The issue can be stated in different ways.
How do you wage war on terror?
What do you do about religious murder?
No doubt during the Obama vs Romney rematch, there will be much said about the President’s speech in the Rose Garden on September 12.
Did he call the Benghazi attack terrorism or didn’t he?
Oddly enough, I think that if you were to ask both candidates why the Benghazi consulate was attacked, they would agree that the attackers were radical Islamists who hate the United States and everything it stands for.
They hate the United States because it tolerates ridicule of their prophet. Because it tolerates what the Quran brands as sin. Female immodesty. Consumption of alcohol and drugs. Homosexuality. Abortion. Gambling.
Because we are infidels. Because we are Christian. Because our religious teaching tells us to love the sinner, no matter how much we hate the sin.
After 9/11/2001, President Bush took great care to insist that Americans love and respect our Muslim brothers and sisters.
He saw what any thinking person would see, what President Obama sees, and surely what Governor Romney sees as well. A rising public animosity toward Islam.
So how do we keep the war on terror from becoming a religious crusade?
The answer is very simple. You treat Islamic terrorists exactly the same way you treat misguided Christians who murder abortionists.
By bringing them to justice. By punishing them to the full extent established by the law. By demonstrating that no amount of misdirected righteousness excuses or mitigates the killing of a human being.
Here’s where next week’s debate will get interesting. Exactly how do you do that? How do you punish terrorists?
Are there different rules for domestic and foreign terrorism?
If the terrorist kills 13 people at Fort Hood, in Texas, on American soil, do you dink around for years without even bringing him to trial because he won’t shave off his beard?
But if you find him in Pakistan or Yemen, do you just bump him off with a cadre of Navy Seals or take him out with a remote controlled drone?
If our mystical and faceless ‘intelligence community’ decides that it has identified the killers of Ambassador Stevens, do we send a detachment of CIA agents to Libya with orders to waste them?
In his Rose Garden remarks, the President said;
And make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.
And he also said:
We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to do things. Either we administer justice according to the rule of law, or we extract revenge in the manner of the Mafia.
If our Ambassador to Canada were assassinated, we would expect his killer to be prosecuted by the Canadian authorities or extradited to the United States.
If any nation refuses or neglects to protect our diplomats and our embassies, they are not our friends, and should be treated as such.
The President repeatedly urges us to ‘make no mistake.’
He should heed his own advice.