Words have consequences. Making the War in Iraq a religious war is one way to make certain of losing.

“We’re going to go to Iraq and kill those guys who worship Allah.” Yes, Mr. President, that’s what “crusade” means.

I’m glad the dumbass sergeant who said that in speech to a group of recruits including Muslims brought into the army as combat interpreters got dinged for it. (Had he been a general, he probably would have been promoted instead.)

But I’d be gladder if he hadn’t said it, or if I thought he hadn’t spoken the thought of so many of his superiors, all the way up the chain of command, or if religious bigotry wasn’t being promoted at the Air Force Academy with the passive assent of the Administration and the active help of the majority party in Congress.

This isn’t being reported by people who “hate America.” It’s being reported by men wearing the uniform of the United States Army, and catching sh*t for it from both sides.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: