Saturday, May 17, 2008


On Monday the New York Times published a really slimy op-ed by Edward Luttwak, a military historian, in which he argues that, under Islamic law, Barack Obama, as the son of a father who left Islam, is himself regarded as an apostate and is, therefore, a pariah in the Muslim world. His ostensible purpose in discussing this matter is to counter the argument made by many Obama supporters (including the TBC) that Obama's status as the son of a Kenyan immigrant would help him repair the Bush-inflicted damage on the United States' reputation in the Islamic world and the Third World generally. Its real purpose is to reinforce, under a legitimate guise, the whispering campaign that Obama is a Muslim.

Luttwak's argument reminded me of the arguments made against a Catholic president back when Kennedy was running: "The papal bull of 1876 says that Catholics must do whatever the pope says, therefore Senator Kennedy as President would transfer the gold in Fort Knox to the Vatican," ignoring the fact that Kennedy was a pragmatic American politician who simply did not take his religion all that seriously. Similarly, Luttwak seems to assume that, because some Muslim religious text urges the punishment of apostates unto the last generation, the world's Muslims, faced with President Obama, will, instead of thanking Allah that the Americans have come their senses and elected a president who is not a trigger-happy fool, launch a fatwa against him because his grandfather, whom he never met, may have practiced Islam. Does that make any sense in the real world?

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