Saturday, September 23, 2006



President Bush spoke to the United Nations General Assembly on September 19, 2006. I caught his speech on MPR. One line in particular struck me. He said:

"This morning I want to speak about the more hopeful world that is within our reach, a world beyond terror, where ordinary men and women are free to determine their own destiny, where the voices of moderation are empowered, and where the extremists are marginalized by the peaceful majority."

(Emphasis mine. The full text of the speech is at The New York Times online.)

I believe that extremists become terrorists precisely because they are marginalized. (This does not excuse their horrific behavior, but it certainly does explain things.) What passes for the peaceful majority may not be so peaceful. How many of those peaceful majority are squishing and squeezing the extremists until they can't stand it any more? Through his inadvertent choice of the word "marginalized," Bush identified the current state of affairs.

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