Helping the bad guys

It’s obvious to anyone with a rudimentary understanding of the issues involved, is that the key to defeating radical Islam is, in fact, moderate Islam.  Every time we treat all Muslims as perpetrators of 9/11 and potential terrorists, we weaken the moderates and strengthen the radicals.  Thus, I think, one of the reason so many of us are so frustrated by the demagoguery of the lower Manhattan Islamic Center.   The truth is, that Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and their ilk are doing more to help radical Islamists than this mosque ever could.  Seriously.  Nice post from Chait on the matter today:

It is precisely because radicalism is so pervasive and powerful within the Muslim world that it is vital to cultivate people like Rauf. Cultivating dissidents within Islam against murderous sectarianism is a primary task in our fight against al Qaeda. During the Cold War, some of the most powerful indictments of Soviet tyranny were made by Russian dissidents. Some of these dissidents were, in a manner of speaking, communists. You wouldn’t want a Leon Trotsky running American economic policy. But imagine that right-wingers protested the publication of these dissidents’ work. They’re Russians! Maybe even communists themselves! Why should we let them spread their ideas in America?

It’s obviously not a perfect analogy. But the key fact is that we are fighting a war for the hearts and minds of non-radical Muslims, and the Park 51 uproar is helping drive potential allies into the arms of the enemy. It is madness.  [emphasis mine]

I especially like how Chait shows this to be a flaw in black/white thinking.  I suppose there are some times when it is useful to truly see things as black/white, but more often then not, I think it is simply a failure to appreciate the complexity of the world.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to Helping the bad guys

  1. John says:

    I can’t think of any time when black and white thinking is useful. 😉

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