Vail Daily column: Words mean everything, or nothing |

Vail Daily column: Words mean everything, or nothing

I am fascinated by how some of you interpret these words that were said on TV:

“I want to speak tonight directly to Muslims around the world. We respect your faith. It’s practiced freely by many millions of Americans and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teaching are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah. The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying in effect to hijack Islam itself. The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends, it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them.”

Powerful words said by a powerful man.

Yet it appears there are a few of you out there in Happy Valley that could not disagree more.

“Obama is a traitor and a socialist Muslim!” you shout. “He loves Muslims and hates Christians and Israel!”

I hear it and see it every day.

Some even go full-goose Giuliani and scream, “Obama doesn’t love America!”

Tell me, do you really want the leader of the free world to publicly announce a specific war against over one billion specific people?

Americans everywhere, but especially abroad, would be in ten times the danger we already are, and all so a small minority of overly macho gun-wielding rednecks could lock-n-load on Facebook and FOX News to prove what tough guys they are. They want to race over to the Middle East with guns blazing to “kill ‘em all,” but from the comfort of their keyboard while sitting on the couch eating Cheetos and slamming PBR.

Come on people, words are important.

ISIS wants so desperately to convince the world that America is at war with their religion because that is the only way they can recruit young and naive ideologues to come die for their cause. The leaders stay alive and gain power while the younger idiots either kill innocent people, blow themselves to bits, or in most cases, both.

ISIS frantically needs legitimacy from the Muslim world, and that will only occur if the most powerful government on the planet validates their mission by declaring war against an entire belief system.

The proper strategy is to not do so.

The world is not fighting Islamic extremism, but it certainly is fighting religious extremism of all flavors. While silly beliefs in supernatural worlds is not the direct cause for terrorism, it is the tool most often used to rationalize horrific acts against fellow man. But while we’re sadly years away from eradicating irrational thought based on Iron Age goat herders, we must come together as a resilient coalition of nations to eliminate these truly evil and delusional extremists.

Oh, and those powerful opening words from the powerful man about how terrorists are the enemy and not Muslims, they are a direct quote from George W. Bush in October 2001.

The irony is killing me.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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