Monday, February 23, 2015

Islamophobes chasing their tails

  OK, let's hear the president explain it, again.

  "Some call this evil Islamic radicalism. Others, militant jihadism. Still, others Islamo-fascism. Whatever it's called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam."

  Now, discuss.

  We know what you'll say, Rep. Louie Gohmert. You'll say these are the words of a toady of Islam.

  We know what you'll say, Rudy Giuliani. You'll say it's the over-parsing of a water carrier for an alien culture: a man who doesn't love this culture, this country.

  And that would be a very disrespectful thing for Mr. Giuliani to say about George W. Bush. It was Bush who offered the above quotation about fighting al-Qaida. Indeed, he was meticulous in making it clear that this nation was not fighting Islam. It was fighting evil.

   It wasn't controversial then. Why now? Well, of course, now would be when Barack Obama is saying exactly the same thing about ISIS.

   Obama? Well, that's a different matter. Ask Gohmert. The Texas congressman says Obama, if not a sworn agent, is being advised by the Muslim Brotherhood. Didn't it figure? You do know what his middle name is, don't you?

     As for, "Obama is a Muslim": Even if it were so – and at times I wish it were, so that we could all be straight on what venal priorities drive a few of us – let the rest of us agree on one response: "So what if he were?"

   This pitiful claim long ago got as monotonous as a Xarelto commercial, side effects ranging from bleeding gums to wound secretion.

  Oh, yeah, Obama is a double agent for Islam, and that's exactly why he just requested war powers to fight ISIS.

   Oh, yeah, Obama is squishy-soft on beheaders. He hasn't ordered a bombing raid on ISIS in at least an hour and a half.

   Is there a more tiresome word than "tiresome"? Until we find it, that will have to do for trolls like Gohmert and the once-estimable Giuliani.

  And when we find that word, let's also attach it to those who want us to believe that the enemy is not some dirt-bathed band of masked mass murderers but the Muslim faith itself.

   To which, an appropriate question would be: If Islam is the enemy, what do you propose? After all, we have a few million Muslims living among us in studied peace, supporting every principle for which this nation stands.

   "Islam is the enemy"? Those of you who insist it, suggest your strategy: Pogroms? Internment camps? Forced re-education? Bible readings from mobile loud speakers?

   The sad thing is, it's not just country simpletons – folks who've never met a Muslim -- who want to make Islam the focus of the anti-ISIS offensive.

    Former Bush foreign policy aide Peter Wehner, now with something as high-minded as the Ethics and Public Policy Center, told The New York Times that Obama's great care at not making Islam the enemy when talking about ISIS is "self-deception."

    No, it isn't. We don't make Islam the enemy because it isn't – because ISIS is as much an enemy of Muslims as it is the rest of us. Why else, in short order, would Egypt and Jordan send war planes after it?

   "Our allies in the region are out there every day saying, 'This is not Islam,''" former Obama counterterrorism aide Daniel Benjamin told the Times. "We don't want to undermine them."

   If the objective is to take down bad guys, it's generally preferable to have lots of good guys on your side. To have good people on your side, it's advisable not to insult their faith. But if that's no problem to you, Louie, go ahead and score political points by appealing to raw bigotry.    

   Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email:

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