Good one, CAIR

CAIR Does Us A Favor:

I'm no fan of CAIR, and I don't agree with their reasoning.

All the same, they did us a favor this time. This ad was a disaster from an Information-Operations point of view.

It's not that the ad "offers a questionable picture of your companies’ collective opinion of Islam and Muslims," as CAIR said.

It's that the ad juxtaposes a holy Islamic site with the words, "unleashes hell," a clear reference to the Marines. This frames the fight exactly in our enemy's terms. The Marines are unholy, even Satanic; they devise and design ways to destroy the Holy Places in the world.

We've already let these murderers get away with calling themselves mujahedeen, which means "Holy warriors" and is an historic term of great respect in Islamic society. We have a choice, because we have our own experts who can help us frame the debate properly. A year and a half ago, a guy I know in IO sent a tip to use the term mufsidoon instead.

I would like to think we don't do that because it's not the American way to fight over names, but to let the truth of actions speak for themselves. That belief, however much I would like to hold it, would be an obvious lie. We fight about the names of things all the time. "Pro-choice/Life" is the most obvious example, but consider the "Castle Doctrine," below, which the Brady Campaign has decided to rename the "Shoot First" law.

I find all that rather tedious and dishonest. Nevertheless, if we have the energy to spare on debates of this type, why don't we perform them where it counts?

Americans make no claim to being holy warriors. We don't mind to 'unleash hell' now and then. We tried to fight this war without attacking mosques, because of a genuine respect for religion and a desire to grant sanctuary to that which is thought holy. It didn't work, but it's not our fault it didn't work. People kept shooting mortars at us from these things. So now, if it comes to it, we'll send the Marines to clean them out as necessary.

Nevertheless, we've got to be clear that our enemies are not holy either. Indeed, if anyone here is unholy, it's not us. We're just fighting men in a bad world. When we find evildoers among us, we root them out. Our enemy encourages them.

We know all that, so maybe we don't feel like we have to say it. But we do have to say it, carefully and often. We've got to be mindful about keeping clean the distinction between the evil we fight, and the mosque in which he sometimes hides.

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