In times of war or fear, we turn to our baser instincts. Unfortunately, lately that means many Americans blame all Moslems for the acts of a few. As I have mentioned here before, my experience is different than many Americans. I had the privilege of serving in Iraq with some wonderful persons who happened to be Moslem. I found them to be the very antithesis of terrorists. Indeed, the Iraqi interpreters were subject to threats themselves from terrorists. And, the Iraqi interpreter who worked for me, Salma, was later killed by Ansar al-Sunah.
And, now, Don Trump calls for the exclusion of all Muslims from immigration to the U.S. Any exclusion based on race or religion would violate the Constitution. As I have mentioned here before, we could not have done as well as we did in Iraq and Afghanistan if we did not have those brave, decent Moslem interpreters risking their lives with us. Indeed, they risked more than we did. They risked the lives of their families, as well as their own lives.
Here in America, we cannot win this war without the aid of brave, decent Moslems. This is indeed a war. But, bombing the bleep out of them will not win the war. Don Trump is wrong, again. We win a war like this by, yes, bombing them, but also by winning the public relations part of the war. Yes, the war must be won on the internet and among public perception. Much as it was in Iraq, the battle ground lies in the mind of those moderate Moslem citizens. If we win them, then we win the war.
Osama bin Laden was convinced that in attacking us, he would demonstrate to the world that we as a country are anti-Moslem. He believed that we would respond to the attacks by harassing Moslems. We did not. Partly because Pres. Bush was careful to stress that good, decent Moslems would not commit terrorism.
If Salma were here, she would say, “sir, these people are crazy!” And, they are.