President Obama told members of Parliament in Turkey, a majority Muslim nation, that the U.S. “would never be at war with Islam,” said Helene Cooper in The New York Times. It was risky for the new president to drive home the point by mentioning his family ties to Islam, especially since right-wing websites have falsely called him a closet Muslim. But Obama hopes to use Turkey as an example of the kind of alliance the U.S. can strike with a Muslim country.
There’s absolutely nothing objectionable about that, said Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. What’s objectionable is the way the media treat this like “some sort of sea change for American statesmanship.” George W. Bush “emphasized friendship with Muslims from the very start of the war,” yet Bush-bashing reporters can’t stop perpetuating the myth that the former president blamed the entire Muslim world for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Come on, said Spencer Ackerman in The Washington Independent, the Bush administration made it pretty easy for al Qaida and other extremist groups to demonize America—Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo, the invasion of Iraq. Conservatives will once again say that Obama is “obsequiously” trying to curry favor with Muslim leaders, but forging relationships with Muslim nations based on “mutual respect” is a powerful counterterrorism strategy.