Just when you thought the nihilism of some Western pundits couldn’t get any worse, I came across this amazing “question” by ABC News’ John Miller. It’s buried in a PBS Frontline interview with Bin Laden from 1998. The salient question is for some reason not placed in bold in the transcript, like all the other questions, as if PBS and ABC are embarrassed by it, but it’s clear that the question is Miller’s. It follows a long diatribe by bin Laden which, with respect to the Jewish people, can only be described as indistinguishable from Hitler (see “BIN LADEN’S MEIN KAMPF” below). Now here’s the coup de grace: “MILLER: In America, we have a figure from history from 1897 named Teddy Roosevelt. He was a wealthy man, who grew up in a privileged situation and who fought on the front lines. He put together his own men – hand chose them – and went to battle. You are like the Middle East version of Teddy Roosevelt.” I guess we should be grateful Miller didn’t compare this twisted maniac with George Washington.
BIN LADEN’S MEIN KAMPF: One of the amazing things about the far left’s embrace of the anti-American ideology of some in the Middle East is their willful blindness about what these fanatics actually believe in. Susan Sontag, for example, is a Jew. Does she honestly believe that America is responsible for more evil than a bunch of Muslim fanatics who would gas her in a second if they could? Could any gay person seriously argue for appeasement of people who would execute them on the spot if they lived under their rule? Could any serious feminist not believe in opposing fanatics who would eviscerate the slightest shred of freedom for women? I just don’t get it. Liberals of all people should be the most serious about fighting this scourge. Is their hatred of America that deep? As to bin Laden’s vicious anti-Semitism, check the PBS interview out. Here are my choice excerpts from the Goebbels of Afghanistan: “The enmity between us and the Jews goes far back in time and is deep rooted. There is no question that war between the two of us is inevitable … The leaders in America and in other countries as well have fallen victim to Jewish Zionist blackmail … Once again, I have to stress the necessity of focusing on the Americans and the Jews for they represent the spearhead with which the members of our religion have been slaughtered. Any effort directed against America and the Jews yields positive and direct results – Allah willing … We do not have to differentiate between military or civilian. As far as we are concerned, they are all targets, and this is what the fatwah says … We believe that this administration represents Israel inside America. Take the sensitive ministries such as the Ministry of Exterior and the Ministry of Defense and the CIA, you will find that the Jews have the upper hand in them.” This isn’t like Nazism. In its pathological, paranoid hatred of the Jews, it is Nazism. And these guys want to appease it again?
RETRACT WHAT?: Tim Noah of Slate asks me to retract the following sentences from my recent piece for the Sunday Times of London: “The middle part of the country–the great red zone that voted for Bush–is clearly ready for war. The decadent left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead–and may well mount a fifth column.” Noah doesn’t elucidate why this should be retracted, presumably because he doesn’t really know, except that his left-wing friends find it abhorrent. Note what I didn’t say. I didn’t say that the vast majority of Gore voters aren’t patriots or that they don’t support this war as much as anyone else. Later in the piece, I pay particular tribute to New Yorkers, mostly Gore voters, who have shown the world their humanity and courage this past week. The sentence Noah slyly quotes continues: “But by striking at the heart of New York City, the terrorists ensured that at least one deep segment of the country ill-disposed toward a new president is now the most passionate in his defense. Anyone who has ever tried to get one over on a New Yorker knows what I mean. The demons who started this have no idea about the kind of people they have taken on.” I’m sorry but it’s completely clear I am not damning an entire section of the country because of the way they voted. Noah is deliberately distorting my argument. Elsewhere I say, “[Giuliani’s] combination of chutzpah, practicality and deep, deep compassion is the essence of New York City. His troops – the firefighters and cops and medics and volunteers of the city – would make the Londoners of 1940 proud. If New York alone were a nation – and it has almost twice the population of Israel – then this war would already be well under way, and its outcome in no doubt.” So much for damning the blue zone. What I was clearly saying is that some decadent leftists in “enclaves” – not regions – on the coasts are indeed more concerned with what they see as the evil of American power than the evil of terrorism, that their first response was to blame America, and that their second response was to disavow any serious military action. If this was their attitude in the days after 5,000 civilians were killed, what will they say and do when we have to take real risks and incur more civilian casualties weeks and months from now? These people have already openly said they do not support such a war, and will oppose it. Read Sontag and Chomsky and Moore and Alterman and on and on, and you’ll see that I’m not exaggerating. Go to any campus and you’ll find many, many academics saying the same thing. If anything, I’m minimizing their open hatred of the United States. So why should I retract? Noah’s quote is a deliberate smear to obscure my larger point. One of my heroes is George Orwell. I’ve been reading his war journalism these past couple of days as solace. And one thing he never stinted on was calling the purist, defeatist left on their lack of moral seriousness, and their inability to see what any decent person can see at a time like this. I’m no Orwell, but I can try and tell the truth as I see it. And part of that truth is that some are acting as if they would rather America lose this war than win it. So sue me for saying so.