President Bush has been consistent in his comments about Iraq and Iran. He did not deviate from previous remarks in his U.N. address. This consistency — along with rapidly falling gas prices — has had a positive effect on his approval rating, now at 44 percent, according to the latest USA Today/Gallup Poll.
The real test remains to be taken and passed. Will “moderate” Muslims step up and begin isolating the fanatics? Will Muslim seminaries and Islamic religious leaders issue “fatwas” that not only state the use of violence is contradictory to the way and will of God, but that murder is a one-way ticket to Hell instead of a trip to heavenly virgins?
It is one thing for President Bush to say the United States is not at war with Islam, but what if Islam sees itself at war with the United States, indeed the entire West? That’s what one hears from various imams, Arab and Islamic media and sermons throughout the world. Jews are referred to as apes and pigs and Christians are called cross-worshippers and crusaders. Jews and Christians don’t riot when slandered, but Muslims do at the smallest perceived slight. That is not an example of a developed religion or a developing society. That is medieval.
One nation can declare war on another, but can it un-declare war when its adversary has declared war on it? I am not optimistic that the words of President Bush will have much influence (or even be heard) in the part of the world that demonizes him and calls the United States the “Great Satan.”
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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