Tyrus W. Cobb: In a rage over ‘Muslim rage’
For the Nevada Appeal
Muslims worldwide are in a “rage” over the deployment of American forces in foreign lands. Islamic extremists are in a rage over cartoons that lampoon a holy figure. Muslims are in a rage over lack of benefits Western societies deny them when they emigrate there, even while calling for the overthrow of these same governments. Muslim extremists blow up innocent children because they are enraged over societies that worship a God other than their own. Well, excuse me, but I’m in a rage over “Muslim rage.”
If my count is correct, the last several times we have deployed American troops, it has been on behalf of Muslim countries or populations (First Gulf War to free Kuwait, Kosovo, Bosnia, Somalia, the overthrow of Saddam, humanitarian assistance to Indonesia, the Philippines, etc). Do we hear a resounding cry of thanks for protecting and assisting these beleaguered populations? No, in fact, what we hear is that the U.S. is the “Great Satan,” bent on some “anti-Islamic crusade.”
I am in a rage over political leaders who deny that the Holocaust occurred, who provide support for the destruction of Israel, or pursue an “Islamic nuclear bomb.” I am tired of so-called religious figures who preach a doctrine of hate, bigotry, and fanaticism, and who summon the faithful for a Jihad against Western civilization. I am upset with “moderate” Arab leaders who ignore the problems of Islamic extremism when such problems do not threaten their own regime, and have encouraged the export of terror.
We hear accusations that the United States is insufficiently sympathetic to cultural differences between the Judeo-Christian West and the Islamic world. Not sympathetic to what? To a culture that imprisons women, forcing them into virtual servitude to their male masters? To political systems that venerate rule by a “theocracy” that oppresses anyone who dares speak against the regime? To fanatical religious teachings that turn children into suicide bombers and mothers into screaming maniacs shouting praise to Allah that her sons have died while blowing up innocent women and children in Israel?
Perhaps we also are guilty of suggesting that those who have labored under authoritarian regimes – Arab, Persian, Indonesian, or whatever – deserve to have the right to freely choose their own political system, to be able to express views that differ from the prevailing political orthodoxy, or to allow women the freedom to pursue careers and participate openly in daily life. We are charged with trying to “export democracy,” believing that, heresy of heresies, where political freedoms exist, tolerance prevails, and compromise is possible.
If these are sins, then count me among the “guilty.” We should not apologize for our support for the concept of governing under the rule of law, rather than the absolute whim of self-anointed Mullahs. We should have no shame in preaching the virtues of a society that extols freedom of religious choice, of the right to speak freely on controversial subjects, and that deplores hatred and bigotry.
We must not underestimate the nature of the threat posed by “Islamo-fascism.” It represents what has correctly been labeled the “clash of civilizations.” It is a threat that will not be mollified by appeasement and tepid responses. It is a challenge that must be met by firmness, resolve, and unity, by our society as a whole, not just by a few soldiers sent to distant lands to combat the threat. This is the consummate struggle between two ways of life, two ideologies, two cultures. Are we ready?
• Tyrus W. Cobb is a former special assistant to President Reagan.