Jon Schwarz is editor of MichaelMoore.com and was research producer for 'Capitalism: A Love Story.' He's also contributed to the New Yorker, New York Times, Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, Slate, Saturday Night Live and NPR.
After Michael Adebolajo decapitated Lee Rigby on May 22nd, he stood on the streets of Woolwich and told the Western world that "you lot are extrem[ists]."
More than most Americans, I'm open to hearing this perspective. The $4 trillion invasion of Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands of people, all based on lies – I feel that was pretty extreme. Torture in a worldwide network of secret prisons – also extreme. President Obama claiming the right to murder U.S. citizens with flying killer robots – extreme.
Yet I can't help questioning Adebolajo's belief that he was the ideal spokesman to bring this message to humanity. I don't know, it's hard to put my finger on exactly why, but maybe it's the way he was carrying a hatchet and literally covered in blood.
I suspect this is how most of the world's Muslims look at Tony Blair's new declaration that the Islamic world is full of "extremists."
It's not that most Muslims necessarily disagree. They hate and fear people like Adebolajo who slaughter people in the name of Islam – just like I hate and fear George W. Bush for invading Iraq because God told him to, due to something or other involving Gog and Magog.
At the same time, Muslims likely are puzzled by Tony Blair's conviction that he's the perfect man to speak up and help them over this rough patch. It's not just that Blair bolstered Bush's mission-from-God in Iraq with his own enthusiastic lies. It's that "Blair the Warrior" was "part of Tony living out his faith," according to a longtime member of Blair's inner circle. Blair is also "very happy" to see British public schools handed over to private foundations that teach "creation theory as literally depicted in Genesis."
Then there's the extreme fact that Blair is lying again about mideast WMD in his new manifesto, this time claiming there's conclusive evidence the Syrian regime "is using chemical weapons" (there isn't) or that Iran is "still intent on getting a nuclear weapon" (U.S. intelligence services agree Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program and has not decided whether to move ahead with one).
And there's the extreme way Blair okayed $2 billion in bribes to Saudi Arabia's Salafist royal family, and received a "Golden Medal of Freedom" from his buddy Hashim Thaci, who runs a crime-ring that murdered Serbs and sold their organs. (Oddly, while both the Saudis and Thaci are extreme and Muslim, they do not make Blair's list of Muslim extremists.)
Of course, all that said, I obviously don't want to say that Blair and Adebolajo are exactly the same. For instance, Blair's hands are only metaphorically covered in blood.
But I am tired of both of these guys, and would like to propose some possible new guidelines to apply to everybody of all religions and all nationalities everywhere:
1. No matter how strongly you feel on certain subjects, everyone should strive not to slaughter other human beings, whether via hatchet in Woolwich, white phosphorus in Fallujah, or (coming soon) tungsten rods dropped at supersonic speeds from space.
2. If you absolutely must slaughter other people, please refrain from following up the slaughter with a lugubrious explanation of how the people you massacred were "the real extremists."
3. If you can't follow rules #1 and #2, we will send you to Mars, where all of you can engage in a fascinating debate over which of you is truly extreme and which is merely defending their people from the other's dangerous extremism. The rest of us will get back to what we were doing previously regarding people from other places, which is finding their accents sexy.
What do you say? If the technology isn't ready yet for the whole Mars concept, I'm open to just making Michael and Tony bunkmates, so they can spend the rest of their lives thrashing it all out in the same cell.
January 28th, 2014
In the State of the Union address tonight, President Obama is going to call for a national minimum wage of $10.10. Then in their response ...
January 21st, 2014
My New Year's Day op-ed in the New York Times seems to have kickstarted a discussion about how to make Obamacare better. I hope you ...
December 18th, 2013
This morning it was announced by the Library of Congress and the National Film Preservation Board that my first film, 'Roger & Me', has been ...
December 14th, 2013
[View the story "Michael Moore Tweets on Eve of Newtown Anniversay" on Storify]
November 9th, 2013
Click here for this week's full schedule for the State Theatre and Bijou by the Bay in Traverse City, Michigan. The day has arrived. For ...
September 10th, 2013
[View the story "John Kerry's Accidental Diplomacy" on Storify]
July 30th, 2013
Today Bradley Manning was convicted on 20 of 22 counts, including violating the Espionage Act, releasing classified information and disobeying orders. That's the bad news. ...
September 11th, 2010
OpenMike 9/11/10 Michael Moore's daily blog I am opposed to the building of the "mosque" two blocks from Ground Zero. I want it built on ...
December 14th, 2010
Yesterday, in the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, the lawyers for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange presented to the judge a document from me stating that ...
May 12th, 2011
"The Nazis killed tens of MILLIONS. They got a trial. Why? Because we're not like them. We're Americans. We roll different." – Michael Moore in ...
November 22nd, 2011
This past weekend I participated in a four-hour meeting of Occupy Wall Street activists whose job it is to come up with the vision and ...
September 22nd, 2011
I encourage everyone I know to never travel to Georgia, never buy anything made in Georgia, to never do business in Georgia. I will ask ...
December 16th, 2010
Dear Swedish Government: Hi there -- or as you all say, Hallå! You know, all of us here in the U.S. love your country. Your ...
November 2nd, 2010
This letter contains (almost) no criticisms of how the Democrats have brought this day of reckoning upon themselves. That -- and where to go from ...