Willful Ignorance

February 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

Several of the crazier representatives of the Republican Party and some of the shameless hacks employed by Fox News have attacked President Obama because he does not label ISIS or ISIL or any of the groups affiliated with those organizations as “Islamic Extremist” or “Islamofacist Extremists” or some other catchy label associating the armed thugs with the religion of Islam.  Various “experts” on combating terrorism have pontificated that “accurate labeling” is essential to effectively opposing terrorism.

These attacks have implied that failing to identify the terrorists with Islam implies some kind of unwillingness to “call a spade a spade” – a sort of unmanly, weak hesitation to be blunt and forceful.

I agree that it is time to call a spade a spade.  There are three possible explanations for these attacks:  First, they may result from stupidity and ignorance.  Second, they may be the result of minds so consumed with hate and bigotry that rationality has been overwhelmed.  Third, they may be a political strategy based on the assumption that the American public is so stupid that such attacks will be effective to gain political points.

This is not a close question.  There is no “on the other hand” or “maybe they have a point” here.  These attacks are unadulterated stupidity.


The proper motive for any media-based attack on ISIS or ISIL is not to influence or change the minds of members of ISIS or ISIL.  That is a futile exercise.  The only sensible response to members of ISIS or ISIL members is to kill them and destroy their organization and its philosophical and ecclesiastical claims.  That task must be led and accomplished by  legitimate leaders and adherents of Islam. When secular leaders attack ISIS and ISIL, their appeal is directed to people who have not yet succumbed to the false claims of Islamic legitimacy.  We should do nothing to lend credence to those claims.

This is not the time for a new Christian Crusade.  It is also not the time for another “Global War on Terror” waged with the same ignorance and futility that characterized the recent War in Iraq.

Haven’t we learned anything?   Is our collective memory so deficient that we can’t recall the outcome of that foolishness?

Our public posture toward ISIS and ISIL should be exactly what President Obama has articulated:   We are not going to be drawn into a war against Islam.  ISIS and ISIL are not legitimate representatives of Islam.  Their actions do not have any legitimate roots in the religion of Islam.  They are lying about that.  They are trying to mask  their bloodthirsty activities with the language and rhetoric of Islam.

The last thing we should do is assist them by agreeing that they represent some part or sect with any legitimate claim to ties with Islam.

The KKK Example

After the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan was born as a violent response to Reconstruction.  It was a lawless group of frustrated Southerners who sought to instill fear and horror through lynchings and murders and beatings mostly, but not entirely, directed at black men and women.

The KKK continued long after Reconstruction ended and new forms of KKK  organizations have persisted to the present day.

Throughout its bloody history, the KKK has claimed legitimacy by masking its hateful rhetoric with Christian religion.   The burning cross is the universally recognized symbol of its public activities.  Here is a link to KKK’s present website:  KKK  If you click on the “about” button, the first sentence is “The Loyal White Knights is a law abiding Christian Organization.

From the beginning of this wretched organization’s existence, there have been brave and steadfast opponents eager and willing to publicly oppose it.  But never, so far as I am aware, did the opponents choose to refer to the KKK as a “Christian extremist organization”  or as a “Christian rogue sect”.  Does anyone think that would have been an effective way to oppose the KKK?  Of course not!  Why on earth would the KKK’s opponents want to associate it with the Christian religion?

Which should, but apparently does not, suggest to the ignorami who are attacking Obama that perhaps his approach is sensible and theirs merely exposes their misunderstanding of how to oppose terrorism.




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