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The Decorous Silence of George F. Will

I haven't read George F. Will in a long time, but I perused his December 13 column after Paul Mirengoff singled it out on the Powerline blog in a piece headlined “Worst Column of the Year?”

What got Mirengoff going was Will's pronouncement that Donald Trump is the worst president in the history of the Republic. Why? Because Trump endorsed a “credibly accused child molester,” Roy Moore, for Senate. As Mirengoff quite rightly pointed out, whatever you may think of the admittedly execrable Roy Moore, the idea of judging a presidency by a single senatorial endorsement is absurd. (Also, as Mirengoff further noted, if endorsing a “credibly accused child molester” makes you the worst president ever, where does that leave Bill Clinton, cigar aficionado, or John F. Kennedy, who sneaked innumerable starlets, prostitutes, and at least one Mafia mistress into the White House?)

As it turned out, what got to me about Will's column was not his silliness about the Moore endorsement. No, what I found myself focusing in on was Will's reference to President Trump's re-tweeting, on November 29, of “a video of a Muslim immigrant in the Netherlands beating a young man holding crutches.” Why did Will object to the re-tweet? Because, as he observed triumphantly, it turned out that the person doing the beating wasn't an immigrant but “was born and raised in the Netherlands.” You see, after President Trump re-tweeted the video, Dutch authorities, purporting to correct him, were quick to identify the perpetrator as “a Dutch national.”

Fine. So, as it happens, was Mohammed Bouyeri, the savage who butchered Theo van Gogh on an Amsterdam street in 2004. The note Bouyeri stuck to van Gogh's body with a knife quoted extensively from the Koran and also read in part: “Islam will conquer by the blood of the martyrs. It will spread its light to every corner of this Earth and it will, if necessary, drive evil to its dark hole by the sword.” At his trial, Bouyeri made a point of telling van Gogh's mother that he had no sympathy for her, as she was nothing but an infidel.

Whether Bouyeri was born in the Netherlands or brought to the country by his Moroccan parents made no difference. What made the difference was his religion: Islam. Will is smart enough to know this. But he's also a leading member of the polite-conservative brigade, the tea-cozy crowd, which finds anything remotely approaching a forthright discussion of the Islamization of the West downright vulgar.

(I've searched all of Will's columns for the last year -- which saw, among many other terrorist events, the May bombing outside the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, the London Bridge episode in June, the August van attack in Barcelona, and the Halloween truck incident in New York City -- but none of those columns is chiefly or even largely devoted to Islam or jihad. Yes, in June of last year, he wrote a column, “In Britain, Anti-Semitism Endures,” in which he mentioned a couple of Jew-hating Muslim leaders, but he seemed exceedingly careful not to come off as pointing a finger at Islam.)