Radical Islam and Our State of Denial


gty_benghazi_dm_130425_wblogGeorge Orwell wrote in his 1946 essay “In Front of Your Nose” that “we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right.” A clearer illustration of Orwell’s observation than the current administration’s handling of radical Islam would be hard to find.

In his 2011 Cairo speech, President Obama said that his goal is “to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims.” The subtext, of course, was the common criticism from the Left that George W. Bush had unnecessarily ratcheted up tensions with the Muslim world through his wars in Afghanistan and Iraq following the September 11, 2001, attacks by Islamist extremists. Our actions, critics said, were creating more terrorists than our military was killing.

Overnight, following the inauguration of Barack Obama, problematic phrasing such as the “global war on terror” (itself a euphemism) and “Muslim extremism” were expunged from the national lexicon in favor of generic terms such as “man-caused disasters.” Explained Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, “We want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur.”

Last month, in seeking to lay down a refined national security strategy, President Obama came close to declaring victory over al Qaeda. “Today, Osama bin Laden is dead, and so are most of his top lieutenants,” Obama said. “There have been no large-scale attacks on the United States, and our homeland is more secure. Fewer of our troops are in harm’s way, and over the next 19 months they will continue to come home. Our alliances are strong, and so is our standing in the world. In sum, we are safer because of our efforts.”

However, events on the ground continue to belie the administration’s euphemisms, parsings, and happy talk. The grisly murder of a British soldier in broad daylight by two machete- and knife-wielding Muslims in London came within mere days. Yet the Obama administration remains committed to its narrative, which it knows to be untrue, and is more than willing to twist the facts to keep it going. Worse, the administration has done all this at the risk of American lives and security. Let’s go down the short list:

Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan faces the death penalty or life without parole if convicted on 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in his 2009 rampage. Hasan, who shouted “Allahu Akbar!” (“God is great!”) during the attack against his unarmed fellow soldiers, now says he was defending the Taliban. U.S. prosecutors are treating the bloodletting as an incident of “workplace violence,” denying victims both Purple Hearts and certain combat-related medical benefits. Hasan, meanwhile, is preparing to defend himself in a court of law.

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev scribbled a message on the boat in which he was captured that said the Americans killed were collateral damage in U.S. wars in Muslim lands, and that an attack on one Muslim is an attack on all. The FBI, of course, failed to prevent his butchery, which killed three people and wounded 275, even after a warning from Russian intelligence about the Tsarnaev brothers.

Then of course there is Benghazi. Seeking to maintain the pre-election fiction that the drone-happy President Obama had al Qaeda on the run (“The tide of war is receding,” the president told the U.N.), the administration ignored months of warnings from Ambassador Chris Stevens and others about inadequate security at the U.S. consulate and the strengthening of Islamist forces in Libya. On September 11, Islamists linked to al Qaeda launched a coordinated assault on the consulate, killing four Americans, including Stevens. (Many more would have died if two former Navy SEALs had not disobeyed orders and rescued consulate staff.) Despite repeated calls to Washington for help and a rescue team that was ready to intervene, that night administration officials did nothing.

And in the following weeks, they promulgated the lie that the assault was not an attack of Islamist terror but a “spontaneous demonstration” in response to a YouTube video. Adding insult to injury, Barack Obama has just selected the discredited U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice, who repeated the administration lie on numerous Sunday morning talk shows, to be his next national security adviser. Why not, since the bigger lie about the threat we face from radicalized Islam continues?

This is not a partisan screed. Muslim extremists are not concerned about whether their victims are Republicans or Democrats, and they don’t particularly care who sits in the Oval Office. It is, instead, a call for us to stop lying to ourselves and face the enemy before it is too late. As Rep. Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican and former counterterrorism prosecutor, has said, “You cannot defeat an enemy you refuse to acknowledge.”

Let us pray that we stop denying what’s right in front of our collective nose—sooner rather than later. George Orwell knew that such obfuscation eventually carries a price. “Intellectually,” he noted, “it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.”

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images.

Stan Guthrie is author of All That Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us, Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for the 21st Century, and coauthor of The Sacrament of Evangelism. His latest book, A Concise Guide to Bible Prophecy: 60 Predictions Everyone Should Know, is scheduled for release in July. Stan blogs at http://stanguthrie.com.

Articles on the BreakPoint website are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BreakPoint. Outside links are for informational purposes and do not necessarily imply endorsement of their content.


Had you raised your concerns politely, J.S.L,, I might have taken them more seriously. As you show no interest in doing so, you're now suspended from commenting under the terms of our comment policy.

Then, so I am clear....

If I accuse someone of saying that the loss of 3,000 innocent American lives on 9/11 was 'our fault,' and therefore, via guilt by association, the fault of the deceased, that kind of thing is fine. I can, to quote you, 'put words in someone's mouth' about something that derogatory and crass.

Because it got nothing from you, I am going to assume its fine.

And if I get so out of sorts about it that by my own confession I cannot complete my response to that person, this kind of tone is fine.

Because you said nothing about that kind of display from my responder, I will assume its fine.

So, just avoid using any combination of words that might lean toward the idea that someone might be unreasonably pro-war, and I will be OK around here??

Because that is the way it looks, and it flat makes no sense to me.

You can say I am mistaken about your moderation tactics, but I am just calling it as I see it.

Honestly, I couldn't care any less that Mo didn't get moderated. There was no reason she should have been. Neither was there any reason I should have been.

What we have here is a clear case of a Breakpoint moderator moderating against someone's worldview - not their words.
. . . And I'm the one who's overwrought?

No one gets a free pass here, JSL. I believe in requiring a civilized tone from all commenters -- otherwise, comment sections quickly turn into ongoing brawls. To that end, yes, I moderate strictly when I find it necessary. On occasion, I've even had to ask some of my own friends and relatives who comment here -- including those who share my worldview -- to tone it down, so your understanding of the way I do business is quite mistaken.

If you can live with the requirement I mentioned, you're welcome to stay here and express your opinion as long as you see fit. If not, goodbye.

Thanks for the gender corrective, but the seeming irritation about everything is starting to seem a bit overwrought.

This is actually about the most petty and inequitable moderation I have ever experience.

I have not been incendiary, but I am certainly sorry, and not really too surprised that it is being portrayed that way.

It's fairly obvious that when you look at Mo's response compared to mine....mine was pretty tame.

Mo actually accused me of saying things like 9/11 are our fault, as if I am some Ward Churchill knock-off. I never said such a thing, and the accusation is completely derogatory. But apparently you know Mo to some degree, and you share her worldview, so she gets a pass. Shocker (really not so much, given the organization).

But I warn her against a mindset that does, in fact, lead to warmongering (or at least consent thereof) and I get the warning, and I am the one putting words in people's mouths?

There is a reasonable interpretation of her words to that end, just as there is as reasonable interpretation of my words towards the meaning she ascribed to them. But instead of just letting free speech take its course, knowing that nothing untoward or really noteworthy was happening here...well....

As for my tone and my alleged accusations of against others of being warmongers:

Compare my tone with Mo's, and once again a screaming bias on your end is absolutely apparent.

Do you and Mo agree with our actions in Afghanistan? Do you think it was a good thing that, when we could not find Bin Laden, we said, 'well, since we are already here and we don't like the way this government does things, we will just overthrow it'?

Or that instead of offering an apology, a withdrawal, and some restitution for the destruction we visited on Iraq in the name of some very fictitous WMDs, the fact that we did the same thing there is also good and righteous?

Because consent to that type of activity, to my mind, is warmongering. And isn't that what this is all about? What we perceive? Our worldviews are in contrast. Mo makes some assumptions about me, and me about her, based on what we perceive the other's worldview to be. And that is just normal and part of any discussion where worldviews are so far apart.

According to you, that is actually good enough for Mo. It is not good enough for me,

And what can I really expect from a group like Breakpont, so utterly steeped in conservatism? It is for reasons like these that I have drifted so far from Breakpoint's vision in the last few years: it's no longer about ideology...it's about being an idealogue.

So, this may well just get me moderated right on out of here - and that is fine. If you are going to create things to moderate over and do it so completely inequitably because someone transgressed the party line - well, you can have your forum and continue to just sit around preaching to the choir. Because that is exactly what conservatism - particularly the Republican brand - is coming to.

As for me, I am sorry I took the time to express an opinion here, and quite frankly should have known better. Certainly won't happen again.
First of all, Mo is a her. Second of all, I reiterate that accusing your fellow commenters of warmongering is disrespectful at best, hyperbole or not. Please watch your tone in future. Thank you.

There is a war being tacitly endorsed within the context of the discussion. Maybe not even tacitly.

My words to Mo about justifying it on religious grounds came from his assessment that Christianity provides a self-defense clause, which is debatable. I was just making a point, obviously hyperbolized.

The entire course of the discussion does seem to lead toward demonization and criminalization of the entire Muslim community based on the actions of a few.

Sometimes, I think that it is we putting words in the mouths of others.

All I said in my original post was that we should step back, take a collective breath, be slow to judge, and take measured actions against those who commit crimes against us. And that even within the context of retaliation, we should seek to understand and keep the door open to communication.

See the response that generated in one reader here.

Try to understand the broader point I am making.
JSL, no one here has advocated religious war or criminalization. Let's not go around putting words in other people's mouths, please.

I am sorry my comments frustrated you. I am quite familiar with what Islam teaches. I am also in touch with the fact that different people in that community interpret it in different ways. Not every Muslim is a radical. Not every Muslim thinks jihad is an open political, military struggle.

Actually, if you consider the actual number of Muslims worldwide, it is a very small percentage that openly advocate the agenda of the radical element. It is an even smaller number who act on that agenda.

Your mindset would try and convict every one of them based on things you just don't know about them. You have allowed a deplorable act by a radicalized few to disintegrate your respect for a larger community who had nothing to do with it, and would have never had anything to do with it. They get no benefit of the doubt from you. Period. This is not how a Christian should think. It's a "shoot first ask questions later" mentality that is definitely judgmental, and dangerously so.

Did I not say that I didn't advocate strict pacifism? Indeed, I did say that. We should punish those proven guilty of a crime. We should not go on a crusade against a community of faith.

You also might want to do some investigation into exactly what the West has done in the Middle East over the years. You seem to be under the impression that the West acts with absolute selflessness, only doing what is positively beneficial for the citizens and governments of other nations. That is demonstrably false, and very naive.

Your mentality is a kind of sectarianism itself. You are not unlike them in some ways: you are ready to wage war on them, to justify it on religious grounds, to demonized, and to criminalize based on some generalizations and assumptions that you ultimately feel threatened by.

Welcome to the mind of a radical Muslim, Mo.
"My issue is the attitude of mind and heart that seems to necessarily be entailed by creating a salient Us v. Them dialogue, which definitely precedes antagonism and a policy of retaliation and revenge, hatred for hatred."

It is Islam that has created the Us vs. Them mentality, not those who speak out about what Islam teaches.

Islam divides the world into Dar al-Harb (house of war) and Dar al-Ahd (house of peace).

Guess which 'house' unbelievers are in?

"I am not persuaded that this is good political policy. I am persuaded that it is not consistent Christian policy."

It is Islam making this distinction, not us. Islam is at war with us, not the other way around. Of course it is within our rights - both politically and within Christianity - to defend ourselves. Of course it is.

"So, I don't need convincing that there is a very real radical element within a large segment of the Muslim community."

Apparently you do, since you speak as though the attacks against us (unbelievers in Islam) by Muslims are our fault, instead of being the fault of the teachings and commands of Islam being obeyed by those who commit these acts.

"That I am not yet convinced of is that we need to intentionally fan the flames of their radical agenda by ratcheting up our rhetoric, making threats, and embracing the killing of our enemies as our only truly viable option."

Are you kidding? Muslims are the ones attacking US (nonbelievers)! Over and over and over and OVER again, all over the world! But somehow it's our fault?

I should be used to this by now. This mentality is everywhere. It's utterly maddening.

"It might be worthwhile to examine ourselves, to introspectively review our past policy, and see if we can trace their agenda to mistakes we have made."

Do you have any idea what Islam teaches? I'm asking this sincerely.

"It is possible that we have generated some of this."

No, we have not.

Islam teaches unbelievers must convert, submit or die. Period.

Please, please, please read the Koran and about the life of Mohammad. If you do this with an open mind, you will never say these things again.


I can't even respond to the rest, because it just frustrates me and I will probably say things I shouldn't.

More than a decade after 9/11 and people still have no idea what Islam teaches and still blame the continued oppression and violence of Islam on us, instead of on the teachings of Islam being obeyed by the followers of Islam.

It truly is remarkable.
I just don't know. I have no disagreement with the author's perceptions. I am fairly certain Orwell would have had some disagreements.

My issue is the attitude of mind and heart that seems to necessarily be entailed by creating a salient Us v. Them dialogue, which definitely precedes antagonism and a policy of retaliation and revenge, hatred for hatred. I am not persuaded that this is good political policy. I am persuaded that it is not consistent Christian policy.

So, I don't need convincing that there is a very real radical element within a large segment of the Muslim community.

What I am not yet convinced of is that we need to intentionally fan the flames of their radical agenda by ratcheting up our rhetoric, making threats, and embracing the killing of our enemies as our only truly viable option.

It might be worthwhile to examine ourselves, to introspectively review our past policy, and see if we can trace their agenda to mistakes we have made. It is possible that we have generated some of this. We should not immediately take the stance that we have acted with the Muslim world's best interests in mind, historically. Their mindset is not random, and it may not be as related to their hatred of Christianity or 'our freedom' as we generally like to think.

My point is that reflection, self-examination, and dialogue are not bad places to start. And part of that may involve being realistic without resorting to inflammatory language or rushing toward retaliation. As Larry Norman sang, 'Do you really think the only way to bring about the peace is to sacrifice your children and kill all your enemies?'

I am not promoting a strict pacifism, anti-Americanism, or any of that. Just some reflection and a step back from the often reactionary responses that accompany such a 'realistic view' of the radical element within the Muslim community.

It's great that this issue is finally being addressed by a Christian site/organization!

Just one quibble: Let's not continue the politically-correct fiction of calling it radical Islam. Islam is Islam. There are no such distinctions in the Muslim world of "radical" vs. "not radical" Islam.

There may be moderate Muslims. There is no moderate Islam. It teaches what it teaches.

The only difference is how closely its adherents follow those teachings.

BreakPoint Columns