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'Islamic extremism' implies a holy war

To the editor: It seems that President Obama is taking a lesson from the O.J. Simpson trial, where I was an advisor for the prosecution. ("'Islamic' extremism or 'violent' extremism? The president is mincing words and there's a reason for that," op-ed, Feb. 20)

In that trial, prosecutor Christopher Darden warned correctly that after you brought the N-word into the courtroom, you couldn't "unring a bell." This proved to be true and quite telling after the release of the Mark Fuhrman tapes, which overflowed with the word.

Is it possible that Obama agrees that if you use the I-word and align a major religion with evil, you run the risk of turning this into a holy war that the extremists and terrorists would relish?

Mark Goulston, Santa Monica

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To the editor: Obama and his critics are missing the point. Horrific as the human rights abuses are that are being committed in the name of Islam, what is really going on is colonialism: Outsiders are seizing new land by force, moving in to displace and massacre residents, and proclaiming new rules in a manner no different from the way the Spanish treated the Aztecs or European imperialists brought "civilization" or "Christianity" to parts of Africa and Asia.

America should hit the nail on its head by characterizing its efforts to defeat Islamic State as anti-colonial rather than anti-Islamic or anti-extremist.

Michael Haas, Los Angeles

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