Khaled Hosseini, offended by the invocation of Barack Obama’s middle name during Hate Talk Express rallies, shows what it means not to be afraid:

Never mind that such jeers are deeply offensive to millions of peaceful, law-abiding Muslim Americans who must bear the unveiled charge, made by some supporters of Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin, that Obama’s middle name makes him someone to distrust — and, judging by some of the crowd reactions at these rallies, someone to persecute or even kill. As a secular Muslim, I too was offended. Obama’s middle name differs from my last name by only two vowels. Does the McCain-Palin campaign view me as a pariah too? Do McCain and Palin think there’s something wrong with my name?

Obama’s people talk a lot about ending the "politics of fear." When we discussed it, they meant it in a different context, but it applies here as well. Hosseini, the author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, does a masterful job of exposing the shamefulness of those who’d rely on it.

Let’s build on it. On Wednesday, David Petraeus detailed a number of counterinsurgency guidelines that he employed in Iraq, a performance that John McCain has practically deified. The final one was "Live Your Values." He meant simply that the U.S. military should treat Iraqis with the basic dignity that all people deserve. Sen. McCain, are you living your values right now?

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman

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