolated,” Obama concluded. And at a major address to the United Nations, Obama said, “I took office at a time when many around the world had come to view America with skepticism and distrust. Part of this was due to misperceptions and misinformation about my country. Part of this was due to opposition to specific policies and a belief that on certain critical issues, America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others. And this has fed an almost reflexive anti-Americanism, which too often has served as an excuse for collective inaction.”

At other times, Obama doesn’t seem so much to be criticizing the United States as he is criticizing the foreign policy stances of the Bush administration. In England, a reporter said that during the 2008 campaign, Obama had said that the power and authority of the United States had diminished in recent years. Obama was quick to turn the question toward the Bush team. “Well, first of all, during the campaign I did not say that some of that loss of authority was inevitable,” Obama said. “I said it was traced to very specific decisions that the previous administration had made that I believed had lowered our standing in the world…. I would like to think that with my election and the early decisions that we’ve made, that you’re starting to see some restoration of America’s standing in the world.”

At a speech in Cairo on relations between the United States and the Islamic world, Obama got very close to regretting decades-old U.S. actions in Iran. But then he immediately countered with criticism of Iran. He did not make a formal expression of regret, but suggested both countries simply “move forward.” Here are his exact remarks: “In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government. Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians. This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I’ve made it clear to Iran’s leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward

Some of the Obama speeches that Romney cited in his book certainly laid out Obama’s foreign policy ideas, and it seems fair to say that a less confrontational approach was among Obama’s goals. Obama had made no secret during the campaign that he intended to set a different course on foreign policy than Bush — a committed unilateralist — had pursued.

Still, we think it’s incorrect for Romney to portray these early speeches as part of a global apology tour. Using Romney’s standard, you could argue that any change in foreign policy that’s undertaken after a presidential transition and announced to the world would constitute an “apology” for the previous policy.

On the substance of Romney’s charge, we believe that what we wrote in March 2010 still stands. While Obama’s speeches contained some criticisms of past U.S. actions, those passages were typically leavened by praise for the United States and its ideals, and he frequently mentioned how other countries have erred as well. We found not a single, full-throated apology in the bunch. And on the new angle Romney has added — that the trips were intended to offer the president a forum to apologize to other countries — we think it’s a ridiculous charge. There’s a clear difference between changing policies and apologizing, and Obama didn’t do the latter. So we rate Romney’s statement Pants on Fire

A well-deserved designation I would think. First of all, the assertion that the President “apologized” for America simply isn’t true if you actually read the speeches, unless you take the position that taking a less confrontational approach to foreign policy somehow constitutes apologizing that is. Second, when you look at the substance of Obama’s foreign policy decisions, it’s often hard to see exactly what it is that the people who repeat this meme are complaining about. For the most part, President Obama has continued the foreign policy positions of the Bush Administration with respect to the major areas of American concern. The war in Afghanistan was ramped up. Drone strikes against al Qaeda targets in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia continue apace. We launched a covert operation into Pakistan to take out Osama bin Laden. Other than invading North Korea and putting Kim Jong Il’s head on a spike, what else is it that conservatives would want. More importantly, what should they realistically expect?

As with Rick Perry’s ridiculous criticism of the President’s policies with respect to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, there’s simply no evidence to support the idea that the President has spent the last two years engaging in abject apology to the world. The fact that it’s an idea that still persists to be believed by so many on the right is  a pretty good reflection of so much of what’s wrong with politics today.

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FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Campaign 2012, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Rob in CT says:

    Well said, Doug. They won’t believe you, though.

  2. Hey Norm says:

    Just another of the BIG LIES told by the so-called republicans.
    If you have to lie to support your position…it ain’t much of a position.
    But I await comments from Jan, JTea, Drew, and Eric in their asbestos PJ’s supporting the BIG LIE.

  3. Franklin says:

    Romney: “It is his way of signaling to foreign countries and foreign leaders that their dislike for America is something he understands and that is, at least in part, understandable.”

    So Romney thinks it’s not even understandable to dislike a country that has started two recent wars, one on non-existent grounds? America has done a lot of great things, but I don’t think either of those wars are among them, and I think it’s perfectly understandable to have some sort of disagreement with them.

  4. @Franklin:

    Precisely.

    Actually, I think the unstated assumption of this meme is that it is never right to criticize America for anything.

  5. Fiona says:

    Of course Romney’s charge isn’t true, but it’s part of the Republican meme that Obama is somehow either unAmerican or anti-American. In last night’s debate, aside from saying that Obama had apologized for America, Romney claimed that Obama preferred European social welfare states to our own form of government. Meanwhile, Santorum made a big point of the fact that he was a real American (implying, of course, that Obama wasn’t).

    This tact is nothing new for Republicans. Palin, after all, toured the country pointing out that the people she addressed were “real” Americans and that she was visiting the “real” America. It’s pretty much of a longstanding Republican and Faux News tradition to paint liberals as being unAmerican or, in Ann Coulter’s words, traitors. It doesn’t matter that what they’re saying isn’t true; their base buys this meme and can’t seem to get enough of its constant repetition.

  6. Andyman says:

    @Doug,

    “The fact that it’s an idea that still persists to be believed by so many on the right is a pretty good reflection of so much of what’s wrong with politics today.”

    That’s like saying that the underwear bomber is a pretty good reflection of what’s wrong with air travel today. In other words, the problem with the larger institution is that these sorts of miscreants participate in it.

    One question that I’d love an honest answer to at some point is whether movement conservatives started complaining about liberal media bias just to whine and get sympathy, or whether they knew right from the beginning that after a long-enough campaign they’d be so utterly effective at working the refs. As long as Democrats stay relatively well-behaved and intellectually honest, the Republicans know they can get away with murder, because just criticizing one side isn’t post-partisan or even-handed new-media or whatever.

  7. Hey Norm says:

    Andyman…
    I don’t understand.
    Are you saying that an almost universal lie, or meme, within the GOP is analogous to the underwear bomber…which was a remarkabley rare incident in air travel?
    Can you clarify that for me?

  8. @Doug Mataconis:

    Actually, I think the unstated assumption of this meme is that it is never right to criticize America for anything.

    Indeed. There is a huge strain of thought in out politics that appears unwilling to look critically at US action. Somehow we are always right in their eyes.

  9. mattb says:

    Despite the fact that Doug’s gone on record to say you can’t imagine voting for Obama (at least you have said you would choose not to vote or write a name in versus choosing *some* of the possible Republican nominees), I appreciate his willingness to start taking apart a number of widely accepted quasi-religious “beliefs” of the right (I say religious because they are based on articles of faith rather than fact).

    Contra claims he’s a a “radical” and a “socialist” and someone who is actively working to destroy the country (domestically and abroad), the fact is that he (and his administration) is far more moderate and pragmatic than anyone on the pundit/commentator right wishes to address.

    (Of course the Left has the same problem in that far too many actually believed the image that was being put forth of Obama by critics… an image that the president and his team didn’t necessarily discourage).

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: This is not a new phenomenon. Remember the ’60s “America, love it or leave it.”

  11. michael reynolds says:

    I appreciate his willingness to start taking apart a number of widely accepted quasi-religious “beliefs” of the right (I say religious because they are based on articles of faith rather than fact).

    Hear, hear.

  12. @OzarkHillbilly: No, nothing new.

  13. mannning says:

    It seems that there is no explicit set of apologies in Obama’s speeches. I suggest that many on the right are reacting to the posture and tone of the events as a whole—-some bowing to foreign potentates for starters, a supplicating approach signaled in his speeches that “I am the new guy on top, and I want to play nice, unlike my predecessor–Bush. Will you play nice too?” Look, here are some of the sins of America in the past, always implying that he will stop those sins, which is walking right up to apologies. The “formulation” of “on the one hand and on the other hand” seems to be designed to admit we have sinned, regardless, or oh-by- the-way, of the sins of the other side, but without getting too far into direct apologetics.

    Plus, the nations, religions and leaders Obama decided to court, after we have had two or more serious conflicts with and against Islamic terrorists and fiscal conflicts with China, etc., may have been hard for some to accept, especially in light of the studied indifference and even insults Obama has been showing to long-time allies and friends, the UK and Israel in particular. What is going on here? Cosy up to our opponents and neglect our friends? Exactly why? The sum performance seemed to convey a weak, hat-in-hand, apologetic approach to nations that regard that posture as servile and laughable.

    To speak ill of ones own tribe in the lands of another is a moral lapse—Ajami

    So that is the issue: Obama’s weak, servile and apologetic approach to diplomacy in rather hostile foreign lands versus the indifference and rudeness shown to our friends.

  14. “‘My country, right or wrong,’ is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, ‘My mother, drunk or sober.’ No doubt if a decent man’s mother took to drink he would share her troubles to the last; but to talk as if he would be in a state of gay indifference as to whether his mother took to drink or not is certainly not the language of men who know the great mystery.” — G. K. Chesterton

  15. Hey Norm says:

    “… I suggest that many on the right are reacting to the posture and tone of the events as a whole…”

    I suggest that many on the right are taking comments out of context in order to create a false narrative. In other words lying.
    But you are far more pedantic than Jan and Drew and JTea and Eric…I’ll give you that.

  16. michael reynolds says:

    @mannning:

    So that is the issue: Obama’s weak, servile and apologetic approach to diplomacy

    Weak and servile are the terms you use for the man who has all-but obliterated Al Qaeda and knocked of Gaddafi and just sold bunker busters to Israel and eased Mubarak out. Yeah.

    I have a friend who blusters and brags and puffs his chest out a lot. Me, I tend to undersell. I’ll downplay my ability or offer a brutally realistic appraisal of my chances of success in a particular endeavor. My friend reproaches me for this. He thinks I’m putting myself down.

    That’s because I’m actually confident. I have a record of achievement. I don’t need to bluster. I don’t need to oversell. I can make jokes at my own expense, I can recount my failures. You know why? Because I’m sure of myself and I don’t need to exaggerate. The simple truth works just fine for me.

  17. mannning says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Nice cherry-picking from my post, MR! You conveniently omitted the other half of the story!

    Plus, you obviously switched the focus from the servile speeches given in foreign lands to the military conflicts at hand. There has been little or no improvement in our relations with Islamic nations, South American nations or India and China as result of Obama’s travelling kit of so-called “conciliatory” speeches. Quite the opposite according to several foreign news sources in India, the UK, France, The Netherlands and the Pew Poll among others. Naivete abounds!

    Meanwhile our friends continue to smart under Obama’s insults, indifference and rudeness both at home and abroad.

  18. mannning says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Interesting elision. MCROW has not been in play, nor is it even behind most criticisms of Obama, in my opinion. It is simply bad diplomacy to criticize ones own nation considering the hostile national audiences he has addressed as a guest in their country and how they view such negative posturing. This creates exactly the opposite effect than was intended.

  19. Ron Beasley says:

    The truth isn’t too kind to the current Republican party so they are forced to just make stuff up and lie.

  20. Racehorse says:

    I would like to know if John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, or Ronald Reagan went around making these kind of statements in other countries.
    The people in other countries around the world are expressing their opinion of the US by voting – with their feet as they continue to beat a path by whatever method to come here and live. I don’t hear anything about our citizens leaving for France, Pakistan, or Cuba.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    It is like saying, ‘My mother, drunk or sober.’

    Indeed.

  22. Ben Wolf says:

    I have a friend who blusters and brags and puffs his chest out a lot. Me, I tend to undersell. I’ll downplay my ability or offer a brutally realistic appraisal of my chances of success in a particular endeavor. My friend reproaches me for this. He thinks I’m putting myself down.

    I seem to remember a Republican saying something about walking softly and carrying a big stick, but that requires confidence which the the modern right is desperately short of. So they do a Tough Guy routine and hope no one sees through it, just like mannning.

  23. mattb says:

    I just realized a bit of nice irony — some of the people who are arguing that “encoded” into Obama’s speeches is a fundamental undercurrent of apology are the same ones who flatly denied the possibility that the entire Birther Meme (or African Dictator or Crypt-Muslim or Anointed One or Drinking a ’40 or Thug BBQ at the White House or Chicago Gangsta or pictures of watermellons or he’s not like us) could possibly be thinly veiled racial attack on the President.

    Funny huh?

  24. Hey Norm says:

    @ Racehorse…
    You mean statements like the ones he never made? WTF?

  25. michael reynolds says:

    It is simply bad diplomacy to criticize ones own nation considering the hostile national audiences he has addressed as a guest in their country and how they view such negative posturing. This creates exactly the opposite effect than was intended.

    You’re wrong.

    In much of the world, boasting is considered extremely bad form. Humility is generally preferred. In fact, I seem to recall that George W. Bush’s favorite philosopher — Jesus — was a big proponent of humility. (But hey, what the hell would Jesus know? He was no Mannning.)

    Boasting, chest-thumping, refusing to admit error are forms of insecurity and weakness. When we do those things we look weak, stupid, foolish and declassé.

    Germany, for example, has consistently since 1945, done public penance for it’s crimes. Is Germany disrespected in the world? Would they be more respected if they refused to admit their failings?

  26. mannning says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You, Sir, are not only wrong, but you are being a pompous ass in the bargain.Your “quiet confidence” carries you over the cliff. In Islamic nations such “humility” by a so-called leader is considered a clear sign of weakness and inability to cope; he is a patsy! Obama’s speeches were a source of great amusement in Cairo, and elsewhere in the Arab world. I have three good authorites for this that are now in the US. Walid Phares, is one I think I can spell right. Professor Ajami is another…can’t remember how to spell the third. I would believe their versions of Mid Eastern mores and habits of mind far before you. I do think that you are showing your ignorance of the Muslim mindset, especially at the level of major authority figures. In the eyes of many high-ranking Muslims, Obama made a fool of himself and debased the office and nation he was representing. What a wonderful gig he pulled!

  27. mannning says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Furthermore, who ever said that the options were either humility or boasting? Only you. I have said nothing about boasting till now. And my sources said nothing about boasting, either. They recommended, and one of them tried to help Obama to frame his speeches for maximum acceptance by Arabs, but he did not prevail. Speaking as equals and speaking from strength, reasoning together kind of approach, was fine, but not servility, not an apologetic approach in content or tone.

  28. mattb says:

    Manning,

    Given that of your two sources:
    Walid Phares is a anti-jihadist, who among other things is a regular contributor to Fox News and a teacher at the National Defense University
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walid_Phares

    and Professor Ajami — is a neocon who wrote about how GWB was a transformative president, and has argued for the US to remain in Iraq and was an adviser to Condelizza Rice and is a close friend of Paul Wolfwitz
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fouad_Ajami

    Forgive me if I wonder if they might have a bit of a filter through which they are reading things. Not saying that they aren’t experts… but they’re not exactly neutral parties.

    So while I think your claims are worth investigating, these folks don’t make your argument Q.E.D. by any stretch of the imagination.

  29. An Interested Party says:

    You, Sir, are not only wrong, but you are being a pompous ass in the bargain.

    Hahahahaha…that’s so very rich coming from mannning, of all people…he really needs to check out a mirror sometime…

  30. mannning says:

    @mattb:

    It is always fun to get into a sources battle. I was reading Ibn Warraq’s book, “Defending the West” today, and ran across a few applicable references to the Muslim mindset.

    Warraq quoted from David Pryce-Jones, “keeping to the Arab Islamic world, argues that the acquisition of honor, pride, diginty, respect and the converse avoidance of shame, disgrace and humiliation are keys to Arab motivation, clarifying and illuminating behavior in the past as well as in the present”. Warraq continues: “the two codes of honor and shame enforce identity and conformance of behavior. In such a system of values it is impossible to admit publically that one is wrong, for that would bring shame on the individual, the family, the country, or even his religion.”(Italics mine). So this is Obama’s audience.

    If this is the Muslim mindset, it is easy to see what they must have thought of the Obama speech (to themselves, of course), for it is something they themselves would not have done, practically on pain of death!

  31. mannning says:

    @mattb:

    Of course, their own political positions can readily be separated from their knowledge of Islam and the Arab mindset. They were apparently not trying to influence the content of Obama’s speech but rather its tone and direction to fit Arab sensibilities. To my knowledge, they were not used by Obama or his writers, much to the detrement of the nation. In any event, their suggestions matched Warraq’s and Pryce-Jones’ understanding of the Arab mindset.

    Then Obama makes speeches in Asia, where the concept of “face” has huge importance, and is similar to the Arabian mindset in that regard: honor and shame, plus protocols that should be followed closely…

  32. Eric Florack says:

    It persists because it’s the trut.
    And as the saying goes some people can’t handle the truth.

    Since you mention Rove, let’s start there, shall we?

    Mr. Obama told the French (the French!) that America “has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive” toward Europe. In Prague, he said America has “a moral responsibility to act” on arms control because only the U.S. had “used a nuclear weapon.” In London, he said that decisions about the world financial system were no longer made by “just Roosevelt and Churchill sitting in a room with a brandy” — as if that were a bad thing. And in Latin America, he said the U.S. had not “pursued and sustained engagement with our neighbors” because we “failed to see that our own progress is tied directly to progress throughout the Americas.”

    By confessing our nation’s sins, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that Mr. Obama has “changed the image of America around the world” and made the U.S. “safer and stronger.” As evidence, Mr. Gibbs pointed to the absence of protesters during the Summit of the Americas this past weekend.

    So n ot only does Rove mention specifically whereapologies were rendered in our name,, but so does Obama’s own Press Secretary at the time, Gibbs.

    S, was Gibbs lying?

  33. Eric Florack says:
  34. Davod says:

    @michael reynolds:

    “Weak and servile are the terms you use for the man who has all-but obliterated Al Qaeda and knocked of Gaddafi and just sold bunker busters to Israel and eased Mubarak out. Yeah”

    Yes. I do. Obama’s foreign policy will haunt the world for generations.

  35. Moosebreath says:

    “So n ot only does Rove mention specifically whereapologies were rendered in our name,, but so does Obama’s own Press Secretary at the time, Gibbs.”

    Which of those examples used the words “apologize” or “sorry”, bithead?

  36. eric florack says:

    so, one cannot be apoligetic, and call one’s actioms wrong without using those words? Seems a thin defense

  37. mannning says:

    @eric florack:

    I agree, Eric. It is all in the choice of words, the content of the items being owned up to, the selection of subjects that fit or don’t fit Arab or Chinese or Latin American sensibilities, and in the tone and, especially, the body language of the speaker. It is not surprising that specific apologetic words are not in evidence; the writing team probably had that much sense!

    That “on-the-one-hand/on-the other-hand” gimmick was designed to encourage the “we are sorry” attitude in the listeners, which is precisely what an Arab wants to avoid in public! Plus, the “Bush did it” position, which is degrading the tribe (the US) in the presence of others, which is a big no-no.

    I feel that most Americans have little comprehension of the Arab mindset, and think of them as having a mentality just like ours; that is, until they try to deal with them in any substantive way. Having had my fill of negotiating substantial contracts in the ME and in Africa, among other continents, and dealing with their representatives and trainees at my company, you could say my soul is scarred for life by those efforts, which may explain why I am diddling with this topic for so long here! Been there, seen that!

    Another aspect of these speaking encounters is the standard practice in the ME of ketman or kitman, which is the concealment of one’s true feelings, opinions and knowledge from exposure to infidels–and from other Muslims as well. As Warraq says, “He who is in possession of the truth must not expose his person, his relatives, or his reputation to the blindness, the folly, the perversity, of those whom it has pleased God to place and maintain in error.” (Which means infidels) One must keep silent in public about one’s true convictions if possible.” Or to hide them by deceptive means, he goes on to say.

    Finally, for now, anyway, The Muslim mindset is hugely biased by the phenomena of being “Other Directed, rather than Self-Directed” as one psychologist has stated after some long-term interactions with over a hundred Muslims. Thus, what he is told to think is what he thinks, and what he hasn’t been told to think, he reserves any commitment until he can clarify what to think from his hierarchy of Islam leaders. So, if you don’t have the leaders on your side, you are not getting anywhere! One simple measure of this trait is the ease with which leaders can assemble a mob to protest practically anything in Arab nations.

    I have the distinct feeling that negotiating and dealing in general with Muslims on their home ground and within their perview of critical subjects is flatly a lost cause, unless you give in to all of their demands up front. A long, long string of US Presidents have had the direct experience of this feeling, including Obama most recently!

  38. Ben Wolf says:

    Finally, for now, anyway, The Muslim mannning mindset is hugely biased by the phenomena of being “Other Directed, rather than Self-Directed” as one psychologist has stated after some long-term interactions with over a hundred Muslims mannning. Thus, what he is told to think is what he thinks, and what he hasn’t been told to think, he reserves any commitment until he can clarify what to think from his hierarchy of Islam radical right leaders.

    Amazing how that quote can be applied to almost anybody. You’d almost think it’s pedantic psychobabble by a kook with an axe to grind.

  39. mannning says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    What an ignorant remark. When a clinical psychologist examines 150 patients ( I originally stated over a 100) over a period of years in Sweden, he discovers through extensive testing a thoroughly consistent pattern of behavior in the group, and then he documents it in considerable detail. In a summary of his findings he concludes that, among other things, there is a clear clinical indication of these people being “other directed” rather than “self-directed”, which is a perfectly valid finding, backed up by the tests. Then when he explores the sources of these behaviors, he also finds a consistent pattern of involvement with Islam and the hierarchy of people these subjects have been dealing with, it explained to an extent to the Swedish why there was such difficulty with their transplanted Muslims. They did not fully accept the change of authorities in their new land.

    Now Mr. Wolf roars in and applies his talent for obfuscation to issues with his comment. Seems to me that many, if not most, summary conclusions can be treated to this same Wolf tactic, which makes it simply a common factor of such summary statements, and thus makes his comment merely an example of pure snark. Given that this peer-reviewed effort has substantial documented proof of its conclusions with respect to the Muslims tested, what is Wolf trying to do but inject his own belief system into a matter about which he has zero first-hand knowledge.

    A pity!