THE SPINE MAY 29, 2010
Jane Perlez of the New York Times reported that "in an unusually strong statement," Anne W. Patterson, our ambassador to Pakistan, which is "an ally of the United States," sort of, said that the country "had witnessed an increase in 'provocative statements that promote intolerance and are an incitement to extremist violence'." How much nicer it would have been if the intolerance had incited only moderate violence.
Anyway, the president prefers the phrase "extremist violence," as I pointed out the day before yesterday. So that's how it's described. In fact, no Muslims were involved, either among the victims or the killers. You see, the Ahmadis, a small minority sect of two million in Pakistan (with exiles in America), are no longer legally a part of Islam, having been ejected during the regime of the "violent extremist" Muhammad Zia ul-Haq. So, actually, this was a Muslimless exchange.
I know this is hard to grasp. But, since last week, when the Obama administration purged "Muslim extremist" and "Islamic terrorist" from the vernacular, the only use of "Muslim" permissible is the president's nice and peaceful litany: "Christians and Muslims, Hindus and Jews." Please don't be a nudnik and ask why the Jews come last. OK, be a nudnik and ask. But I'm not falling for the trap: let someone else answer.
The Taliban terrorists -oops, I dare not use that word, dare I?- included two who blew themselves up in one mosque and five heavily armed men who divided themselves between that mosque and another. The fighting lasted three hours at one place of worship, one hour at the other.
Why is the president trying to impose an Orwellian transaction on what is the real world of meaning? Maybe it's to persuade himself that Islam is an order of peace. Alas, it is not an order of peace. Neither his diplomacy nor his warmaking will succeed if he insists on acting as if it is.