Rocket Man, I agree that we can’t fight the entire Arab world at once. The question of whether we should pretend that a given Arab state is our friend is another matter. In the case of the Saudis, our position should be that they are our friend only to the extent that they assist our side, and only our side, in the war on terrorism. If President Bush has adequately communicated this to the Saudis, and is prepared to act accordingly, then I don’t have a problem with his policy towards Saudi Arabia.
As to Islam, I agree that if it improves our security to keep saying that Islam is the religion of peace, then Bush should keep saying it. However, I’m not convinced that making this statement over and over improves our security. It’s probably okay to have said some nice things about Islam at the start of the war on terrorism. But I’m concerned that constantly repeating them will be viewed in the Islamic world as a sign of weakness and fear. That seems to me at least as plausible as the notion that repeatedly describing Islam as a religion of peace will help make it so. In addition, something is lost when the American people (the ones who take Bush’s statements at face value) are presented with a rosier view of Islam than the facts justify. Since I doubt that, on balance, we are gaining anything from Bush’s misleading pronouncements about Islam, I would prefer that he stop making them.
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