THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS NOT MY FRENEMY
By Todd Hartley
OK, folks. We’re going to venture into the deep end of the pool on the this one, so there are some things I need to mention before we get started. Otherwise certain people might take some of the things I’m about to say the wrong way. If you know me, you know how much I hate to ruffle feathers, so I’m going to begin with a couple of disclaimers.
First, I’m sure the overwhelming majority of Muslims – here, in the Middle East and everywhere else – are honest, peaceful, decent people just trying to get by in an increasingly difficult world. I’ve been told this is the case plenty of times, and I believe it. I harbor no anti-Muslim bias, and I would like nothing more than to see all of those people living in peace and happiness.
I’m equally sure that the overwhelming majority of Americans feel about Muslims pretty much the same way I do. Or at least they did until al-Qaeda started a war with us. Most people I know would have no more problem with your average, everyday Muslim than they would anyone of any other faith. And the Americans who would have a problem with a Muslim have problems with everyone who’s not exactly like them, so it’s not as if Muslims are being singled out.
With that being said, we will now delve into the delicate part of this diatribe.
A few days ago, I read a story on the Internet about how al-Qaeda was accusing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of lying and spreading “conspiracy theories” about what really happened on 9/11. Apparently, in his speech before the United Nations earlier in the week, Ahmadinejad claimed the World Trade Center towers could not have been taken down by airplanes. I’m not sure how anyone knew he said that, as most of the delegates walked out during Ahmadinejad’s speech, but someone must have noted it.
In response, an al-Qaeda-linked online publication called Inspire ran a story written by someone in Yemen saying that Ahmadinejad was basically full of Shinola. His take on the matter, the article claimed, stood “in the face of all logic and evidence.” This sort of response might have been expected, though, since Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, and al-Qaeda, which is fiercely Sunni, hate each other almost as much as they both hate us.
Anyway, I read the story, and the first thing that went through my mind was: “Good. Let those lunatics go to war with one another and leave us the hell alone.” And here’s the thing: I don’t think I’d be wrong if I guessed that most Americans like me, who harbor no ill will toward Muslims in general, feel exactly the same way.
Do we want war in Iran and the Middle East? No. We want everyone to find a peaceful solution to the problems plaguing that region. Do we want innocent civilians to be killed in the inevitable crossfire a war would cause? Of course not. But do we want extremists who would kill those innocent civilians to wipe themselves out on both sides? You better believe it.
Besides, as sad as this is to say, it’s not like all that many more innocent civilians would be killed during an Iran/al-Qaeda war than are dying already.
That’s what I can’t figure out about al-Qaeda. They claim they fight for Muslim people, and they’re opposed to any American presence in the Middle East. Yeah? Well, since the events of 9/11, which al-Qaeda was responsible for, America’s presence in the region is infinitely larger, and millions of Muslims have died violently, most of them at the hands of other Muslims. Even the most uneducated moron living in a cave should be able to see the contradiction there.
Look, Muslims in the Middle East, Americans of all walks of life are fed up with religious extremism, as I imagine you are, as well. But we’re not the ones who are really suffering because of it. Sure, we have to take our shoes off at the airport, but millions of us aren’t dying violently.
The United States has proven, over the course of two fruitless wars, that we can’t stop extremists from operating and killing innocent people. We can’t do it. Only you can, other Muslims. Reject American influence as much as you want. I encourage you to do so. But fight the poison attitudes that lead to all this violence. Believe me, you’re the ones who have the most at stake.
Todd Hartley witnessed the events of 7-11, which included him downing a microwave chimichanga and a Super Big Gulp of grape soda.