‘They started it’

‘THEY STARTED IT’…. “Fox & Friends” is often a source of unintentional comedy, but one of Steve Doocy’s gems from yesterday was one of my favorites in a long while.

At issue is the use of U.S. military rifle scopes featuring inscriptions with New Testament citations. The scopes are obviously problematic, not only on church-state grounds, but for undermining the American position that our conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq are not about religion. Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation told ABC, “It allows the Mujahedeen, the Taliban, al Qaeda and the insurrectionists and jihadists to claim they’re being shot by Jesus rifles.”

The Biblical scopes, in other words, undermine our national security interests. Steve Doocy, however, relying on elementary-school logic, has a powerful rejoinder.

“My wife made a good observation yesterday when we were talking about this story, and that is, ‘Hey, wait a minute, the Taliban and the extremists — what is it they say just before they blow themselves up which kills somebody, they say, ‘Allahu Akbar.” So if anybody’s making this a religious thing, they started it,” Doocy said.

I’d like to think the flawed judgment here is obvious, but just in case, let’s spell it out — we’re supposed to be better than the terrorists. It doesn’t matter who “started it”; it matters that we hold ourselves to a higher standard than the Taliban.

Doocy’s argument, while foolish, is not especially unique. In the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal and throughout the “debate” on the merit of torture, it was fairly common to hear Republican activists on Fox News and elsewhere argue that terrorists torture those they capture, so there’s no reason we should remove the torture option from the table.

Putting Americans on the same moral plane as terrorists just doesn’t seem to bother the right as much as it should.