My first blog post. Ever.
Currently there is a strain of logic that is appearing on college campuses and salons of the Left as America goes to war. This logic is what is called the “rape victim asked for it” defense of the indefensible. This logic which has been repeated in the letters to the editor of this and other papers states that the terrorists are not at fault for the attack on the Pentagon and WTC – we Americans are. The terrorists were merely reacting to American policies abroad such as the support of Israel and continued sanctions on Iraq and are therefore ultimately not responsible for the 7,000 dead. The American government is – and since the government represents the will of our people, we Americans are to blame for the death and destruction of September 11, 2001. All that remains is for a call for reparations to the families of the dead hijackers.
As several commentators on both sides of the political spectrum have pointed out, this logic is flawed for a variety of reasons. First, it de-humanizes the terrorists by making them into thoughtless automatons, lacking the human quality of “free-will”. However, we know that these terrorists had the free-will to call off their mission by walking away, refusing to do it, or by contacting authorities. Instead they exercised their free-will by choosing to kill as many people as they possibly could.
Secondly, they excuse the attack by blaming American policy abroad. American support of Israel is mentioned as a possible reason for the attack. This logic seeks to ignore the fact that Israel is the only democracy in the region, and that for every atrocity blamed on the Israelis there is another one perpetrated against them. It also ignores the fact that the Israelis have never committed a terrorist act against the United States, unlike other groups within the region. Nor does it take into account the thirty years America has worked to build a lasting peace within the region, and the fact that the US is hated almost as much by the Israeli Right as the Islamic Right as a result.
Islamic fundamentalists have universally condemned the Camp David Accords negotiated by President Carter and signed by Egypt and Israel, an agreement which President Anwar Sadat of Egypt paid for with his life – assassinated by members of the Islamic Fundamentalist movement. These groups do not want peace between Israel and the Palestinians. What they seek is what Arab commentators have euphemistically called “finishing what the Germans started”, namely, the slaughter of all Jews present within Israel. This claim was reiterated this week by Osama Bin-Laden’s fatwa calling for the “killing of Americans and Jews wherever they might be”.
The motives of the attackers are still unclear – a problem which allows the imaginations to run wild on the Left, blaming the attack for American aggression against North Vietnam (a state currently seeking better ties with the USA), North Korea (a Stalinist regime known for its rattling of sabers while food bowls go empty), and the all-encompassing term, “American Imperialism”.
Such attempts at ascribing motives to the attackers simply show that the attackers didn’t have any. The attacks become a kind of Rohrschach Test for those bearing a grudge against the US government in which they see the motive they want to see. Such attempts have everything to do with the mindset of the explainer and nothing whatsoever to do with the true motives of the attackers.
In a sense this is an attempt by minds to make sense of the nonsensical. By providing motive to the attack, people feel better. They can take comfort in people having been killed for a reason, that the attack was some kind of message which we now must heed. This attempt at understanding is the Left’s attempt at gaining control of the situation. However it is the kind of control exercised by a battered wife who seeks to take command of the violent outbursts and attacks of her husband by making him happy and avoiding the actions which set him off. However, to an outside party it is evident who is in control in this situation: the husband is. And the only solution to the problem is to remove the woman from the situation or jail her husband. In our situation there is no “jail” that will hold Bin-Laden, nor is there anywhere that we can run. Imagine a scenario where a group attempts to free him by holding a city hostage to a small nuclear device. Our only solution is to hunt him down and kill him before he kills us.
This anti-American government logic also ignores the positive things America has done in the Muslim world. America has fought two wars against a Christian nation, Serbia, to halt atrocities the Serbs were committing against Muslims in Kosovo and Bosnia. It has been the primary aid donor to Afghanistan. It intervened in Somalia in an attempt at bringing peace to the collapsing nation and attempted to feed its starving population while bandits robbed aid agencies and UN forces and Muslim militants shot and killed American soldiers. America’s experience in Somalia prevented its intervention in Rwanda a year later. 800,000 people were murdered in an orgy of violence which the US and UN forces could have easily prevented. Since Osama Bin-Laden has been implicated in the actions in Somalia against US forces, by the logic of the Left he would also be responsible for the resultant slaughter in Rwanda.
Finally, it ignores the failures of Islamic fundamentalism in the region. What has Osama Bin-Laden and the Taliban done for Muslims except starved and killed them? Bin-Laden killed more Muslims in the WTC and embassy attacks in Africa than the Israelis have in years of bloody fighting in the West Bank and Gaza. He is wealthy, yet how many hospitals has he built? How many clinics? How many Muslim children has he put through school?
Bin-Laden and his organization are nothing new – contrary to what you may be reading. We have seen his type before: Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. The Hutu Militias which like to explain their atrocities using political terms. Slobodan Milosovic and his fanatical followers of thugs, murderers and rapists which also resorted to religious imagery – albeit of a later time (13th Century vs the 12th Century espoused by the Taliban). Idi Amin in Uganda. And of course, Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich.
All of these men have stood up against the USA and been exposed as murderous charlatans. Bin-Laden and his Taliban supporters will as well – if not abetted in their conquest by the well-intentioned Left.