By Marta Mossburg
— We have come a long way since Sept. 11, 2001.
We fought two wars ostensibly to protect freedom at home for Americans, promote it in two countries, and to make the world safer - and achieved none of those goals.
A few examples: In the United States, officials blamed an anti-Muslim video for killing Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others, not Al Qaeda linked terrorists as evidence immediately made clear. He was the first U.S. ambassador killed in office since 1979.
The noose of political correctness prevents government officials from labeling the 13 murders of people at Fort Hood in Texas by Maj. Nidal Hasan an act of terror. Witnesses to the slaughter said Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar!" ("God is Great!") before opening fire. The Obama administration classifies the assault as "workplace violence."
And those who point out acts of Islamic extremism, as Pamela Geller did in transit ads across the country, quoting the Quran and terrorists' definitions of jihad, are labeled "racist." Geller, author of Stop the Islamization of America, is no stranger to controversy. She is known primarily for her opposition to the Ground Zero mosque and for her transit ads.
A sample: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."
Jarring, yes. But should she have had to sue the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other cities to run them? Isn't this America?
And then there is the Patriot Act, passed six weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, which makes it much easier for the government to spy on citizens.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of U.S. troops have died only to have Islamic law largely govern those lands.
The 9/11 mastermind, Osama Bin Laden, may be dead, but Al Qaeda has not gone away and Afghanistan is one of the most hostile countries for women. Girls are forced into plural marriages, women are killed for "honor" and frequently raped with impunity.
In response to Afghan troops murdering U.S. soldiers, the Pentagon ordered Islamic sensitivity training. Among the rules: soldiers must not show the bottom of their boots when sitting across from a Muslim, blow their nose, or offer or accept anything with their left hand, as if violating any of those codes deserves death. Remind me why we are over there again?
Meanwhile, Americans across the country are treated to ads by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an influential Muslim advocacy group, declaring jihad as American as apple pie.
The ads, launched in Chicago in December and soon to be seen on buses and trains across the country, mainly feature young women. They include, "My jihad is to not judge people by their cover," "My jihad is to build friendships across the aisle," and "My jihad is to always pursue new ideas and conquer new challenges."
Personally, I think the ads would have a lot more credibility if they instead said, "My jihad is ensuring that no one is jailed in Iran for being a Christian" or "My jihad is lobbying the Saudi Arabian government so that women can drive" or "My jihad is preventing honor killings in Afghanistan."
But as evidenced by the millions of Muslims who live peacefully in the United States, the ads above ring true. That does not mean, however, Americans should be labeled racists for talking about the darker side of jihad practiced by Al Qaeda and others who wish to annihilate Americans.
CAIR can call Geller's ads "hate speech" and say what it wants. The First Amendment protects its speech. But Geller should also have the right to speak her mind without having to sue to gain access to public billboards or for them to be defaced constantly as has been the case. It is in everybody's best interest.
America does not need any more mosques burned as in Joplin, Mo., Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Toledo, Ohio, or more Americans killed overseas.
Silence - through political correctness or fear - only gives those who commit terror at home and abroad a stronger voice.
- Marta H. Mossburg is an independent columnist. Contact her at email@example.com.