Broward News

Allen West Getting Jingo With It

Col. Allen West, candidate for Congress in Ron Klein's coastal South Florida district, has another YouTube clip for his trophy case. This one comes from last month's "Reclaim American Liberty" conference in New York City. West gave a blunt answer to a question about why Islamic jihadists hate us nice Americans.

It comes at around 1:40 in the video above. West recommends that policymakers study Islamic texts, as he has. Combine that reading with a tour of history books, in which you'll find tales of Muslim nations' military campaigns. And you'll arrive at the answer that West doesn't state explicitly but that he clearly implies: That Islam in general -- not jihadists in particular -- is out to annihilate Western civilization.

So should we treat every Muslim as a suspected terrorist?

West isn't going to say it that bluntly, but that's what he implies. If jihadists are "not a perversion" of Islam, then it must mean that jihad is Islam. That conclusion frees West and his Tea Party disciples -- all of whom claim to "love!" America -- to effectively dissolve one of America's founding principles: freedom of religion. And from their rage about the underwear bomber getting read his Miranda rights, it's clear they also want to trample on the American institution of due process of law.

And God only know what these beliefs mean for American foreign relations: Should our military lead an American jihad against all Muslim nations -- even the ones that don't harbor terrorists?

It's insanity. It's becoming a terrorist nation to defeat a nationless band of terrorists. Of course, West is right in saying that a literal reading of the Koran can offer inspiration and validation for the modern terrorist. But so can a literal reading of any old religious text -- including the Bible. In the centuries since those books were written, societies have evolved. The religion's more enlightened followers realize that it's better to embrace the peaceful "spirit" of those books.

And whatever the military past of the Muslim world, it's no more brutal and bloody than that of Christianity. Human beings wage war. Human beings use religion as a way to justify their cruelest, most selfish impulses. Duh! This is so obvious a lesson of history, it's hard to believe we're still debating it in 2010.

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Thomas Francis