Could this argument be any dumber?
The Obama administration has forced America and much of the world into a debate no one wanted or needed. Namely, does Islamic terrorism have anything to do with Islam?
This debate is different than the much-coveted "national conversation on race" that politicians so often call for (usually as a way to duck having it), because that is a conversation at least some people want. The
What happened was the slaughter last week at the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The sound of the terrorists' gunfire was punctuated by shouts of "Allahu akbar!" and "We have avenged the prophet Muhammad!"
Since no one questions the sincerity of these declarations, that alone should settle the issue of whether Islam had anything to do with the attack. And for normal people it would.
The problem is that the
But, again, that's not what the
By taking this radical and extremist rhetorical approach, the Obama administration invites people to talk about Islam more, not less.
Think of it this way. A bird waddles into the room. It walks like a duck, it talks like a duck, it gives off every indication of duckness. If
Well, now we have a problem.
Such rhetorical extremism almost forces people into an argument about what a duck is. Likewise, by denying the role of radical Islam, they invite sane people everywhere to focus more, not less, on Islam.
There are, of course, many problems with this analogy. The most important one is that ducks cannot talk. They cannot say, "Look, I am a duck."
Terrorists can talk. And they do. They also form organizations with magazines and websites and Twitter accounts. They issue manifestos. They recruit in mosques. When we capture them alive, they demand Qurans and pray five times a day, bowing toward
You know who else can talk? Non-extremist Muslims. And millions of them routinely refer to the bad guys as radical Islamists and the like.
I could go on, but you get the point -- if you don't work at this
The Obama administration seems to believe that the wonder-working power of their words can get everyone to stop believing their lying eyes and ears. It's tempting to ask, "How stupid do they think we are?" But the more relevant question is, "How stupid do they think the world's 1.6 billion Muslims are?" Whatever appeal the Islamic State may or may not have in the larger Muslim world,
It's true that the Obama administration has had remarkable success playing word games. They "created or saved" millions of jobs -- as if that was a real economic metric. (For what it's worth, I do or save 500 pushups every morning). They decimated "core al-Qaida," with the tautological definition of "core al-Qaida" being "the parts of al-Qaida that we have decimated."
But this is different. Those distortions were political buzzphrases intended for domestic consumption and a re-election campaign. This is a much bigger deal. The threat of Islamic extremism transcends Obama's theological hubris and lexicological shenanigans. All Obama's insipid rhetorical gamesmanship does is send the signal to friend and foe alike that he can't or won't see the problem for what it is.