Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Ethics, History, Middle East, War on Terror — Rick Moran @ 11:18 am

There are times when my pessimism about what is happening in the world gets the better of me and I sink into one of two states of consciousness; blissful ignorance as I just ignore what is really going on until my curiosity gets the better of me or a simmering anger that usually explodes in some towering rant against those who would lead us (the West) to disaster because of the deliberate self delusion or ignorance of a large and influential segment of our political class.

As for the latter, while emotionally satisfying on one level, there are many times that I wish I had not hit that “publish” button. This is an occupational hazard for any blogger who becomes a slave to content and feels it necessary at times to let loose an ill favored rhetorical barrage at whatever current object of scorn, or derision, or humor that wanders into my gunsights. I realize that is part of the appeal of this site to many of you but there really are times when such writing is ill advised. Better the reasoned riposte than a heaping of calumny directed toward the wayward, the clueless, or the downright dumb.

However, there is something to be said for the former. Existing in one’s own little cocoon of information and opinion is certainly comforting. Reading only people and ideas that you agree with is not only good for one’s blood pressure, but also allows for a smug, self satisfaction to settle over one’s writing. The idea of the Revealed Truth From Rick is reinforced by many of you who leave nice comments and verbally pat me on the back for my perspicacity.

All goes swimmingly until I happen to read what I’ve written after a few weeks time and realize the trap I’ve fallen into. That’s when you must force yourself once again to examine the issues and events of the day from every possible angle so that even in disagreement, you find nuggets of truth, shades of meaning that can alter your perceptions and give a sense of wholeness to your beliefs.

In the end, that’s what this blog is all about; my beliefs. And the sooner you find out that it is silly and dangerous to believe that you have a corner on what is right or what is true, the more intellectually satisfying your search for knowledge will become.

Aristotle wrote:

“The search for truth is in one way hard and in another way easy, for it is evident that no one can master it fully or miss it wholly. But each adds a little to our knowledge of nature, and from all the facts assembled there arises a certain grandeur.”

“All the facts assembled” means that you must humble yourself in order to achieve that “grandeur” by searching out contrary interpretations of the facts. It isn’t just a matter of buttressing your own opinions by finding flaws in another’s arguments. It sometimes comes down to actually trying to wear the shoes of those with whom you disagree, seeing the issue from their perspective. Only then can you truly embrace your own conceits with the confidence that you’ve done all that is required to satisfy those pesky muses who bedevil your unconscious, whispering in your ear that “thou art but mortal” and must work like the dickens to overcome your own arrogance.

But in the face of this kind of evil, this monstrous darkness that is descending over the west largely as a result of our own stupidity and reckless disregard for our own safety, I’m tempted to gather all the Juan Coles, the Billmons, the Kossacks, and the whole lot of morally timid, incredibly myopic liberals who cannot see the horrific danger we are in from the scourge if Islamic fundamentalism and send them packing to Iran so that they can glimpse our future. It is mindboggling. And for someone brought up in a western, liberal, democratic, (small “d”) tradition, really quite perplexing.

Is there nothing in the west worth defending? Are there no values, no artistic or cultural traditions worth standing up for? Is the warm and comfortable embrace of western freedoms to be given up so cavalierly, without a fight and in some cases, even willingly?

On Thursday, the President of Iran said for the umpteenth time that the State of Israel should be eliminated. Previous incarnations of this rhetoric has been the disputed phrase about wiping Israel “off the map” and variations on the theme that the Jewish state will disappear in fire and smoke. Ahmadinejad has also suggested that the Europeans carve out some of their own territory and uproot more than 6 million Jews in order to move them “back” to Europe (the overwhelming majority of Israelis having been born in their own land, given to them by the United Nations and fought for by their fathers and grandfathers).

And yet, despite the clearly stated goals of the Islamic regime in Iran now growing bolder and more open about its intent to use proxies like Hizbullah to carry the fight to all “infidels,” all we hear from most of the left is a combination of nauseating anti-Semitism and a curious moral indistinctness between the Israelis and Hizbullah.

Hizbullah launches hundreds of rockets into Israel with the expressed intent of killing as many non-combatants as possible and the reaction on the left is, after (perhaps) a desultory condemnation of these purely terror tactics, gleeful commentary on how Israel is losing the war. On the other hand, when Israel mistakenly targets a house in Qana, apologizes profusely, and actually alters their targeting regime to try and prevent further mistakes, the moral outrage is without limit. Juan Cole:

There had been some question about whether Hizbullah’s ability to hit Israel with rockets had been degraded, or whether it was just observing the 48 hour air cease fire. On Wednesday it cleared the mystery up. The indiscriminate firing of rockets on civilian targets wounded 21 persons and one hit the Palestinian West Bank. Among the rockets fired was a long-distance Khaybar II. Targeting civilians or unnecessarily endangering them is a war crime.

Please note Professor Cole’s pro-forma recognition that Hizbullah has committed an atrocity is disconnected, unemotional, and matter of fact. He doesn’t even directly accuse Hizbullah of a war crime despite the fact that Hizbullah has now launched thousands of rockets into northern Israel trying desperately to kill as many civilians as they can.

What kind of mind can make that disconnect? The kind that can write this about Qana:

Note how by calling it a “tragedy,” Blair takes the onus off Israel for launching a total war on the Lebanese infrastructure and population. A hurricane is a tragedy, Mr. Prime Minister. This is a war. It is a war launched by specific persons, including especially Ehud Olmert and Gen. Halutz. It isn’t something that can be put into the passive voice.

Even most of the Arab world agrees that Hizbullah “launched” this war, not Prime Minister Olmert. And Cole’s blindness, comforting as it might be for him, extends to his swallowing hook, line, and sinker, this kind of Arab propaganda:

The Israelis appear to be engaged in a concerted campaign of ethnic cleansing in the Shiite towns and villages of southern Lebanon, and are indiscriminately bombing all buildings in the area south of the Litani River. They have chased hundreds of thousands of residents out, and are destroying the property they left behind in a systematic way, rather as they destroy the houses belonging to the family members related to suicide bombers. In other words, the Israelis are engaged in collective punishment on a vast scale. They maintain that rocket launching sites are embedded in these villages. But since Hizbullah keeps firing large numbers of rockets, it does not actually appear to be the case that the Israelis are hitting the rocket launchers. They are demonstrably hitting civilian houses and apartment buildings in a methodical way.

“Ethnic cleansing?” “Collective punishment?” Cole and I share a passion for reading the Daily Star of Lebanon and the individuals making claims such as he is reprinting here are Hizbullah spokesmen. There is no talk from Prime Minister Siniora of “ethnic cleansing” nor of any “methodical” razing of buildings. Cole regurgitates Hizbullah propaganda without batting an eyelash.

And herein lies the cause of my pessimism. Cole is an intelligent man, a font of information on the Middle East and its history (if you can stomach his biases). But last May, he wrote this regarding any confrontation between the west and Iran:

So sit down and shut up, American Enterprise Institute, and Hudson Institute, and Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and American Heritage Foundation, and this institute and that institute, and cable “news”, and government “spokesmen”, and all the pundit-ferrets you pay millions to make business for the American military-industrial complex and Big Oil.

We don’t give a rat’s ass what Ahmadinejad thinks about European history or what pissant speech the little shit gives.

Despite his hatred for the Iranian regime, Cole believes that we should not take Ahmadinejad at his word. If the Iranian President says that Israel will be eliminated, it is rhetoric that we can safely ignore. And when Ahmadinejad uses proxies like Hizbullah to make war on Israel and the west, I suppose we should bury our heads in the ground and pretend we shouldn’t do anything about it because the entire rationale for looking at Iran as an enemy has to do with the military industrial complex in America and has nothing to do with our own survival.

Cole, of course, is not alone. Not by a long shot. And it is legitimate to ask if Cole and his ilk would do anything to defend themselves against this kind of threat. Time and time again over the last 27 years Islamic fundamentalists have attacked us, eliciting a “proportional” response - a bombing run or lobbing a few cruise missiles at targets of opportunity. All this has gotten us is more attacks.

And Israel, trying to play by the rules laid out by the international community for the last 60 years that prevent it from removing threats to its existence so that the sensibilities of those who refuse to recognize the Jewish state as a legitimate national entity won’t be ruffled, finds itself on the frontline of this most recent war against the west. And once again, an international community more in love with “process” than with actually solving Israel’s dilemma is calling for the Jewish state to halt before it feels the job is done. No wonder the United States wants to change the failed diplomatic framework of the past that did nothing to make Israel safe and only made western politicians look good to the homefolks.

The world is becoming too dangerous to play these kinds of games anymore. Hizbullah must be disarmed. Syria must be be held to account for their meddling in Lebanon which included the brazen assassination of the beloved Hariri. And Iran must be isolated from the community of nations until they rid themselves of those who seek to lead a wordlwide crusade whose goal is the subjugation or destruction of everything we in the west find worth living for.

It is getting very late in the day not to have the left on board for this fight. And perhaps it will take a liberal leader somewhere else to explain it to them. They seem to have turned a deaf ear to anything coming from the United States and especially George Bush.

But wherever the wake-up call comes from - and it will come - the only question is will it come too late so that the west can face this latest challenge to its existence reasonably united.

The alternative is simply unthinkable.


  1. “And perhaps it will take a liberal leader somewhere else to explain it to them.” Sadly there is, his name is Joe Lieberman.

    Comment by dave — 8/5/2006 @ 12:59 pm

  2. Victor Davis Hanson has a new column at NRO describing his wonderment at the thinking at the time of pre WWII. He always wondered why people allowed the rise of hostilities to occur without speaking up. Looking at the aura of today he no longer wonders how it happened. An excellent piece,as always.

    Comment by rockdalian — 8/5/2006 @ 3:52 pm

  3. Interesting quote from Aristotle to set up your irrefutable argument. Allow me to throw a few more quotes on Truth to set up your next irrefutable argument.

    Jesus: “If the world hates you, know that it hated me first.”

    Tertullian: “The Truth is the enemy. The moment it appears, it is hated.”

    Coleridge: “If you have not 3,000 years of human thought, you’re living hand to mouth.”

    Blake: “In ignorance to view a small portion & think that All, / And call it Demonstration: blind to all the simple rules of life.”

    Keats: “‘Beauty is Truth. Truth Beauty.’ That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

    Comment by GawainsGhost — 8/5/2006 @ 5:19 pm

  4. [...] More Moran, in a similar vein: “It is getting very late in the day not to have the left on board for this fight.” [...]

    Pingback by Hot Air » Blog Archive » Lazy Sunday — 8/6/2006 @ 1:17 am

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