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Debate on TV

Reader comment on item: Television in Time of War

Submitted by Andrew L Sullivan (United States), Aug 4, 2005 at 23:29

I understand your personal reasons for not wanting to debate extremists. I
share those concerns as I hate debating when it becomes stupid. However, I
think you are incorrect in assuming your surrendering area to the enemy by
debating the enemy on television.

When television producers say they have such debates for the purpose of a free
market of ideas, they are willing to tolerate the extremists for the very
reason, that by definition, the extremists have no ideas that are compelling.

I wonder if you realize the dilemma you, me and all the rest of us
intellectuals, are in. Someone quoted a bunch of Muslim organizations to prove
that Muslims were condemning terror. I was appalled to discover a number of
the organizations cited, which included CAIR, are connected to terrorism. How
do you expose extremists for what they are if you’re not willing to expose them
in their 15 minutes of fame on television? You have stated Islamism is an
ideology which must be defeated. However, to defeat it, it must be confronted.

9 out of 10 people think terrorism will end if the US pulls out of the Middle
East. Most do not realize their use of credit cards and habit of eating pork
are also things that make the United States a terrorist target for all the
problems in the world.

I would relish the chance to debate CAIR and confront them with their insincere
peaceful overtures. "Well, while CAIR's words sound nice, how sincere can they
be when they were founded by members of Hamas, a terrorist group?" A trick
question would work too: Would you condemn a US policy which required all
suicide bombers be buried in bacon fat?" Hey, if suicide bombing is
un-Islamic, how could CAIR object?

I realize your concern that such debates may expand terror attacks but I want
to bring something to mind of what this whole battle is about. The saying goes
:Islam means peace" to which I respond, that is precisely what is wrong with
it. There is something more important than peace. Something more valuable
than peace. Something far more fragile than peace. That something is freedom.
The coward in us all wants peace but only the courage in us can defend freedom.
When I see the map of the Moslem world, I see plenty of peace but no freedom.

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