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ISLAM IS NOT THE ENEMY

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    ISLAM IS NOT THE ENEMY The San Francisco Chronicle, 10/14/05 http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi? file=/chronicle/archive/2005/10/14/EDGKVF7QQ41.DTL MOST
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 4, 2005
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      ISLAM IS NOT THE ENEMY
      The San Francisco Chronicle, 10/14/05
      http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?
      file=/chronicle/archive/2005/10/14/EDGKVF7QQ41.DTL


      MOST AMERICANS must realize by now that President Bush will claim
      almost anything to justify the constantly escalating tragedy of his
      Iraq policy. So atop his long refusal to drop the implied linkage of
      Saddam Hussein to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Bush's
      vision of an attempt to create a "radical Islamic empire that spans
      from Spain to Indonesia" is not surprising.

      The president shared his scary thought in a speech last week to the
      National Endowment for Democracy in Washington. He thus sought to
      inject the fear of total jihadist victory across the Muslim world
      into the argument for keeping major U.S. military forces fighting
      and dying in the unpopular mess his 2003 invasion of Iraq has
      created.

      This Bush approach to shoring up fast-eroding public support for the
      war has at least a couple of problems. It undercuts the moderate
      Muslims who must form the basis of any realistic hope for spreading
      democracy in their parts of the world. The frightful terms with
      which Bush warns of rampant Islamism recall the "yellow peril" that
      once obsessed U.S. opponents of immigration from Asia, and the tales
      of Mohammedan conquest that fueled the Crusades. Bush's simplistic
      focusing of American distrust on the very peoples he seeks to enlist
      for democratic reform -- making them part of the supposed
      future "empire" -- is no way to win friends in that part of the
      world.

      The other big problem is the realism of Bush's portrayal of
      triumphant Islamic extremism. The Osama bin Ladens have not managed
      to take over a tiny Persian Gulf fiefdom much less an actual country
      in their regions of maximum strength. Their making common cause with
      the Taliban of Afghanistan was a disaster for both groups, with bin
      Laden still on the run.

      The Islamic "empire" promises to be a storybook affair for many
      decades after Bush has left the White House

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