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Brave Mr. Hewitt

Taking on someone that is “on your side” is hard for a member of the media to do.When someone does, it is brave and they should be commended for courage.Hugh Hewitt is showing such courage.Recently, a conservative favorite in Congress, Tom Tancredo announced that bombing Mecca should be on the table in the Global War on Terror.Hewitt opines:

“Supporting” Congressman Tancredo on this issue identifies you as an American interested in comforting noise rather than progress in the GWOT.

Hewitt is right and Tancredo is wrong on at least four grounds.First, Tancredo is wrong on pragmatic grounds to make such a statement. Turning the War on Terror into a West versus Islam battle is the only hope our foes have. They have little support in most of the world. Islam has a great deal of support. Tancredo would be stupid to say this (as a leader) even if he was right.Second, even if one assumes that Islam is all radical Islam (as I do not), the proper position would be to support movement in Islam toward change. Advocating bombing Mecca is no more likely to produce positive change in Islam than ecumenical dialogue with Catholics would be helped by putting “bombing the Vatican” on the table.Third, Mecca is not a military target. What would be the ethical justification for destroying part of our world heritage, with civilian losses, for no military gain?Fourth, it is empirically false that all of Islam supports terrorism. To cite but one example my colleague Mustafa Akyol has a fine web site and blog here.Mustafa is a thoughtful person and professional friend. He has had positive interaction with my intellectual godfather Phillip E. Johnson. Johnson writes about him in the most recent Touchstone.We do not always agree, but it horrifies me that a member of our government would put bombing this fine man’s most holy site on the table in a war in which Mustafa, like millions of Moslems, is an ally against terror.One can think Islam wrong on theological and philosophic grounds without making the straw man argument that all of it is as bad as its worse possible proponents. Christians rightly resent it when this is done to them. Moslems should be treated with the same charity.Tancredo is making presidential noises. He now is disqualified from serious consideration given the pressing need to win the War.

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