Friday, March 23, 2007

The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11

One of the main points of The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11 is that there are two wars. The first, between conservatives and liberals here at home and a second between radical Islam and traditional Islam throughout the world and how the two wars are related.

D'Souza argues that the left bears responsibility for 9/11 because they seek to impose on Islam the same parade of tired horseshit they have imposed here, abortion on demand, gay marriage, no fault divorce and licentious media. Because of this liberal imposition, traditionalist in Islam views the West in general and America in particular not only as anti Islamic but literally evil.

I don't necessarily agree with everything contained in The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, but D'Souza makes a very persuasive case.


zaphod said...

Several months ago in a comment on this web log. I pointed out Michael Moore's response to 9/11. He complained the terrorists killed the wrong Americans because they killed "thousands of people who DID NOT VOTE for [Bush]!" It was an ignorant and morally vile remark that implied there was was some justification for the mass murder that had just occurred.

D'Souza is essentially making Moore's argument with a different boogyman. Even if Moore or D'Souza are right about what motivated the terrorists, (and they aren't) responsibility for 9/11 rests solely with the murderers themselves not with Bush or the cultural left.

Yes, there is a great deal that is decadent in our culture but men like bin Laden and Zawahiri think democracy is decadent. They may be repulsed by "The Vagina Monologues" but they are also disgusted with the idea of women driving cars!

In 1995 following a failed assassination attempt at Addis Aababa on Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian intelligence kidnapped, drugged and sodomized a thirteen-year-old boy. The boy was the son of a member of Zawahiri's terrorist organization, al-Jihad. When the boy awakened, he was shown photographs of what had been done to him. Egyptian intelligence then blackmailed the boy in order to use him in an assassination plot against Zawahiri. (Zawahiri had fled to Sudan several years before.) The boy was then forced to recruit another child. The same was done to the second boy.

The plot on Zawahiri failed. The boys were taken into custody by al-Jihad. They were then tried in a Sharia court headed by Zawahiri where they were stripped naked to determine whether the had reached puberty - thus allowing the trial to continue. They had. The understandably terrified boys confessed to everything. Zawahiri had them shot.

Lawrence Wright related this story in his book "The Looming Tower" to explain why Zawahiri was expelled from Sudan. (The Sudanese government had been promised the boys would be returned to Sudanese authorities safely. Zawahiri and al-Jihad had no authority to try the boys.)

I relate this story to illustrate the absurdity of any claim that Islamic culture has some kind of moral standing to sit in judgement of our culture. It doesn't.

Yes, it's wrong to use this single anecdote indict all of Islam but Zawahiri was one of the masterminds behind 9/11. This story indicts him.

Dexter said...

D'Souza has finally gone completely bonkers. Persuasive to whom?

I skimmed the book after reading NY Times review (which is the book review of record in this country like or not) when it came out in Jans book... first 2 paragraphs...

None (but Me) Dare Call It Treason

At first Dinesh D’Souza considered him “a dark-eyed fanatic, a gun-toting extremist, a monster who laughs at the deaths of 3,000 innocent civilians.” But once he learned how Osama bin Laden was viewed in the Muslim world, D’Souza changed his mind. Now he finds bin Laden to be “a quiet, well-mannered, thoughtful, eloquent and deeply religious person.” Despite being considered a friend of the Palestinians, he “has not launched a single attack against Israel.” We denounce him as a terrorist, but he uses “a different compass to assess America than Americans use to assess him.” Bin Laden killed only 3,000 of us, with “every victim counted, every death mourned, every victim’s family generously compensated.” But look what we did in return: many thousands of Muslims dead in Afghanistan and Iraq, “and few Americans seem distressed over these numbers.”

I never thought a book by D’Souza, the aging enfant terrible of American conservatism, would, like the Stalinist apologetics of the popular front period, contain such a soft spot for radical evil. But in “The Enemy at Home,” D’Souza’s cultural relativism hardly stops with bin Laden. He finds Ayatollah Khomeini still to be “highly regarded for his modest demeanor, frugal lifestyle and soft-spoken manner.” Islamic punishment tends to be harsh — flogging adulterers and that sort of thing — but this, D’Souza says “with only a hint of irony,” simply puts Muslims “in the Old Testament tradition.” Polygamy exists under Islamic law, but the sexual freedom produced by feminism in this country is, at least for men, “even better than polygamy.” And the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statement that the West has a taboo against questioning the existence of the Holocaust, while “pooh-poohed by Western commentators,” was “undoubtedly accurate.” Unlike President Bush, who once said he could not understand how anyone could hate America, D’Souza knows why Islamic radicals attack us. “Painful though it may be to admit,” he admits, “some of what the critics or even enemies say about America and the West ... may be true.” Susan Sontag never said we brought Sept. 11 on ourselves. Dinesh D’Souza does say it.

Rest of review is online. The review is persuasive, the book is not nor is D'Souza.

El Duderino said...

This book has been grossly mischaracterized primarily by people who have never read it. D’Souza isn’t saying the wrong people were attacked. He’s attempting to explain what about America pisses of the Muslims and he makes some valid points. For example in the US Abu Ghraib was a huge scandal because, we were told, American soldiers were seen as no better than Saddam’s thugs for “torturing” detainees. D’Souza points out that in the Muslim world they saw it completely differently. Rather than acts of torture and cruelty, they saw the sexual degradation of the detainees as proof positive of American decadence. Keep in mind most people in the Islamic world have never been to the US and get their info on the US from our movies and TV. It’s kind of hard to explain away Jerry Springer when American GIs act it out, live and in person.

zaphod said...

I haven't read it but the book does claim "[t]he cultural left in this country is responsible for causing 9/11." It's right there on page one.

No, D'Souza doesn't say the wrong people were attacked but like Moore he does make excuses for the attackers.

I never denied the decadence in our culture. I bow to no one in my contempt for Jerry Springer but so what? Should we seek to appease people like bin Laden and Zawahiri and have Springer stoned to death? No? Why not?

And Abu Ghraib obviously had nothing to do with 9/11. It couldn't have. And even if (by some anomaly in the space-time continuum) it did, it still doesn't justify mass murder.

Here are some more book reviews:

Jonah Goldberg

Scott Johnson

Victor Davis Hanson

And here's an NRO symposium on the book.

El Duderino said...

With all due respect Zaphod, you're talking out your ass. At no point does D'Souza make excuses for the 9/11 attackers.
No we shouldn’t try to appease anybody, we’re not France. There is nothing we can say that will stop the Bin Ladens of this world from hating us, we’ll just have to kill them or marginalize them. This book is about how everyday people in traditionalist societies, including Christian, Hindu and Islamic societies, view the US. How would you react if a nation with the majority of births were to unwed mothers and where abortions rivaled live births tried to lecture you on the importance of families? How would react if NGOs from abroad ham handedly tried to educate your children on sexuality, birth control and feminism? Combine these liberal policies with omnipresent Hollywood smut and liberal opposition to robust national defense and you begin to see what D’Souza is getting at.
D'Souza cites the reaction to the Abu Ghraib scandal as an example of how the West differs from traditional Islamic culture. He doesn’t say it inflamed the attackers.
Read the book, I’d be interested in your take on it.

zaphod said...

The man wrote that the cultural left is responsible for causing 9/11. Those are his words not mine. And either words have meaning or they don't.

As for how I'd react if NGO's from abroad tried to lecture me about birth control, etc., well I'd commit an act of mass murder, of course. I mean: I undertsand why Muslims would resent much of what our culture produces but that doesn't excuse their own corruption.

Yeah, our culture differs from traditional Islamic culture. For all our decadence, we're still better.

zaphod said...

Here's Peter Berkowitz on Alan Wolfe's hypocrisy with regards to this isuue.