I forgot who it was that coined that snide nickname. But it may live on in eternal memory if Madeline Albright keeps issuing top-ten lists for future presidents like this. Where to begin? A farrago of common sense shot through with nonsense. Probably this is enough:
attack Al Qaeda at its weakest point. These terrorists are not warriors but murderers who kill the unarmed, children, and Muslims. They offer no vision for the future except the sword. They should not be accused of Islamic terrorism for their crimes are profoundly un-Islamic. As president, you should make reference frequently and with favor to the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition.
Obviously one can be a terrorist and a warrior at the same time, though this escapes Albright’s attempt at clean thinking. She’s just wrong about these guys, wrong by design. ‘The sword’ is their vision for the present. Sharia law is their vision for the future. There is, sure enough, a lot of rhetorical ground to be gained by pointing out the likelihood that savagery is heretical to Islam. But that kind of battle of words takes place on some very gray terrain. Literalist fundamentalism has been used heretically before, as Christian history suggests well enough. But that history also reveals how literalist fundamentalism is a powerful tool against those branded heretics, too. Whereas Albright will stop at nothing to avoid ‘conflating’ warriors and terrorists, she dutifully conflates fundamentalists and heretics to preserve the integrity of political prescriptions that appear to have predated her argument.
At a minimum, it’s one thing to insist that executing female civilians and eating children is un- and anti-Islamic, and quite another to tout an enduring ‘Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition‘ that strains the credulity even of scholars. But, sorry, this is a tip sheet for Presidents, after all.