Obama, Bush Agree That Terrorists "Not Islamic"
There was plenty not to like in President Obama address on ISIS Wednesday night. His claim to have authority to wage an open-ended military campaign without Congressional action doesn't pass the smell test. To the degree that "success" in restoring regional stability can even be defined, it is contingent on building and sustaining a staggeringly complex coalition of nations, militias and sectarian groups often at odds with each other. And engaging in a preventive war to head off possible future threats, rather than to preempt clear, imminent attacks against American interests, has not been a happy experience for the United States.
But for his conservative critics, President Obama's biggest sin was to declare "ISIL is not Islamic." With his proclamation that "no religion condones the killing of innocents," Laura Ingraham seethed that "we have a Commander In Chief who won't call it what it is." Columnist and Fox News regular Charles Krauthammer sneered "there's also something both patronizing and ridiculous for a Western Christian to be telling the Muslim world what exactly their religion is about."
Of course, the Republican Party's water carriers had no problem when President George W. Bush did just that during his September 20, 2001 address to a joint session of Congress. Less than 10 days after Al Qaeda's devastation in New York and Washington, President Bush explained (around the 4:20 mark above):
I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It's practiced freely by many millions of Americans and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah.
The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself.
The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends. It is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them.
Of course, that was then and this is now. And now, a Democrat sits in the Oval Office.