PASADENA, CA. – Former governor Howard Dean (D-VT) was on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning as news of a terrorist led massacre broke in France. Twelve employees of Charlie Hedbo, a notoriously controversial Parisian newspaper, were murdered in their office building as they gathered for a staff meeting. The paper is most well known for publishing cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet Mohammed, a practice strictly forbidden in Muslim culture.
When the camera turned to Dean, he said that he “stopped calling terrorists Muslims a long time ago”. Viewers who were only half paying attention to Dean’s comments, a common occurrence, might assume that Dean was making the very pedestrian point that terrorists don’t accurately represent Islam. Those who didn’t tune out after he said that were greeted with the second part which made it very clear that he was not simply saying not all Muslims are bad.
Dean went on to say that the terrorists are “about as Muslim as I am”.
Rather than strongly defend free speech or speak about the brutal murder of these innocent victims, Dean decided to immediately take the focus off of Islam. Why? For starters, it doesn’t fit with the media narrative that Middle East intervention is a critical aspect of American foreign policy. It wasn’t long ago that President Obama was declaring that Al Qaeda was “on the run”. The recent beheading in Oklahoma, Parliament attack in Ottawa, Boston bombing attack, and the rapid growth of ISIS says otherwise.
Don’t forget, Obama also failed to refer to the murder of Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens as a terrorist attack when it clearly was. That refusal earned him a four Pinocchio rating from the Washington Post fact checkers.
These statements represent a growing trend among liberals to frantically blame everyone else except Muslims for atrocities carried out by Muslims. No rational person believes that all 1.6 billion Muslims are terrorists or even that all Muslims support terrorism but the Left has hijacked the conversation about terrorism to the point where any criticism of Islam is an example of bigotry. Case in point, the recent exchange between Bill Maher and Ben Affleck where the popular movie star came unglued at the mere suggestion that Islam is not a peaceful religion.
It is a shame that the left wing media has polarized the Islamic extremism issue to this degree. This is the new norm and the engrained talking points are that terrorists have little to nothing to do with Muslims and Islam is a peaceful religion no matter how many thousands of people are brutally murdered by those who claim to represent it.
There is a very vocal effort by Democrats to shift the blame away from Islam and place it on military intervention in the Middle East (Republicans). It can be found everywhere you look. Obama’s foreign policy “apology” tour in 2009, blaming the Benghazi attack on a YouTube video, the liberal implication that CIA “torture” practices were partially to blame for terrorism, the list of examples goes on and on.
Islam is never the problem as far as the media is concerned. The problem is always America and the people who “provoke” the terrorists. Look no further than a Time article immediately following the 2011 fire bombing of the same newspaper that was attacked today. The article essentially blamed the magazine for antagonizing the terrorists. That same stance was echoed by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney who “questioned the judgement” of publishing the cartoon which was used as justification for the attack.
Current Press Secretary Josh Earnest essentially made the same comment this morning. Why in the world would those words ever be spoken? Questioning the decision to express freedom of speech can only be interpreted as a rationalization for murderers taking innocent lives over a cartoon. Period.
The North Korean hacking situation surrounding Sony reminds us that we have set a very dangerous precedent on many occasions that free speech is not as important as yielding to the radical views of terrorists. Liberals are responsible for spreading a doctrine of blaming western values when these horrific attacks take place instead of rallying around those who are being attacked. Of course not all Democrats are guilty of this, but the list of guilty parties grows every time an attack takes place.
Howard Dean is misguided if he thinks that critics of radical Islam think that all Muslims are terrorists. He is also incorrect if he thinks he is just as much of a Muslim as those who murder innocent people. Furthermore, he is contributing to a very problematic world view that downplays the relationship between Islam and terrorism. Immediately blaming the victim in situations like this is not only intellectually dishonest, it’s dangerous.