Wednesday, October 12, 2005

What Do Islamofascism and OJ Have in Common?

Last week, the administration fought hard to refocus public attention on what may be the President's only remaining asset: his role as Commander-in-Chief. First, there was his address to the National Endowment for Democracy, where W complained that he wasn't getting enough credit for all the terror plots he's broken up since 9/11 (all three of 'em!)

A few days later, a "senior administration official" (golly, how I love me some anonymous sources) unveiled an intercepted al-Qaida memo.

The administration's point is that Islamofascists are out to take over the world - and this document is evidence of that, they claim. The righty blogoshpere has run with that ball, claiming, among other things, that folks who didn't support going into Iraq just don't get it, that this is as big a threat to Western democracy as Nazi fascism was, that we underestimate the threat of UBL and his ilk.

For example, TopMustang at Six More Months argues (as have others) that this memo reveals al-Qaida's plans to "take over the world".

As much as I respect TM, his writing, and his actions leading on the ground in Iraq, this just isn't the case.

In general, here is my problem with so many of the pro-Iraq arguments, both before and after the invasion - why mislead? why continue to exagerate, embellish, and overstate the case? It smacks of OJ Simpson - why try to frame a guilty party, and risk your credibility in the process?

(Ahh - you were wondering when I'd get to OJ. Yeah, it's a bit of a stretch, but I'm a sucker for catchy titles.)

Why not just tell the simple truth, and let the facts speak for themselves?

Here is the Big Myth - Islamofascists are out to destroy the United States and our freedom-loving allies.

In fact, this memo - which remarkably details al Qaida's overall goals and strategies - says nothing of the sort:

From the WaPo:

The letter of instructions and requests outlines a four-stage plan, according to
officials: First, expel American forces from Iraq. Second, establish a caliphate
over as much of Iraq as possible. Third, extend the jihad to neighboring
countries, with specific reference to Egypt and the Levant -- a term that
describes Syria and Lebanon. And finally, war against Israel.

That's they goal - expel the so-called infidels from what they consider holy land and establish their own Islamic nation.

An interview in Spiegel sheds further light on these goals, in "What al-Qaida Really Wants", an interview with a former al-Zarqawi compatriot.

Yes - these guys are a threat. Yes - their plans are frightening. Yes - we should help defend and support friendly and open governments in the Middle East from radicals such as these. Yes - we have helped further their aims with our invasion and incompetent occupation of Iraq.

But, no, this is not equivalent to WWII.

When you make your arguments, folks, stick to the facts.

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