No, I’m not talking about the absurd emails that are circulating suggesting that Obama is a Muslim. (So what if he were?) Instead, I’m talking about Obama’s own negative politicking on something too sensitive to be treated as standard campaign demagoguery.
Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama are slugging it out in the press today over who has the better vision for protecting the nation from terrorism. The point of contention, at least in today’s dispute, is whether the Supreme Court was in the right to declare habeas corpus rights for terrorists. John McCain asserts that terrorists are not criminals, American citizens accused of breaking the law, but are enemy combatants engaged in warfare against the United States. Thus, habeas corpus does not apply. Obama suggests that terrorists are indeed criminals and deserve the standard protections of liberty and due process that any accused citizen (or alien on American soil) deserves until proven guilty.
Here’s where Obama stepped in it though: He claimed that by holding terrorists at Guantanamo, the United States gives a “huge boost to terrorist recruitment in countries that say, ‘Look, this is how the United States treats Muslims.’ ”
How the United States treats Muslims? The United States treats Muslims the same way it treats Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, and every other faith.
Now, terrorists? Yes, we do treat them differently – regardless of whether they are Muslim, Christian, Buddhist or whatever.
It is reckless and shameful for a candidate who wants to lead this nation, and presumably defend it from future terrorists attacks, to promote the notion that America targets Muslims – a people of a particular faith – by stripping them of their rights and throwing them into prison.
That is not my country, and it is certainly not the country Obama wants to lead.
Obama and his campaign supporters may claim that he is not making that assertion but that he is merely pointing out that others will make it. That’s kind of like the Clinton campaign claiming they never said Obama had to answer for his youthful drug use but were merely pointing out that Republicans would raise the issue.
There are legitimate arguments to be made, on both sides, over the controversial matter of Guantanamo Bay. However, giving any legitimacy whatsoever to the notion that America is treating Muslims this way is beyond the pale. As Muslims will tell you: Those individuals who would kill the innocent aren’t Muslims; they are terrorists.