Skip to comments.Blaming the U.S., whitewashing terror
Posted on 09/19/2001 6:39:09 AM PDT by gymbeau
Sorrow and pity have given way to excuses and equivocations. Some commentators are now explaining the terrorist attack against New York City and Washington with the argument that the United States "had it coming." A representative example in this regard is George Galloway, a British Labour MP who recently declared the U.S. "had to swallow its own medicine" when thousands died on Sept. 11.
How a serum of freedom and prosperity curdled into murderous venom Mr. Galloway did not say, but he is not alone in his opinions. Writing in the Ottawa Citizen, Susan Riley naively suggested the terror attack -- years in the planning -- might have been payback for the U.S. walking out of a UN racism conference a week earlier. A contributor to the Toronto Star thinks something called "Americanism" is part of the problem. Naomi Klein, the embodiment of trite Chomskyism, believes the United States has been guilty of "sanitizing and dehumanizing acts of war committed elsewhere" and wonders whether "U.S. foreign policy create[d] the conditions in which such twisted logic could flourish." Some TV pundits in Canada blame President George W. Bush's alleged "isolationism" (Paradoxically, others blame it on his "interventionism"). On a recent broadcast of the BBC's debate program, Question Time, the U.S. Ambassador was reduced to tears by hard-left audience members jeering that the United States brought terror on itself owing to its "anti-Arab and pro-Israeli policy."
However the view is hedged, when a person says the United States "had it coming," what he or she means is that murder is a morally appropriate rejoinder to a perceived slight or injustice. The annihilation of innocent civilians is thereby cast as a legitimate means to promote one's political or theological ends. This is familiar territory for the radical left: Since the time of Lenin, Marxists have preached the virtues of exterminating inconvenient classes of individuals in order to bring those still living into a state of equality.
How does one respond to such arguments? It is simple morally, but difficult rhetorically -- because those who attack the United States inevitably express their view through slippery, ill-defined phrases such as "cultural imperialism," "neo-colonialism," "economic hegemony" and the like. But look behind the slogans and you find empty air.
Take the culture issue: The United States does not force its boy bands, fast food and slinky Hollywood starlets down any nation's throat. The spread of U.S. culture is a matter of demand. In truth, it is the fact that millions of teenagers and young adults worship Western icons like Michael Jordan and Britney Spears of their own accord that drives Islamist militants to murderous distraction. As for the economic argument, it is the West that should be umbraged, not the Muslim world. Uncle Sam pours billions of aid dollars into Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Afghanistan every year. Yes, the United States gives money to Israel, too. But that is the Middle East's only democracy -- and isn't the Left always telling us we should aid democracies, not dictatorships?
Consider also that in recent decades, the Western world has paid trillions of dollars for Middle Eastern oil at prices controlled by a Muslim-led oligopoly, OPEC, which would be illegal under the anti-trust laws of any major Western nation. That Middle Eastern oil-producing nations are despotic regimes in which a select few profit from oil revenues is not the fault of the United States. It is the fact that no Arab nation has ever had a truly democratic government that is the real reason political stultification and income inequality are rife in the region.
As for the charge that the United States is "anti-Arab," this is a slogan, not a supportable claim. Where Arab nations blundered away their land to a surrounded Israeli army, the United States has done everything in its power to help them get it back. The peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, which saw Anwar Sadat get back the Sinai, was brokered in the United States. (Islamist radicals subsequently assassinated Mr. Sadat for making peace, of course. Presumably, he, too "had it coming.") In the last decade, Washington has repeatedly attempted to involve the Palestinians in a peace agreement that would see the West Bank and Gaza revert to Palestinian control. Bill Clinton even offered up to US$17-billion to bribe Israel to leave the Golan Heights. And what about the Gulf War? In that conflict, the United States helped defend Saudi oil and Kuwaiti independence from Saddam Hussein. Did the oil-thirsty Americans have an ulterior motive? Yes. But that did not seem to bother Syria, Egypt, Pakistan and the other Muslim nations that joined with the United States to fight Iraq.
Ask yourself this question: Why do so many Arabs/Muslims seek to emigrate to the United States every year? If the United States in general and President Bush in particular are so "anti-Arab," then the leading U.S. Muslim-Islamist organizations should explain why they not only issued a resounding endorsement of Mr Bush's candidacy in last year's Presidential election, but specifically cited his pro-Muslim credentials.
All of this, though, is somewhat beside the point. Even if the United States were "anti-Arab," surely the bias would be properly addressed not by terrorist attacks, but by diplomacy -- assuming the Arab/Muslim dictators and their Western apologists satisfactorily explain what is wrong with U.S. policy in the first place. If the United States "had it coming," then would it be legitimate for Jewish terrorists to blow up the Eiffel Tower because the French government is pro-Palestinian and therefore "anti-Israel"? For that matter, did massacred Jewish families dining in a Jeru-salem pizza restaurant recently "get theirs" when a suicide bomber blew himself up? If it is legitimate to cite grievances over land and politics in the same moral breath as the mass slaughter of innocents, on what basis may we denounce any terrorist attack as evil?
At the heart of the propaganda campaign against the United States is a moral equivalence conflating what is evil with what is merely imperfect. In the Cold War, this tactic took the form of the argument that the United States was just as dictatorial as the Soviet Union because poor Americans were allegedly not "free" from injustice, racism and want. Now that we have entered a new kind of war, this fatuous argument has been recycled: Yes, Islamist maniacs slaughter thousands of innocents ... but think of the psychic pain inflicted on the Middle East by Taco Bell and the Backstreet Boys. Who is to judge which is more inhumane?
In Macbeth, Shakespeare reserved a special space in Hell for "an equivocator, that could swear in both the scales against either scale." That thought provides some consolation as we watch our television screens and see this shameful parade of apologists wagging their fingers at the United States.
This is a good one ... I'm keeping it on my hard-drive; it's good to see that not all Canadians are like Peter Jennings.
And, lodwick, I'm assuming that it's a matter of you not reading the article; it could also be assumed that, since you disagree with what this guy wrote, you also believe that it was America's fault that we were attacked.
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This is the essence of every argument the Left puts forward. Long on slogans & rhetoric, real short on substance. Let 'em rot.
My favorite line:
"but think of the psychic pain inflicted on the Middle East by Taco Bell and the Backstreet Boys. Who is to judge which is more inhumane?"
Great article, thanks Moo.
Stay well - stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown
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