[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
Bill O'Reilly's been on a tear lately in pushing the notion that Islam itself is the Enemy of America. Last night -- while sneering that "the media" gave Muslims a break by not blaming Islam for the failed Times Square bombing attempt -- he declared that there are "millions of jihadists" out there
"Millions of them!" he shouted.
Well, no doubt there are large numbers of radical Islamic jihadists -- and more every time O'Reilly opens his mouth on the subject. But millions? I don't know of any expert on the subject who would put the numbers that high.
This continues a recent theme for O'Reilly of demonizing Islam generally. The night before, he had this segment with Monica Crowley and Alan Colmes:
O'Reilly: Why is it important? The goal of the United States should be to protect its citizens, No. 1, and to defeat the enemy, No. 2. Why is it important to pinpoint that it's Islam? Why is that?O'Reilly added that "I wanna name Islam", but wasn't sure it would do any good.
Crowley: Because when you have this inability to call the enemy what it is, then there's no hope of defeating that enemy.
Alan Colmes brought some sanity to the discussion by pointing out that Islamic fundamentalist radicals are no more representative of Islam than the Hutaree Christian Militia are representative of Christianity.
Of course, this blew the minds of O'Reilly and Crowley, who promptly short-circuited and dismissed Colmes as "babbling".
What O'Reilly and Crowley can't seem to understand is that it's not only a crude, bigoted smear to declare "Islam" the Enemy, it flies in the face of our many Islamic allies who play critical roles in the "war on terror" (e.g., Turkey and Pakistan).
Oddly enough, a visibly angry Crowley wraps up by explaining: "We're not in a war against a religion, but we are in a war against terrorists who are acting in the name of Islam."
Um, yeah. And that would differ from what Obama has said exactly how?
We are at war. We are at war against al Qaeda, a far-reaching network of violence and hatred that attacked us on 9/11, that killed nearly 3,000 innocent people, and that is plotting to strike us again. And we will do whatever it takes to defeat them.
And we've made progress. Al Qaeda's leadership is hunkered down. We have worked closely with partners, including Yemen, to inflict major blows against al Qaeda leaders. And we have disrupted plots at home and abroad, and saved American lives.
And we know that the vast majority of Muslims reject al Qaeda. But it is clear that al Qaeda increasingly seeks to recruit individuals without known terrorist affiliations not just in the Middle East, but in Africa and other places, to do their bidding. That's why I've directed my national security team to develop a strategy that addresses the unique challenges posed by lone recruits. And that's why we must communicate clearly to Muslims around the world that al Qaeda offers nothing except a bankrupt vision of misery and death –- including the murder of fellow Muslims –- while the United States stands with those who seek justice and progress.