As any recovering alcoholic or drug addict will tell you, the first step on the road to sobriety is honesty. It can be excruciatingly difficult, but it's essential to admit your problem.
The same is true in politics and punditry.
As just one example, those of us who supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq should now admit that it was not wise to fight two wars at once, and that we misjudged the tenacity of the resistance.
Now, a dozen years later, we are faced with a truly bizarre situation in which an entire administration dishonestly refuses to acknowledge the danger of Islamist terrorism, and can't even utter the word "Islamic." Earlier this week Martha MacCallum pressed State Department spokesperson Marie Harf about the weird determination to avoid calling Islamic terror by its name. "We're going to focus on all the different kinds of extremism," Harf replied. What on earth is she talking about? Presbyterian extremism?
It has become very clear to any fair-minded American that there is something sorely wrong with the Obama team's view of the threat from radicalized Muslims. From the moment the president took office, there has been a child-like view that certain words, even certain thoughts, must be avoided at all costs. As if that will make the hate-filled jihadists eventually like us.
The media are too often complicit in this blatant dishonesty. The new cover of Charlie Hebdo magazine has a cartoon drawing of Mohammed shedding a tear and holding a sign. There is nothing sexual or scattalogical or obviously offensive. But you didn't see that relatively innocuous cover in the pages of the New York Times, nor did you see it on CNN or MSNBC. Fox News aired the image for a very simple reason – it is news, big news, the biggest story of the week. It was shown not to deliberately offend, but to inform and illuminate FNC viewers.
Liberal outfits like the New York Times claim they don't run "incendiary images" that might insult millions of people. Do you recall those same outlets being circumspect about the "work of art" that depicted Jesus on a crucifix dunked in urine? How about the painting of the Virgin Mary splattered with elephant dung? Those images were prominently displayed all over newspapers and TV, even cited as examples of the media's "bravery."
Media types also worry that speaking too harshly about Islam will unfairly tarnish hundreds of millions of peaceful, decent Muslims. There was no similar worry about tarnishing Catholics when reporting on the priest pedophile scandals. News flash for the news business: There is absolutely nothing brave about mocking Catholics, who tend to fight back with words, not scimitars and AK-47s. Nor is it particularly courageous to worry about a "backlash" against Muslims that never seems to occur. And really, it doesn't require stones of steel to show an image the entire world is talking about.
There's one more very interesting aspect to this entire episode. A central tenet of leftism is that America bears much responsibility for global terror. Long before Iraq and Gitmo and Abu Ghraib, we got into the oil business with thugs and dictators and sheiks. But that is a ridiculously simplistic rationale for cold-blooded terrorism. The USA also sided with some unsavory hombres in South America and other parts of the world, but those people aren't blowing up children, knocking down buildings, and slaughtering cartoonists.
Right now there is a war between modern civilization and Islamic jihadists. The battlegrounds aren't just the badlands of Pakistan and terrorist training camps in Yemen, but also the streets of Paris and Boston. It seems elementary that one aspect of any war is honestly identifying the enemy. It's a necessary step on the path to victory. That's the honest truth. Just ask any recovering addict.