Crusade on Common Sense
August 13, 2002
By David Soriano
President Bush once again demonstrated his keen sense of
tact recently. Responding to the bombing at Hebrew University
that killed 5 Americans, Bush said "I cannot speak strongly
enough about how we must collectively get after those who
kill in the name of - in the name of some kind of false religion."
Soon after 9/11 he called the war on terrorism a "crusade".
Comments such as these serve only to further polarize the
Islamic world from the US & the West in general. All this
at a time when support from Arab nations is critical in dealing
with the current crisis.
Do you think Western European countries are anxious to align
themselves fully and wholeheartedly with a leader whose plebeian,
religiously antagonistic views could be interpreted as belonging
to them as well? Some of those countries have subtly responded
to that question already via their stand on an Iraqi invasion.
At best, the comments made by Bush are typical brain burps,
at worst they are sincere. Either way, the moderate to extreme
Muslims in the world will see them in terms of the latter.
They think they already know what America's true "intentions"
are, but to hear it out of the mouth of the country's leader
gives them further justification for their beliefs and actions.
The Islamic extremists portray this as a battle between two
distinct civilizations, one "good" and one "evil".
Bush's categorical comments further endear them to this philosophy.
In fact, Bush himself presents this as a battle between his
own version of "good" & "evil". So we're
stuck calling each other names.
By doing this, Bush places himself (and the country) on the
same playing field as the terrorists. This is exactly what
they want. We are willfully playing the role of their chosen
enemy. We haven't the intellect to place these events in a
context other than that of a battle between XFL teams: the
"Evildoers" vs. the "Infidels".
Between golf shots on Sunday in Kennebunkport, ME, Bush's
profound response to the bombing of a commuter bus in Israel
that killed 9 people was: "I call upon all nations to
do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers".
What in the hell is that supposed to mean? It sounds like
something a contestant in the Miss America Pageant would say
to garner cheap applause.
A situation such as the one we're in calls for more than
generic classifications, catch phrases & 2000 pound "bunker
busters". This, unfortunately, is all we are getting
from George W. Bush. A sense of how the conflict has matured
and what can be done about it must be a prerequisite for handling
A man who recently professed his amazement that there are
"blacks" in Brazil can not be expected to grasp
every nuance of the evolution of this conflict and what actions
must be taken to deal with it.