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RUSH: All right, Mohammed in Richmond, Virginia, you’re first as we go to the phones on Open Line Friday. Hello, sir.

CALLER: Yeah, how’s it going, Rush? I’m a big fan.

RUSH: Thank you.

CALLER: Sir, I just wanted to tell you, I’m a Muslim who studies Homeland Security at my university, and we love this country very much. I’ve been to the Middle East. I’ve lived there almost half my life, and what we don’t hear in the media is the other side of the Middle East that wants us to stay the course. Our allies in the region — Jordan, Kuwait, others, they want us to stay. They don’t want the dangers that are right now in Iraq to get exported to them because they have seen what it will do.

RUSH: Well, let me ask you this. How great of a fear in these countries, including Saudi Arabia, do you think there is and exists of Iran and its intentions? Because they’re a Muslim country as well, they’re an Islamic republic.

CALLER: Well, there’s actually a bigger scare over Iran bigger than the scare of Al-Qaeda. Like, if you remember, the only reason that the Arab countries backed up Saddam Hussein was in order to stop Iran. There’s still pictures of the late King Hussein, Saddam Hussein in the bunker looking at the bombs falling on Iran. It’s a scary thing. And Iran is not just saying, ‘Hey, you know, we want this and that.’ They are literally moving on the Gulf countries, on Bahrain, on Qatar, on all those Gulf countries.

RUSH: Yeah, and I’m sure that they’ve got their eyes on Dubai, because what the Dubai people are doing cannot possibly make the fundamentalist Islamists happy at all, catering to the wealthy of the rich, of the western cultures and so forth. Mohammed, thanks for the call. This question of moderate Muslims, it’s a challenging thing because I’ve mentioned this before about my friend Andy McCarthy who now, among many other things, writes at National Review Online. He was on the prosecution team of the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, which is Manhattan, prosecuted the blind sheik. I told this story. I’ll tell it brief here. He had to prepare to cross-examine the blind sheik, if the blind sheik took the stand. Now, he didn’t think the blind sheik would take the stand, but he had to be prepared in case. The official position of the US government back then was that there was a fringe militant extremist Islamism, and that there were moderates, and the official position of the US government was Islam is moderate.

So Andy is like: ‘Okay, I know that this guy is a nut. I know that this guy is off his rocker. So I’m going to take what I know that he has said in speeches, and I’m going to take what he has written, and I’m going to go to the Koran, and I’m going to find where he is exaggerating.’ And he couldn’t find it. Everything that the blind sheik said was in the Koran. Andy is trying to warn people today about this. This whole extreme versus moderate thing is something that we want to believe, but then on the other hand… Charlie Rose last night had Professor Fouad Ajami, who is Muslim, and he’s from Lebanon. He is one of the world’s great Middle East scholars, and he was on Charlie Rose last night, part of a panel with George Packer of The New Yorker, Al Hunt, and Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times. They were talking about the president’s speech, and I must tell you, Fouad Ajami was just terrific. He didn’t talk so much about the speech. The arguments he made — and this just had the rest of the panel stumped — the arguments he made were that America’s influence in the Middle East is stronger, post-Iraq war, that the war was a noble undertaking, and that we can succeed and that we are seeing a transformation on the ground there, that we are seeing unreported political progress from the center government.

Now, of course, the news out today, the White House has issued their report on the political progress, and they say it hasn’t been much because the last one was in July, and these guys over there took August off, like our guys do. But Fouad Ajami said there’s much more political progress in the central government in Iraq than is being reported. He called the president’s critics defeatists. I guess they now claim that he challenged their patriotism, and there was a lot more. Now, this is significant because Fouad Ajami knows the region better than almost anybody in America, including anybody in the Drive-By Media. As I say, he’s a Shi’ite Muslim from Lebanon. You’ve seen him. He’s very urbane looking, has a beard, he’s well spoken, he’s a brilliant writer, and last night he was a tiger.

The rest of these panelists were just doing the usual narrative and template of ripping Bush to shreds, and he was talking about the substance of the issue. Of course, they know Fouad Ajami. He’s one of them, and they’re acting like he’s from Mars. They’re acting like, ‘Who is this guy?’ But he knows Iraq, and he knows the Middle East far better than these clowns on the panel did. He was just there. I’ve got the specifics that he has cited on his latest trip, holding them here in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers. Now, he is Shi’ite Muslim from Lebanon, and you would have to say that he is an American. He’s in no way, shape, manner, or form out of the Islamofascist mold. So interesting, and take it for what it is. But Fouad Ajami is somebody worth listening to on this.

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