In Rebuttal: Islamic fascists vs. Islam itself

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In response to the Sept. 1 Post-Gazette editorial "Loose Talk: The Bush Rhetoric on Iraq Is Sounding Desperate"

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The editorial board of the Post-Gazette is so eager to criticize me, it cannot be bothered to listen to my words. Six weeks ago, long before Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld used the phrase, I spoke extensively about Islamic fascism at the National Press Club in Washington. I said I believe we are at war with Islamic fascists and I singled out Iran and Syria as examples of Islamic fascist regimes. Many Muslims say the same thing, and the editors should, too, for it is undeniable.

Contrary to what the editors assert, my focus was on our enemies in this war -- not all Islamic nations, and most certainly not Islam itself. While the editors rightly observe that several Islamic nations, such as Egypt, Jordan, Indonesia and Malaysia, have supported us (and they could have added others, such as Morocco and Tunisia), it is entirely misleading for them to suggest that I disagree. The editors, not I, are guilty of lumping all Muslim nations in a single category.

I am proud to have singled out tyrannical and fanatical Islamic regimes and identified them for what they are: Islamic fascist states that are the world's leading supporters of terrorism. It does no service to the great majority of the world's Muslims to appease such regimes, which have killed and tortured hundreds of thousands of decent Muslims for the "crime" of challenging oppression and calling for freedom.

The editorial writers seem to believe that criticism of any Muslim is a criticism of Islam itself, a gross and dangerous oversimplification right out of the pages of George Orwell. For my part, I have taken great care to distinguish between the Islamic fascists who are trying to destroy us (and dominate and oppress their fellow Muslims) and the hundreds of millions of Muslims who wish to be free to follow the guidance of their own good judgment.

There are other Orwellian themes in the editorial: I have never claimed that someone who believes we must pull our troops out of Iraq is a "traitor who does not really love freedom." I disagree with the advocates of "cut and run," but I think they are wrong, not traitorous, and I hope to convince the people of Pennsylvania that I am right. I am engaged in an honest debate, while the editorial writers are conducting a smear campaign based on distortions of my words.

I have said time and time again across Pennsylvania these past weeks that the fight against Islamic fascism is the great test of our generation. Leaders are obliged to articulate this threat and to propose what is necessary to defeat it. That is my purpose, and our national calling. The American people have always rallied to the cause of freedom once they understood what was at stake. I have no doubt that they will again.



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