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Truth first, and then use the "shame" weapon

Reader comment on item: Denying Islam's Role in Terror: Explaining the Denial

Submitted by Mike C. (United States), Mar 16, 2013 at 14:00

Thanks for this detailed and organized article which explains the truth about how soft the American psyche has become. In fact, the word "denial," considering all the facts you presented, seem weak. A more accurate word for describing such intentional denial would be "deception." From 9/11 on, the government has tried to deceive the public from what was totally evident. You proved this by listing the many horrendous terrorist acts on our territory and by citing an important statement:

"Just one day after 9/11, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell set the tone by asserting that the just-committed atrocities 'should not be seen as something done by Arabs or Islamics; it is something that was done by terrorists.'"

That deception by our leaders has led to the most powerful nation on earth coming up with the dumbest and weakest name for a war in history: the "War on Terror". Unsurprisingly, it took a Republican, Newt Gingrich, as you noted, to explain the nursery-school level logic: "This is not a war on terrorism. Terrorism is an activity." Others have pointed out that "terror" is also just a weapon, and not something you can fight or declare war against, being formless and unstructured like typical uniformed armies.

We didn't go to Europe in 1941 to fight a "war on blitzkriegs" or to the Far East to fight a "war on kamikazes." To help show that "deception," not "denial," is intended, you quoted Daniel Benjamin, Obama's coordinator for counter-terrorism at the State Department:

"I have no doubt my colleagues understand the nature of the threat."

The honest and most useful name, IMO, would have been the "War on Islamic Terrorism." The general public would have understood that this is not a war on any religion or religious group. Nor is it a war on some amorphous mystical enemy. It is a war on a more clearly defined type of terrorism, a "lethal combination," aka "Jihad." And we can leave the other descriptions for the political scientists to debate in their journals: "Islamic fundamentalism," "Islamist extremism," "radical extremists," "Islamo-fascism," etc. The average American isn't concerned about those terms.

An accurate name would also have allowed our media to help win the war, rather than just report it and continue the deceptions. They would have helped fight it based on other essential facts that you explained, that Muslims are easily offended, and especially fearful of negative Western opinions about Islam. And this fear by many Muslims of being blamed for doing bad things in a newly adopted country with a different culture could easily be turned into a "shame weapon" against potential terrorists.

Muslims in the U.S. are often very humble around non-Muslims, even more so around Jews, who they respect enough to hire as attorneys or doctors. From my own experience they seem petrified of being accused of any crime, no matter how petty, and are afraid of the police. This could be a cultural reaction, considering how strict and authoritarian their former countries are. Petty crimes that are misdemeanors here can be capital crimes back in their homeland.

But Muslims have an Achilles heel: when matters concern their religion, their sense of pride takes over. Say anything negative about the Koran, and many Muslims go ballistic and become overly defensive. Draw a cartoon of Muhammad and the same happens. Try to leave or reject their religion, the same. Their greatest weakness then is their overbearing pride of Islam which becomes their weakness. A people's pride of their religion is nothing new.

Combine that "pride" with Obama's stated desire, that "one of the ways we're going to win this struggle is through the battle of hearts and minds." If he's right, then labeling the war accurately comes first, a "War on Islamic Terror." Afterwards, when a Muslim commits an act of terror in a Western nation, every media-aware Muslim will see that the terrorist has also reinforced and confirmed the name and purpose of the war, will have shown that Muslims are indeed always the cause of such terrorism, and as a result, their religious pride will be diminished and may turn to shame.

We would hope that in their "hearts and minds," they will instinctively realize that every act of terror by a Muslim reduces the impression of Islam in the eyes of the world. That every act of Muslim terror will indirectly be a disgrace against Islam itself. Their feelings of religious "pride" will be wounded. And because Muslims stay close to other Muslims after they immigrate, that "shame" could indirectly become a weapon against further "Islamic terror." As you so rightly pointed out, "politicians and generals must identify and name the enemy to defeat it." Deceiving the people achieves the opposite.


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (55) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
"Moderate Islam" as compared to..... What?? [95 words]Ron BlowerFeb 9, 2016 02:29227996
This Great Article Made Me Think That Guliani Should Have Made This Contrast Between His Recognizing Islamofascism and Obama being Blind To It [277 words]Mike ConlonNov 16, 2015 22:25226429
Picture worth 10,000 words? [1 words]JIMJFOXAug 9, 2015 12:40224626
Losing by intimidation [202 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
jdubowMar 17, 2015 20:34222403
... in denial- pun intended [60 words]JIMJFOXAug 9, 2015 12:52222403
2jihad [69 words]cavan edwardsApr 30, 2013 11:23205753
1Da nile, not just a river in Egypt. [44 words]LynnApr 28, 2013 09:21205701
Islam is not the enemy, Muslims are not the enemy, the WSTJ cult is the enemy of the West [50 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
AthosApr 26, 2013 02:27205630
You forgot Sirhan Sirhan [135 words]Wallace Edward BrandMay 7, 2013 01:40205630
1What message islamic terrorists are REALLY sending! [160 words]SteveMay 23, 2015 18:29205630
Disingenuous- Ironic, some?? [42 words]JIMJFOXAug 9, 2015 12:44205630
It needs to be monitored [187 words]john w. mcginleyApr 4, 2013 16:28204949
James Holmes of the Colorado massacre converted to the religion of peace! [39 words]dhimmi no moreMar 23, 2013 11:07204627
Islam & Islamism, one and the same. [19 words]Steven LMar 19, 2013 22:26204510
Denial Symptom [49 words]Clifford IshiiMar 19, 2013 20:50204505
1Denying Islam's role in Terror. Explaining the denial, rather the Obsession. [123 words]AnneMar 17, 2013 18:10204428
west,the terror of the world. [69 words]Muzaffar hussainJun 7, 2013 23:20204428
1Denying Islam's Role in Terror. The Denial is on your side. response to Muzzafar. [224 words]AnneJun 9, 2013 07:55204428
1Denial by Making an Issue Abstract (about 'Hate' Speech) [275 words]Ron ThompsonMar 17, 2013 08:09204409
3Germany [68 words]ChristaMar 17, 2013 16:18204393
2Truth first, and then use the "shame" weapon [790 words]Mike C.Mar 16, 2013 14:00204387
1Can we reassert the right to scientific and scholarly criticism of ANY religion? [1020 words]Martin H. KatchenMar 15, 2013 20:49204377
1Good points, but I disagree with your conclusion [199 words]saraMar 15, 2013 21:10204377
I must respectfully rebut your disagreement [547 words]Martin H. KatchenMar 16, 2013 00:58204377
A voice of reason [13 words]LenoreMar 19, 2013 19:20204377
1Denying Islam's Role in Terror / Explaining the Denial [142 words]JudithMar 15, 2013 19:45204376
Excellent Review by Daniel Pipes [265 words]Carol CassadyMar 15, 2013 18:42204375
If you don't blame Islam, blame Asians [41 words]GamalielMar 15, 2013 18:39204374
So long as we look the other way... [182 words]NuritGMar 15, 2013 18:00204373
1A Different Suggestion on Why It Is So Very Hard to Get THE OBVIOUS Widely Accepted [1875 words]Ron ThompsonMar 15, 2013 13:41204366
Time to Stand-Up to Extremist Da'Wah and Jihadism! [225 words]GKMar 14, 2013 14:06204323
An idea [61 words]Kepha HorMar 13, 2013 21:18204306
1The terrorism that dares not speak its name [73 words]stuffagainMar 9, 2013 22:50204169
8Islam and terrorism [478 words]dhimmi no moreMar 9, 2013 08:07204144
Turkish Intelligence Recruits Al Nusra Terrorists to Fight in Syria [17 words]Young MCMar 10, 2013 09:27204144
The Turks and Jihadists fighting in Syria [120 words]dhimmi no moreMar 13, 2013 10:14204144
3Excellence [255 words]Tom DundeeMar 8, 2013 14:08204123
3They are not medical doctors [187 words]Y Brandstetter MDMar 7, 2013 06:03204087
I Agree With Your Intent, But Not Your Rationale [166 words]Tom DundeeMar 8, 2013 15:30204087
4When Islamists tell us the truth, can't we just listen? [331 words]JeffMar 5, 2013 13:01204051
why we listen and do not understand - aggression vs hostility [312 words]mythMar 6, 2013 06:57204051
2Dutch AIVD partly in denial [173 words]mythMar 5, 2013 04:59204046
3Our Government Has Forgotten Its Obligations [108 words]DaveMar 4, 2013 08:01204019
1Religion of Peace [45 words]Tom DundeeMar 8, 2013 15:12204019
7So who is really our enemy? [106 words]dhimmi no moreMar 4, 2013 07:29204017
9what is the nature of the Obama-moderates? [56 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
mythMar 3, 2013 19:33204006
9The elephant in the room! [131 words]dhimmi no moreMar 4, 2013 07:55204006
6moderate muslims [25 words]diana westMar 4, 2013 08:43204006
Excellence in Writing [102 words]Kevin SynnottMar 8, 2013 14:18204006
Outstanding Catch [2 words]Tom DundeeMar 8, 2013 14:21204006
response to moderate muslims by diana west [69 words]LilyApr 19, 2013 18:43204006
4Islamists have been given the license to kill [96 words]TomMar 3, 2013 19:14204004
6German "Verfassungsschutz" report a good read for US authorities [208 words]mythMar 3, 2013 18:19204003
2The agenda [42 words]BillMar 3, 2013 17:46204001

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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