President Obama talks about Islam often, and he never fails to label terrorist attacks as terrorism. He avoids using the phrase “Islamic terrorism,” however, as many on the right demand he do. I’m with Obama on that. Too many Americans have decided the Muslim faith — its prophet, its holy book, its madrassas, its imams, its believers — is the problem, not groups of terrorists hiding under its umbrella, and are clamoring for a holy war against Islam itself. Should Obama start using the phrase “Islamic terrorism,” he’d be blessing holy war, with consequences we can’t even guess at.
Logically, you can’t blame Islam for the actions of terrorists who claim to be Muslim, any more than anyone blames Christianity for the evils done in its name. Emotionally … well, that’s another thing. ISIS is holding a 26-year-old American woman hostage. Imagine the reaction in this country if they execute her and put a video on YouTube. I’d hate to be an American Muslim.
But wait. About an hour ago ISIS claimed the American woman hostage was killed in the air strikes carried out by Jordanian warplanes yesterday.
If this turns out to be true, I don’t think Americans will react the way they would if the American woman were to be executed on video. But what do I know? Emotions are running high, and anything can happen.
Would I shed a tear if we dropped nukes on ISIS strongholds in Iraq and Syria? Nope, not a single tear. Yes, I know this is impossible and stupid, but I too am emotional about ISIS, and tempted to blame an entire religion for the actions of a few.
My wife loves Brian Williams, the NBC Nightly News anchor. She was busy planning a bridge party and didn’t see his on-air apology for lying about being shot down in a military helicopter in Iraq.
I’m not going to tell her about it. She’ll learn about it somehow or other, but if it comes from me she’ll think I’m reveling in his comeuppance.
I’m not sorry for him, but I’m not gloating, either. It’s a common human failing, trying to grab the shirttails of glory as it whizzes by. There’s a person in my family who claims he had an appointment on the 100th floor of the World Trade Center the morning of September 11, 2001, a meeting he was unable to get to because he couldn’t catch a cab in time. I know other people who claim they were supposed to be on flights that crashed, killing everyone aboard. I worked with one of those “stolen valor” assholes, a guy who claimed to have been a SEAL when it fact he washed out of Army boot camp because he couldn’t hack it. You would not believe how many Caspar Milquetoast types, upon learning I flew fighters for the USAF, have told me tall tales about their flying exploits.
So Brian Williams is just another chickenhawk, huh? What a surprise.