According to the editorial board at USA Today, President Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon has a lot in common with Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In an editorial the paper published last weekend, they comment on the “similar world views” held by both men. Bannon and Baghdadi, they say, are both gearing up for all-out war between Islam and the West:
Bannon, the right-wing provocateur who used to run the Breitbart website, inveighed on radio in 2010 that “Islam is not a religion of peace; Islam is a religion of submission.” Baghdadi echoed those sentiments five years later: “Islam was never for a day the religion of peace; Islam is the religion of war.”
Uh-huh. Well, this is called being smart enough and well-read enough to take terrorists at their word. Perhaps the editors of USA Today were in hibernation when 19 peaceful Muslims brought down the World Trade Center, but Bannon was apparently paying attention that day.
“Each man spins a narrative for his followers of sprawling conflict between believers of Prophet Mohammed and followers of Jesus Christ,” the editorial continues. To illustrate, they quote Bannon as saying, “There is a major war brewing, a war that’s already global.” They compare this with the preachings of Baghdadi, who once said, “Oh Muslims, this war is only against you and against your religion.”
Alas, the editors assure us, this is all malarkey:
In reality, the West is not at war with the world’s 1.7 billion Muslims, the vast majority of whom want nothing to do with ISIL’s savagery. The West is at war with a warped, barbaric, nihilistic fringe that is a cancer within Islam. Many are not only at peace with Western culture but also are part of its fabric. The world’s Muslims include 3.3 million who are Americans. Nearly 6,000 serve in the U.S. military. In the terror hot spots in the Middle East and South Asia where jihadist terror attacks are most frequent, Muslims bear the brunt of the suffering. The war on terrorism cannot be won without their help. As the two presidents before Trump emphasized, any discussion of a wider war with Islam plays straight into the hands of radical Islamist recruiters.
First of all, the two Bannon quotes they use hardly indicate a man who thinks the U.S. should go to war with “1.7 billion Muslims.” This is a strawman of their own invention, and you have to be pretty far up your own behind not to see what they’re doing.
Second, to compare President Trump’s top adviser to the world’s most wanted terrorist is an act of recklessness that USA Today should have been wise enough to avoid. This is fear-mongering, plain and simple.
Finally, perhaps we need strategists on the anti-Islam end of the spectrum just to balance out the insufferable pandering of the Obama administration. If it’s wrong to say “All Muslims are terrorists,” it’s just as wrong to say that none of them are. Had our pal Barack not spent the last eight years trying desperately to convince us that ISLAM had nothing to do with ISLAMIC TERRORISM, we might not have needed leaders like Bannon and Donald Trump to pull our country back to reality.