My friend Chris Rodda comments on an aspect of the Bin Laden killing that I had missed.
In his Sunday night statement announcing that Osama bin Laden had been killed, President Obama made a point of saying that we are not at war with Islam. Great. The decision was made to immediately bury bin Laden at sea, in accordance with Muslim burial custom, despite the fact that this was an evil man who in no way represented the religion of Islam. Smart. It appeared that the White House was doing all the right things to make it clear to Muslims everywhere that the killing of bin Laden was not a religious attack and show America’s respect for Muslim religious traditions.
But any good that these actions might have done in averting retaliation by bin Laden’s supporters was probably just obliterated this morning when it was reported on NBC’s Today Show that the commander of the SEAL unit, who was supposed to signal that the mission was successfully accomplished with the code word “Geronimo,” decided to embellish his communication by prefacing the code word with “For God and Country.” Did whoever released this message to the media give any thought at all to what they were doing?
She’s right, this is utterly stupid. No matter what this particular person might think, the killing of Bin Laden didn’t have a damn thing to do with God or religion. There is a purely non-religious purpose in wanting to capture or kill the man — he is responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent Americans and tens of thousands of other innocent people around the globe.
MRFF founder and president Mikey Weinstein spoke this morning to a senior Obama administration intelligence official who told Weinstein that he had “cringed uncontrollably” when he saw the “For God and Country Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo” headline on the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) website this morning, before he even knew that these were the words of the SEAL commander being reported on NBC. As a long time MRFF supporter going back to the Bush administration, this intelligence official knows very well the potential danger that this almost incomprehensible lapse in judgement on the part of both the SEAL commander and whoever released the words of this commander to the media will put our troops in.
George W. Bush understood very well the importance of making sure that we did not send any message that would suggest that the United States is at war with Islam as a whole. We are not. We are at war with a specific subset of Islam. And that subset is as much of a threat to the rest of the Muslim world as they are to us.
I met with one of the leaders of the Muslim Public Affairs Council recently, a really incredible guy who is both a Muslim and an American. He is an American by choice, not by accident of birth. His father was an Afghan diplomat before the Soviet invasion. He told me that they had done a study of all the terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda and their various partner groups around the world and found that nearly 90% of the victims had been Muslim.
To the reactionary elements of the Islamic world, this man is an enemy; he is our ally, and a very valuable one at that. We are not at war with him or his religion; we are at war with the same people he is at war with, those who use their religion to justify their barbarism and their hatred. And the more we allow things like this to happen, the more we feed into the narrative that Al Qaeda most fervently wants to spread, the idea that America is a Christian nation at war with Islam in a new crusade.