Slate's Saletan: 'ISIS and the GOP Are in Perfect Harmony'

May 20th, 2015 10:14 PM

On Tuesday, I wrote that "Every day seems to bring in at least one new example of alleged journalists who are really propagandists insisting that what is obviously false is true."

Today's entry into that category will be extremely hard to beat, and may well stand as one of the worst attempts at an argument ever made by a leftist hack. Before I excerpt William Saletan's column at Slate and his attempt to describe it in detail, I'll ratify the observation in the column's current top comment: "So during WWII, Japan said they were at war with the USA. The USA agreed. So that means we were 'sounding a lot like Japan'?"

You see, Saletan wants to frame "how to deal with terror and slaughter in the name of Islam." In his world, only Democrats are qualified to do so, because Republicans who have heard and seen the talking points of the jihadists are telling America that what the jihadists are saying is what they really believe — which makes them sound just like the jihadists themselves (bolds are mine; links are in original):

Preaching to the Choir
ISIS’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, sounds like a Republican candidate for president.

One of the hot issues in the 2016 presidential election is how to deal with terror and slaughter in the name of Islam. President Obama and Hillary Clinton refuse to call such violence Islamic. They insist that Muslims are victims, not allies, of ISIS and al-Qaida.

The Republican candidates for president say this reluctance to associate Islam with jihadi violence is naïve, wimpy, and dangerous. “We need a commander in chief who will once and for all call it what it is, and that is that radical Islamic terrorism is a threat to us all,” says Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Rick Santorum agrees: “Islam is an ideology. And we need to be honest about the American public about what the nature of our enemy really is.” Sen. Marco Rubio promises a Reaganesque crusade ...

... Republicans who talk this way think they’re being tough. In reality, however, they’re aiding the enemy. They’re doing for ISIS what they did for al-Qaida: assisting its recruitment, social media, and political strategy. Rhetorically, ISIS and the GOP are in perfect harmony.

Don’t take it from me. Take it from the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. ... Here’s what he says:

1. This is a war between Muslims and non-Muslims.

... 2. Coexistence is impossible.

... 3. Islam is a religion of war.

... 4. America doesn’t care about Muslim civilian casualties or civil liberties. Baghdadi says followers of Islam should stand with him because they can’t trust Western governments to protect their rights or spare their innocents.

... The convergence of Republican rhetoric with jihadist propaganda isn’t new. It’s been building ever since George W. Bush left the White House. Liberated from presidential responsibility, Republicans degenerated into a party that uses Islam for domestic politics instead of thinking about how their words resonate overseas. That’s how they became backup singers for Osama Bin Laden. Now they’re working for Baghdadi. Remind me again who’s naïve.

So now observing that an enemy who is killing those in other religions whenever they can and who has threatened to do the same to us is, well, killing those in other religions whenever they can and is threatening to do the same to us makes you sound just like them.

Or, to use another historical analogy, in a comment found at another blog (slightly edited): "In the same way, one might call Churchill Hitler's greatest spokesman."

Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds calls Saletan's column "perhaps the most idiotic piece on ISIS that I have ever read." It's debatable whether Reyhnolds needed to include "perhaps" or "on ISIS."

Going back to my introduction, if there's a worse example of an alleged journalist who is really a propagandist insisting that what is obviously false is true, I'm not sure I want to read it.

Cross-posted at