Throughout all of Monday and into this morning, MSNBC had done what the Obama White House has refused: correctly identify the 21 men beheaded at the hands of ISIS as Christians. During Monday’s primetime hours, anchors Ed Schultz and Chris Matthews would reveal an even wider (and completely unexpected) break with Obama.
It is not difficult to imagine the self-righteous frenzy that would be taking place across the left-wing MSNBC and the even more left-wing CNN had Bill O’Reilly, Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, or anyone who ever admitted to enjoying an episode of “Duck Dynasty” declared that the war with ISIS is a “religious war.” Lucky for MSNBC’s Ed Schultz he is MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, because that is exactly what he said Monday.
The weekend beheading of 21 innocent Egyptian Coptic Christians at the hands of ISIS, and the White House’s utter military and rhetorical fecklessness in the face of this atrocity, appears to be too much water for even Ed Schultz to carry. Schultz not only broke with the White House by correctly identifying the war with ISIS as a “religious war,” he criticized the White House’s latest war plan, which foolishly assures ISIS we won’t use ground troops.
Good for Ed Schultz. If there was ever a time for moral clarity, this is it. And he showed some:
ED SCHULTZ: It was a weekend of terror around the globe. In Libya, ISIS released a video showing more bloodshed. The video released on Sunday claims to show the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians. The brutal act of violence is clearly a gross display of what ISIS is capable of, what they’re motivated about, and what they are really all about. And I think this act of mass murder amounts to a religious war. Now we all have our own interpretations at this point. This continues to go on. At this point these people were targeted, as I see it, and murdered because of their faith . . . As I see it, the United States is going to have to have continual reviewal [sic] of its strategy. We can’t sit back here and watch hordes of people get their heads cut off. And why would we tell ISIS there’s no way we would ever put ground troops in combat situations? I think it has reached a point where we really have to have a very strong debate in this country. As I see it, it’s a religious war. What is going to turn back ISIS?
Later that same evening, Chris Matthews could barely contain his disgust during an interview with State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf. All Matthews wanted to hear from his government was how we are going to stop these barbarians. Harf’s response, that we need to find ISIS jobs instead of killing them, was as frightening as it was surreal:
Transcript via The Right Scoop:
MATTHEWS: Are we killing enough of them?
HARF: We’re killing a lot of them and we’re going to keep killing more of them. So are the Egyptians, so are the Jordanians. They’re in this fight with us. But we cannot win this war by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war. We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs, whether —
MATTHEWS: We’re not going to be able to stop that in our lifetime or fifty lifetimes. There’s always going to be poor people. There’s always going to be poor Muslims, and as long as there are poor Muslims, the trumpet’s blowing and they’ll join. We can’t stop that, can we?
HARF: We can work with countries around the world to help improve their governance. We can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people…
In his closing editorial, Let Me Finish, Matthews called for action against ISIS and said that “America, our country, is being morally humiliated.” Sounding like an interventionist Neocon, Matthews said that America has a moral duty to protect these innocents from ISIS:
“Some of these [ISIS victims] must have, in their last moments, been wondering if there’s any chance the people of the United States might be coming to their rescue,” Matthews said. “Because that was how we were taught we conduct ourselves. We don’t leave people behind.”
John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC