Sugarcoating Islam

Thursday, October 06, 2005
So I was sleeping and missed Bush's speech this morning. Glenn Reynolds thought it was a 'first-rate' speech but notes he 'heard Neal Boortz blasting Bush for "sugarcoating" Islam.'

Well, as Glenn noted, Bush has moved from the generic 'terror' to 'Islamic terror'. I think it's just fine that it has taken Bush four years to get this far. The interim has given the public plenty of time to figure it out for themselves...mostly. Any sooner and the war would have been perceived as a war on Islam from the git go, something bin Laden most assuredly was hoping for. A true clash of civilizations.

And no matter what internal problems Islam may have, this is still a war against those who use violence and intolerance to spread their faith and kill the infidels (with an ever-expanding definition of who an infidel actually is). It is not a war against all muslims.

It is not our responsibility to change Islam. It is not in our interest to verbally assault anything other than the terrorists themselves. It is the terrorists and their uncivilized, brutal, and cruel slaughter who will force change in the muslim world. We can only shine a light on their activities. "See what they're doing in your name!". We can only give muslim societies hope for a better future through freedom and democracy and, yes, capitalism and trade and purchasing power. If you think muslims living in hot climates don't want their own airconditioners, think again.

With a future looking brighter but Islamist terrorists holding them back, it is inevitable that muslim societies will reject terrorism and all it stands for. If that means they must reform Islam, they will. But the point is THEY will. Not us. We can only foster conditions making it more likely they will have the will do to so.

Now consider what would happen if Bush did not 'sugarcoat' Islam? The muslim world would become even more defensive than it tends already to be. That would stop progress in its tracks.

Bush's measured words are exactly what is needed. No more. No less. No earlier.


MeaninglessHotAir said...

Wow, Syl. Great post! Completely spot on. Says it much better than I can manage. Bush the poker player knows exactly who the players are outside of the US, and that his audience in the Islamic world matters much more than his audience here. Speaking of backbiters here, why this huge urge on the "right" suddenly to hypercriticize Bush? Don't they know there's a war on?

Syl said...

They'd better remember there's a war on in 2006 and 2008.

Rick Ballard said...

Welcome, Syl.

We need to start a pool as to which pol is going to introduce the bill calling for regime change in Syria and Iran. I would love to see a "full and frank discussion" concerning the next battles prior to the beginning of festivities.

It appears that Blair is doing his part in the UK and I'm sure that Berlusconi and Howard will be along shortly. Schroeder is no longer a factor (yeah) and Chirac and Kofi are looking for 'Get Out of Jail Free' cards.

I have never thought that W would leave office without doing everything he could to shut down the mad mullahs. This speech appears to signal a strong move in that direction.

terrye said...

Syl's is here!!!!!

I did not hear the speech but I read it and I thought it was very good.

Bush was forceful but he made the point that the Muslims are vicitms of this Islamic terror as well.

And he did name it, in no uncerttain terms.

I am glad he mentioned states like Syria and Iran as well.

He also made a point of going after the Arab media.

It is interesting that he made this speech the day that Tony Blair told Iran and Hezbellah to cut it the hell out.

chuck said...

Nice posting, Syl. As Douglass said of Licoln:

Viewed from the genuine abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull, and indifferent; but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined.

Knucklehead said...


I'll just say that I agree with you. I'm a bit weary these days of folks who domestic confrontation, now, this very minute, all the time. We're the adults, we should know better.

Chuck! I have a little book of quotes by Lincoln but I'd never heard that Douglass bit about Lincoln. Can you provide some context? That is an amazingly eloquent thing to say coming from Douglass - when and where did he say it (I'm thinking eulogy, hope not).

vnjagvet said...

What a great post, Syl.

Christianity had the crusades and the inquisition. Christianity cleaned up its act, but it took a while.

Islam must do the same thing with the zealots and fools who are using its name to carry out their barbarism. Because of the weaponry potentially at the terrorist's disposal, Islam does not have as much time as Christianity did.

Knucklehead said...


why this huge urge on the "right" suddenly to hypercriticize Bush?

Probably several things at work here. One is fatigue at being out of fashion. Gives 'em something to share with their cocktail party buddies.

Another is not knowing how to act when winning because you've been losing so long and think every disappointment is a battle lost. See the behavior of the Red Sox and Boston as a whole last October. Winning wasn't enough, they wanted blood to go with it.

Yet another is that, as somebody pointed out in one of these catfights somewhere, the conservatives are now the "big tent". We're the ones with the coalition of not as like-minded as we'd like people in it. Getting on each other's nerves a bit.

And, I suppose, there's also an element of trying to draw blood from the lame duck to position for the coming battle for control.

No doubt there are other things at work. As Terrye said, it ain't pretty.

Knucklehead said...

While we're on the topic, there are reports of a credible and specific threat to NYC subways, AQ operatives dispatched to NYC, etc.

JB said...

And, I suppose, there's also an element of trying to draw blood from the lame duck to position for the coming battle for control.

McCain certainly seems to be engaging in some of that this week, with his feistyness with Meyers. Why do I get a feeling he's partly going to run on "yeah, we won, but I could have done it better" in '08.

w b h said...

Re: The Douglass quote

Knucklehead asks, "Can you provide some context? "

If I may take the liberty of answering for Chuck:

chuck said...

Smile, Syl, you're on Instapundit!

Knuck, here you go:

Oration in Memory of Abraham Lincoln.

Rick Ballard said...


McCain issued a statement of support for Miers. You'll see all the great, principled moderate and conservative Senators rolling over for a good tummy scratch fairly quickly.

The really interesting side to this is the moderate Dem position. They will have an extremely narrow and perilous path to walk.

terrye said...


If Novac is right and the Senate nixed Bush's original plan to bring up Priscilla Owens because they said they did not have the stomach for a Senate battle then I would bet McCain did support Miers.

After all he is the cheerleader of the gang of 14.

Lindsay Graham lost it with some reporter today.

He said shut up for 15 minutes and you might learn something. He also said a lot of the people running off at the mouth thought this was all about them and it was not, it was about Harriet.

I kinda got the feeling.....

JB said...


Sorry for being unclear, I meant General Meyers and his poke at Vietnam-obsessers.

I still like the Miers nomination for what it potentially accomplishes by Nov. '06, assuming she is as advertised: a somewhat soothed conservative base (enough to hold both chambers) and a ticked off LLL contingent. You're right about the moderate Dems in somewhat of a bind: they can't be throwing out litmus tests or be seen as beating up an independent, pioneering and clearly successful woman for allegedly not being upto par for SCOTUS - can you never again say "affirmative action" of any kind? W. really got them in a bind with this pick [*evil laugh*].

Rick Ballard said...


Sorry, I'm seeing Miers everywhere I look. McCain will indeed claim prescience and a long list of wouda, coulda, shouldas. That's OK, he's not going anywhere with it. I don't have a strong feeling as to who the candidate will be in '08 but I would place a substantial wager that it will not be McCain.

A smart pol would introduce regime change legislation regarding Syria and Iran tomorrow and get the fight started. I don't anticipate that any of the Seven Dwarves will do so. It doesn't poll well with the undifferentiated muddle that they believe holds the key to salvation. No vision at all.

Knemon said...

"the conservatives are now the "big tent"."

And it's better to have libertarians inside, micturating out, than vice versa.

Cuz pot makes yer pee smell funny.

Yf said...

Wow, you guys sound like the war council. You all must be so smart. Now get some cojones and sign up cuz someone's gonna have to fight your brand new war!

Syl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Syl said...


Did you know if you refrain from washing your face for a week, your pimples go away?

Rick Ballard said...


What a deeply original thought!

One can only imagine the energy that must have been generated as both synapses flared into action.

Yf said...


I'm pleasantly surprised a bunch of sycophants agreeing with each other can recognise original thought.

chuck said...


We've seen this sort of genius before. Sprouts in the yard every time it rains and the fertilizer begins to ferment.

yf said...

Enjoying yourself Chuck?

chuck said...


Was it good for you too?

Anonymous said...

Yeah it was great. Now if you excuse me I have to bolt. I wouldn't want to risk overexposure to brainwashing.

Rick Ballard said...

I can understand that. Any more shrinkage and it would take an electron microscope to find it in the dryer.

Anonymous said...

vnjagvet said...
"Christianity had the crusades and the inquisition."

Can we please get one thing clear about the Crusades? "For starters, the Crusades to the East were in every way defensive wars. They were a direct response to Muslim aggression—an attempt to turn back or defend against Muslim conquests of Christian lands." Please read your history and stop propagating what the MSM and Moslims in general want you to believe. And yes, some Crusaders were every bit as barbaric as the Moslems who invaded over the previous 5 centuries; war is hell, after all.
Read here
and here and here.

truepeers said...

How'd we get trolls already? Can we turn off anonymous comments so we can keep all the mouses straight?

Syl, great post, though for the sake of debate I'll differ a little with this:

It is not our responsibility to change Islam. It is not in our interest to verbally assault anything other than the terrorists themselves.

-it seems to me the speech was laying down some boundaries about what kind of Islam the west cannot accept, i.e. those for whom the widely-held desire for a restored Caliphate is an essential part of Islam, and perhaps more generally, those for whom Islam is as much a political as, to use our western categories, a religious movement. There are many who are not active terrorists who are Caliphascists, and coming to terms with this is not going to be as easy as saying let them find their own way to change.

In pointing out what we cannot accept, we will not exactly be actively changing Islam but forcing it to respond to our positioning in a way that will definitely influence its future shape. There is no escaping the historical dialectic, everyone has to dance with everyone else. This is a truth that predates all the religions around today.

And, when I get a moment to think this through a little, this is what I want to blog about. If anyone wants to help get it started, let's hear some ideas on how Islam can fit into some kind of new world order that is pluralistic, without being nihilist, morally relativist, or hierarchical in the sense of their being a favored faith and lesser, e.g. "dhimmi" faiths. How do we promote universal secular truths whose articulation will take us beyond the historical revelations of Islam, Christianity, etc., in ways that Moslems, Christians, etc., can accept as necessary truths that surpass the historical limits of their faiths?

Knucklehead said...

Our very first troll! I think we're ahead of schedule.

Syl said...


Excellent point. Though I'm not sure how much we can do beyond lay out the boundaries.

It all comes down to tolerance, though, I think.

The Islamists have none.

We need to have less.

MeaninglessHotAir said...


There is no escaping the historical dialectic, everyone has to dance with everyone else. This is a truth that predates all the religions around today.

Unless you murder your partner.