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Bill O’Reilly is the new “leader” in the “holy war” against ISIS

Last night, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly finally gave ISIS what it wants: a declaration that the West and Middle East are, indeed, in a holy war.

In a segment titled, “The Holy War Begins,” O’Reilly used the recent murders of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians to slam President Obama’s approach to ISIS, and quoted a list of religious leaders, including Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who warned that ISIS threatens “civilization, everything that is decent and noble about humanity. It is a worldwide crisis that cannot, must not, be ignored.”

O’Reilly then ran through the gamut of this week’s right-wing complaints about Obama. These ranged from critiques of the State Department’s Marie Harf’s statement that ISIS cannot be defeated solely with military means, to a bizarre critique that the White House somehow did not recognize that the 21 Egyptians murdered by terrorists were Christian. He concluded with the statement that “the Holy War is here and unfortunately it seems the president will be the last one to acknowledge it.”

His comments seem to be the climax of weeks of agitation from Fox News and other right-wing commentators about Obama avoiding the phrase “Islamic extremism” when talking about ISIS and other terrorists. “Say it, Obama, ‘Islamic,’” instructed Fox News contributor Michael Goodwin. Fox contributor Todd Starnes invoked the biblical “Lake of Fire” in counter-terrorism strategy. Christian evangelist Franklin Graham appeared on Greta Van Susteren’s show to explain that Obama just had too much affinity for Islam:

His mother was married to a Muslim, his father was a Muslim. Then she married a man from Indonesia. He was raised in Indonesia. Went to Islamic schools. I assume she was a Muslim. So his whole life, his experiences have been surrounded by Islam. He only knows Islam. And he has given a pass to Islam. He is refusing to understand the evil that is in front of him

What O’Reilly and others at Fox seem to be missing is that there’s a pretty good reason no world leader here in the West or in the Middle East has accepted the frame that we’re in a “holy war”: it’s exactly what ISIS wants. In November 2014, ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi declared in a televised address that “fighting is obligatory upon each individual” Muslim, and referred to the United States and allied forces as “crusaders”—invoking the imagery of a holy war like those fought between the Church and Muslim empires centuries ago.

In other words, the Fox crowd wants Americans to feel this is a conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims—ignore for a second that ISIS is being fought by the Muslim Syrian army, Iranian military, Hezbollah, Free Syrian Army, Iraqi Army, Lebanese Army, Egyptian Army, UAE Army, Jordanian military, and others who share the Islamic faith—and ISIS’ leaders also want their base to feel like this is a conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims.

So Fox News and ISIS share at least one goal: a holy war between Islam and the West. Sadly for them, most people in both places aren’t biting.

Credit: Raw Story

The story continues with Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks attacking Bill O’Reilly for this type of rhetoric. Cenk explains that the U.S. has launched over 2,000 airstrikes against ISIS (more than anyone else) and for the right-wing that isn’t enough. Cenk praises Marie Harf (Deputy Spokesperson for the US Department of State) for explaining how this war needs to be fought and how it also shouldn’t be fought. War is messy and horrible, but that doesn’t mean that we have to resort to the horrible and messy lifestyle of war. Harf says that you can’t kill your way out of this and military experts that are not on Fox News have agreed to that statement. Harf also says that the root causes have to be investigated on why people, especially at young ages, join terror groups. Cenk then goes into what Bill O’Reilly talked about on his opening Talking Points Memo segment.

O’Reilly calls for Obama to step in when he President Obama has already launched over 2,000 airstrikes against the group. It is true that ISIS is now expanding into other countries in the Middle East with people creating groups pledging allegiance to the central command of ISIS in both Syria and Iraq. The AUMF that Obama asked Congress to approve states that the conflict against ISIS is not limited to Iraq or Syria. It could expand to Afghanistan (which it has because an U.S. airstrike killed an ISIS commander in Afghanistan), Pakistan (led by the Afghan ISIS group), Egypt, Libya (City of Derna), Algeria, and Yemen. O’Reilly is wrong that military operation alone can defeat the group. He calls for the world to be united against the group. But since he is on Fox “News” he most likely didn’t mention the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism.

Cenk explains that the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 led to a much bigger conflict than it was intended because we wanted to give the Shia power and the Sunnis attacked us, then the Shias attacked us and each other. ISIS which was Al Qaeda in Iraq originally came as a result of the invasion of Iraq and O’Reilly thinks more war can solve this which isn’t the way to do it.

Cenk Uygur also explains the trap that ISIS is using to get us.

And Fox attacks the Obama administration for calling out Fox News for the extreme hype on the ISIS threat when they claim that Obama has not done anything against the terror group.

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One Response to “Bill O’Reilly is the new “leader” in the “holy war” against ISIS”

  1. […] warrior”, “crusader-general” for the “War on Christmas” and “Holy Warrior” for the Fox News Channel. In his Talking Points Memo opening on March 9 which was […]

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