Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Guest blogger: Remember what they say 

Today's guest blogger at Chrenkoff is David A. Lange, a international relations adviser in Heidelberg, Germany. I don't necessarily endorse or agree with everything in David's guest post (his arguments certainly apply to some liberals, as opposed to all) but I'm happy to put it up for the sake of discussion.

Bin Laden, the Left, and Jihad

Bin Laden's video monologue that aired shortly before the 2004 U.S. election sounded as though it had been vetted with the Democratic National Committee. Complete with references lifted directly from Fahrenheit 9/11, many on the left waved it as proof that the U.S. intervention in Iraq was the reason for al-Qaida's violence and if John
Kerry became President our differences could be settled peacefully. While the video demonstrated the desperateness of Mr. Laden's situation, the left's wishful thinking demonstrated how high the stakes are for liberals as well. Both are fighting to salvage their world-view. Mr. Laden understands that if the West believes the liberal mantra, it provides him a valuable strategic advantage so he gladly reinforces what liberals want to hear. Meanwhile, liberals and their sycophants in the media seemed determined to ignore all the evidence concerning jihadists' real motives because it threatens their doctrine of rational multicultural relativism. Mr. Laden's pre-election video merged these complimentary agendas.

A U.S. Army battalion commander who spent a year in Baghdad fighting the insurgency while reconstructing one of the city's worst neighborhoods explained to me that the reason Iraqi and foreign insurgents have taken to slaughtering their countrymen and fellow Muslims is because their world-view has been destroyed. Much of what they had been taught about their religion, their leader, the West, and Americans has been stood on its head and they either have to form new opinions or fight to restore old logic. They were taught unbelievers are corrupt and immoral, yet corrupt and immoral armies easily defeated the Islamic armies of the strongest man in the Middle East. They were told Christians are crusaders but witnessed Christian soldiers rebuild their mosques. They were told Americans would slaughter their families but watched as schools and hospitals were constructed. Crusader Americans passed out medicine, soccer balls and English-Arabic Korans. They played with Iraqi children. They brought electricity and running water to neighborhoods where it had never been available. Today Iraqis understand that many of the old-regime's truths are lies and they reject those who would re-impose them. The insurgents, on the other hand, understand that if Iraqis are free to make up their own minds, unencumbered by pseudo-religious doctrine, al-Qaida has lost the battle on its own territory that it hoped to wage in the United States.

Western liberals are facing a similar challenge as Islamic jihad threatens to destroy 1960s Western liberal doctrine. The left refuses to acknowledge why radical Muslims are fighting because jihad's justification is poison to liberal beliefs. Liberals, who pride themselves on understanding complex nuance, refuse to allow any reasons for jihad other than those that serve their political agenda. Liberals must project their motives on to jihadists in order for their actions to make sense according to a western liberal interpretation of the world. This is why Iraq, Israel, and American cultural imperialism are so important for terrorism's liberal apologists. Their core assumption is that those who murder innocent civilians via suicide are rational and they have legitimate grievances for which the West is to blame. A corollary assumption is that if we address those grievances we can reach an understanding. This is the world-view the left is fighting to preserve. The terrorists must be rational because according to the liberal view all cultural values are equal; all religions are equally valid; and everyone reasons in the tradition of Plato. Most important for the liberals, religion is never a reason to do anything other than go to church. Europeans haven't gone to war over religion since 1648 and Americans have never used religion to justify a war.

The irony is that while liberals will use statements made thirty years ago to prove someone is not qualified to hold a position in government, they refuse to read what jihadists themselves write today as their rationale for murdering innocent women and children. There is a near media embargo on statements by radical Muslims that challenge the liberal world-view. The public is left to rely on blogs and other Internet sources where the real root cause of terrorism is exposed in terrorism's own words. Read what the murderer of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh told the court was his motivation. Or read what the Madrid train bombers described in their writings as their ultimate goal. While most liberals would agree that the loss of the Caliphate el-Andalusia preceded the invasion of Iraq, for the left only Iraq matters because the left's political agenda is the only important agenda when it comes to rescuing its world-view. Enter Mr. Bin Laden. Like Western liberals, he wants us to believe there is a cause and effect mentality at work in the mind of suicide bombers. This is why he plagiarizes filmmaker Michael Moore but his ideology murders filmmaker Theo van Gogh. If Mr. Laden can deflect our attention from global jihad's true aims, it gives him a valuable strategic advantage. It buys time; creates a sense of false security; forces the enemy to expend resources on a hopeless strategy; and provides concessions.

Western media needs to be honest about what motivates the terrorists. Reporting what they say in their mosques, on their web sites, and in their writings would be a start. And if the left wants to be taken seriously on terrorism, it needs to acknowledge the singular motivation behind al-Qaida and stop sounding like Bin Laden.


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