Monday, June 20, 2005
Those who oppose every step we take in this Global War on Terror often insist that the problems we confront in the world are our own making. If only we handled things differently. If only we approached things more diplomatically. We have angered and humiliated the Arab world. We have created the motive and impetus of the Jihadis who confront us.
The Western reactionary left hold us accountable, and primarily at fault. So why is it that the Arabs who are in the best position to address the root causes for Isalmic Terrorism hold a different view?
Hanson describes the contrasting views:
Free-thinking Arabs refute all the premises of Western Leftists who claim that colonialism, racism, and exploitation have created terrorists, hold back Arab development, and are the backdrops to this war.Hanson has it exactly right in my view.
Indeed, it is far worse than that: Our own fundamentalist Left is in lockstep with Wahhabist reductionism — in its similar instinctive distrust of Western culture. Both blame the United States and excuse culpability on the part of Islamists. The more left-wing the Westerner, the more tolerant he is of right-wing Islamic extremism; the more liberal the Arab, the more likely he is to agree with conservative Westerners about the real source of Middle Eastern pathology.
The constant? A global distrust of Western-style liberalism and preference for deductive absolutism. So burn down a mosque in Zimbabwe, murder innocent Palestinians in Bethlehem in 2002, arrest Christians in Saudi Arabia, or slaughter Africans in Dafur, and both the Western Left and the Middle East's hard Right won't say a word. No such violence resonates with America's diverse critics as much as a false story of a flushed Koran — precisely because the gripe is not about the lives of real people, but the psychological hurts, angst, and warped ideology of those who in their various ways don't like the United States.
In trying to discuss the justifications for our efforts, in trying to explain why what we do is important, the arguments I hear in rebuttal all focus around a complete distrust and deep resentment of American military power or its deployment, really for any purpose at all.
That explains an almost pathological need to paint any American transgression -- no matter how trivial -- as the (im)moral equivalence of any acts by our enemies. Thus the fuss with Guantanamo.
The illogic that drives this knee-jerk anti-Americanism should not be lightly dismissed. There are consequences to those with domestic American political agendas intentionally or unintentionally taking stands consistent with those espoused by repressive regimes. We end up in conflict internally as well as externally.
Hanson concludes with a warning:
A war that cannot be won entirely on the battlefield most certainly can be lost entirely off it — especially when an ailing Western liberal society is harder on its own democratic culture than it is on fascist Islamic fundamentalism.By no means should we say that those who oppose us are the enemy. But we should be concerned when what might have been a loyal opposition find common cause with those who decidedly are -- our enemies.
So unhinged have we become that if an American policymaker calls for democracy and reform in the Middle East, then he is likely to echo the aspirations of jailed and persecuted Arab reformers. But if he says Islamic fascism is either none of our business or that we lack the wisdom or morality to pass judgment on the pathologies of a traditional tribal society, then the jihadist and the police state — and our own Western Left — approve.
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