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The public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute

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Discussion: (2 comments)

  1. No surprise, the Bushes were/are buddies of the Saudis!

  2. Michael Stein

    Ms. Pletka’s fundamental failure of understanding is encapsulated in this quote:

    “… as if somehow anyone reputable was accusing us of being inhospitable. […] He asks a good question. Why does the president of the United States need to talk about Muslims as good people or bad people? Did Clinton talk about the Serbs as Orthodox and defend their religion in the 90s?”

    Let’s start with these two words from the first sentence: “anyone reputable”. The problem is, “reputable” is not a universal absolute despite Ms. Pletka’s apparent belief to the contrary. Barack Obama is reputable to Democrats, not so much to he Tea Party crowd. Sarah Palin is reputable to the right, but a sad joke to anyone on the left.

    Of course nobody reputable _to us_ is accusing us of being inhospitable to Muslims! But as unimaginable as this notion may be to Ms. Pletka, people we find disreputable may be very reputable to the Arab street. It just so happens that some of those people have been accusing us of engaging in a war on Islam. Ms. Pletka can read about some of them here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_against_Islam

    The objective truth of their claim is entirely irrelevant to the beliefs and reactions of the Arab street. As long as the Arab street holds that belief, it will be as hostile to us as they believe we are to them.

    The remarks were intended to address and modify that belief. Perhaps it won’t work the frst time, or the second time, or the third. Indeed, there is a very good chance it will never work. However remaining silent in the face of the accusations seems even less likely to cause them to change their beliefs. Even if we only get through to 5% of the people who believe in the lie, that reduction is still a benefit to us.

    The reason Clinton did not say anything about the Serbian Orthodox religion is simply that nobody, not even the most rabid Serb nationalists, accused the United States of being motivated by a hostility to that denomination. There was no misperception to counter.

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