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12/12/02 - DEFENDING ISLAM - 2002-12-17

The war against global terrorism is not a war against the Muslim faith. It is a war against evil. “The enemy of America,” said President George W. Bush, “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.”

On at least six occasions in recent years, the U.S. has gone into battle or commenced humanitarian operations on behalf of populations that were predominantly Muslim. This was true when Kuwait was invaded by Iraq in 1990. The next year, a U.S.-led coalition defeated Iraq in the Gulf War and liberated Kuwait.

After the Gulf War, the U.S. and Britain established the northern and southern no-fly zones to protect Kurdish, Turkmen, and Shia Muslim minorities from being attacked by the Iraqi military’s helicopter gunships.

Since 1991, there has been civil conflict in Somalia. Strife and drought have led to famine. The U.S. has helped the predominantly Muslim population of Somalia by providing food and development aid and by working with Somalia to bring peace and establish governance.

In Europe, the U.S. has come to the aid of Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina and has supported a NATO-led peacekeeping force there since 1995. Beginning in 1995, the U.S. has supported a NATO-led peacekeeping force in Bosnia. The U.S. has also helped to rescue, as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz said, “the Muslims of Kosovo...from a genocidal dictator,” Slobodan Milosevic.

Another case, said Mr. Wolfowitz, “is that of the Muslims of Afghanistan, who were suffering horribly under a fanatical regime run by the Taleban, and who have clearly been liberated by our actions. We were also acting on behalf of American interests.” But, said Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz, “the fact is that frequently our military has been an instrument of liberation for Muslim people or the reduction of suffering for Muslim people.” And as Mr. Wolfowitz said, “The same could be true if it has to come to the use of force in Iraq.”