Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 21, 2008
WAR: McCain Dares To Speak The Truth In The Battle of Ideas

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), "the nation's largest association of Muslim organizations," joined by one of its increasingly natural allies, the left-wing blog ThinkProgress, is pressing John McCain to stop using the term "radical Islamic extremism" to describe terrorist and terror-sympathizing groups that are undeniably radical and extremist and justify that radical extremism with appeals to a radical and extreme reading of Islam.

Or, at least, a reading that I assume is radical and extreme; one would like to believe that groups like ISNA think so. Naturally, the United States wants and needs to convince the Muslim world that this is the case, and that the terrorists aren't right when they invoke Islam to justify violence against non-Muslims and even, very regularly, against fellow Muslims. But it's hard to make that argument if you don't even acknowledge the fact that the enemy is making such use of an ideology that purports to be grounded in Islamic theology. How would you have gone about combatting the KKK without describing them as a racist group, or international Communism without arguing against Communism? ISNA's leader apparently wants to shut down precisely that sort of dialogue:

Mr. Fareed, who is ISNA's secretary-general, said such usages are wrong.

"My own take on this is that we tried and failed to stylize this particular onslaught against the United States as one that has religious connotations and regional connotations," said Mr. Fareed, a former associate professor of Islamic studies at Wayne State University.

"I think this is just criminality, fair and square. We should just call them criminals. You want to call them terrorist criminals, fine," he said. "But adding the word 'Muslim' or 'Islamic' certainly doesn't help our cause as Americans. It's counterproductive. It paints an entire community of believers, 1.2 billion in total, in a very negative way. And certainly that's not something that we want to do."

The self-proclaimed sophisticates at ThinkProgress echo this line of reasoning:

The term "Islamic extremism" is ...sloppy, denigrating Islam as a violent religion while conflating the diverse, multifaceted threats coming from abroad.

The answer here is obvious: we should stop referring to groups like Al Qaeda, Hezbollah (literally, "the party of Allah") and Hamas as Islamic when they themselves stop doing so. But as long as they cite chapter and verse of the Qu'ran, it is simply the truth to say that they are who they claim to be. And it's heartening to hear McCain spokesman Steve Schmidt stick to his guns:

"Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda represent a perverted strain of Islam at odds with the great many peaceful Muslims who practice their great faith peacefully," Mr. Schmidt said. "But the reality is, the hateful ideology which underpins bin Ladenism is properly described as radical Islamic extremism. Senator McCain refers to it that way because that is what it is."

Meanwhile, as the Washington Times notes, McCain's Democratic opponents are not so hot to wield the truth:

Mr. McCain often uses the term "Islamic" to describe terrorist enemies. The two remaining Democrats in the presidential field, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, generally shun such word usage.

Contrast the fire directed at McCain just for speaking the truth with Sen. Obama's, er, admirers among - you guessed it - radical Islamist extremists. First up, a senior official of Hamas:

We don't mind - actually we like Mr. Obama. We hope he will (win) the election and I do believe he is like John Kennedy, great man with great principle, and he has a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community but not with domination and arrogance.

Then we have the Iranians:

Iranians are following the American presidential race more avidly than ever before. That's partly because they're eager for the exit of President Bush, who branded Iran part of an "Axis of Evil" and implicitly raised the possibility of a military strike against the country over its alleged nuclear weapons program. But the Iranians' interest is also driven by a sense among many Iranians that the candidacy of Barack Obama offers real hope for repairing the U.S.-Iranian relationship. Commenting on the Iranian preference for a Democrat in the White House, Sergei Barseghian, a columnist for the reformist Etemad Meli newspaper noted that in Farsi, the words Oo ba ma would translate as "He's with us." ...

...it's Obama's declared willingness to engage in "aggressive personal diplomacy" with the Iranian leadership that has generated the most interest among senior officials in Tehran, since this would mark a sea-change in Washington's approach. "Obama is a man of engagement, a man of negotiations," one Iranian official told TIME. ...

(More here on Obama's collection of admirers who are not such big fans of the United States of America). Even weighing the usual caveats here about the difficulty of getting information out of the Iranian regime, as well as the layer of blather TIME pastes over these quotes, it should hardly surprise anyone that Obama is more popular with the enemy when he declines to follow McCain's lead in calling them by their true name.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:12 PM | Politics 2008 • | War 2007-12 | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I always say - I'm sorry that White Protestant Alabamians of Scottish descent didn't crash the planes, because I'd be happy to subject my Blond-haired, Blue-eyed ass to scrutiny any time, any where, denouncing any affiliation with those mutts as freely and often as possible. But it didn't happen that way, it happened quite another way. And people need to talk frankly about that.

Posted by: tsmonk at April 21, 2008 9:58 PM

So let's see if I have this one straight. Iranians & members of Hamas think that Obama is more likely than McCain to negotiate with, rather than bomb them, so their resulting preference for the man who is not committed to destroying them is somehow questionable.

And of course, it's Obama's fault that he's preferred by those same folks.

Do I have it correct?

So by extension, I guess you'd argue that because (a) I am opposed to the death penalty, and (b) cold-blooded murderers would ostensibly prefer me over a frothing capital punishment supporter who gets himself into a quasi-sexual frenzy over the thought of public executions, then I therefore (c) support criminals.

Is that how it works for you guys? GOPer logic in action.

(I prefer cats to dogs and those wily felines recognize the fact. What happens when the dogs of the world determine that I'm virulently "anti-dog"? Do they gang together and attack my home in a canine riot to promote "regime change" or to to install pro-dog democracy in my neighborhood? Do they have "the right" to do so in order to protect their puppies from my radical, pro-cat ideology?)

Posted by: Mike at April 22, 2008 6:41 AM

Yes, I think it's a fair analogy to say that this is similar to Obama being preferred by cold-blooded murderers for not supporting the death penalty.

Posted by: The Crank at April 22, 2008 9:28 AM

Going to your roots Crank, as I keep writing, Putin (I want to type Stalin, but is there really a difference?) was the guy W said he could do business with. So Vlad the Impaler would back W for another election if he could; I still hear people complaining about Obama's middle name, which of course, he has nothing to do with.

Just another dodge, like the lapel pin stuff.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at April 22, 2008 11:15 AM

Daryl, I'm not big on pushing Obama's name, but you know, it was the Obama backers (Tom Maguire had a great post on this, as did Allahpundit), including Obama himself, who made such a big deal about how foreigners will love him because of his name and his race, so it's pretty disingenuous for them to flip their lids about having the same sort of stuff come back to bite them.

Posted by: The Crank at April 22, 2008 11:27 AM

Anybody remember how the State Department negotiated a backdoor deal with the mullahs where Clinton would apologize for America's falling out with Iran? And how after Clinton did apologize the mullahs told their people, "See, the US was always responsible. We have brought them to their knees in apology!" And then they told State to go scratch.

The mullahs love that stuff and a replay with Obama is just what they need right now. Of course they'd support him.

Posted by: spongeworthy at April 22, 2008 3:36 PM

it's a fair analogy to say that this is similar to Obama being preferred by cold-blooded murderers for not supporting the death penalty

But does that mean that Obama is pro-murderer? So what if the criminals support him? Felons doing life don't get to vote.

Posted by: Mike at April 23, 2008 6:28 AM

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Posted by: jimelyyes at May 2, 2008 1:20 AM
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