Posted on | May 4, 2013 | 20 Comments
Flaming skull alert at Ace of Spades for the release of e-mails confirming that (a) officials knew from the outset that the attack on the consulate in Libya was the work of terrorists, but (b) this information was suppressed for political purposes:
State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland, worried that members of Congress would use the talking points to criticize the State Department for “not paying attention to [CIA] warnings.”
So, it was CIA vs. C.Y.A. at the State Department which, quite frankly, has been infiltrated by Edward Said-influenced Arab specialists to such an extent that it was practically a Muslim Brotherhood outpost even before the Obama administration took over.
Seriously, you can ask Bush administration people about this: Middle Eastern scholarship within academia is so dominated by anti-Western views that, insofar as anyone has the credentials to qualify as a specialist in the field — i.e., to get hired into and promoted within the bureaucracy — they’re certain to have been saturated in ideas about “Western imperialism” and the legitimacy of Arab/Islamic grievances. And while this has also been a problem at the CIA and the Pentagon, the State Department is absolutely chock-full of such people in staff positions, so that even with hawkish neocons in the political appointee roles during the Bush years, the pro-Arab/pro-Muslim culture at Foggy Bottom never really changed.
I feel the need to point this out now because some of my well-meaning conservative friends, who (quite correctly) complain about the dubious influences within the Obama administration, often neglect to discuss the larger problem, which pre-dates Obama. However, there is good reason to think it is more of a problem now:
In 1998 Obama attended a speech by [Edward] Said, in which the scholar called for a nonviolent campaign “against settlements, against Israeli apartheid.” In a well-publicized photo, Obama and Said can be seen talking over dinner at this pro-Arab event.
According to the Los Angeles Times, in the early 1980s Obama had been one of Said’s students in an undergraduate English class at Columbia University.
None of this is necessarily related to the Benghazi cover-up — I don’t mean to feed anyone’s conspiratorial paranoia — but it does highlight the nature of the larger problem, what Jeanne Kirkpatrick rightly called the “Blame America First” mentality.
There is a sort of perverse narcissism involved in this worldview: Encountering people who hate us, liberals think, “It’s about us.”
This error was what crippled liberalism during the Cold War. If the Soviet Union wanted to destroy America, liberals imagined, this must be because of something wrong with America, rather than something wrong with the Soviet Union. So liberals wanted to change American foreign policy — détente! — in a more pro-Soviet direction, accepting the Leninist critique of “Western imperialism” as essentially accurate, so that you had Jimmy Carter claiming (and evidently believing) that a U.S. commitment to “human rights” would somehow repair the damage to American international prestige.
Except it wasn’t about us. It was about them.
Ronald Reagan understood instinctively that the Cold War wasn’t America’s fault, and that it couldn’t be ended by making American policy less “imperialist” (mainly because imperialism was a propaganda accusation conjured up in Vladimir Lenin’s imagination). The Cold War could only end with the destruction of the Soviet Union, and so Reagan made that the object of his foreign policy.
Liberals have repeated in the post-Soviet era the same narcissistic error that made them so wrong during the Cold War: “It’s about us.”
After 9/11, liberals wrung their hands and asked, “Why do they hate us?” The most eloquent answer was provided by the Lebanese-American author Brigitte Gabriel: Because They Hate.
Some foreign policy scholar at Heritage or AEI really should write a monograph tracing the problem of Islamic terrorism back to its Cold War origins as a variant of the Soviet policy of fomenting “brush-fire wars” — crypto-nationalist uprisings in the Third World which were always (and not coincidentally) anti-Western and anti-American in their orientation. Yassir Arafat was to Palestinians what Ho Chi Minh was to the Vietnamese, and was likewise a Soviet client.
The Soviet Strategy of Terror has enjoyed a zombie-like existence for the past 20 years, outliving its original Marxist sponsors, because (a) liberals never came to grips with their Cold War errors, and (b) most conservatives have been afraid to be thought “McCarthyites” for calling attention to this neglected chapter of history. (It hasn’t helped, of course, that the author of the 1981 Heritage monograph subsequently fell into disfavor as a critic of neoconservatism, so that even while his analysis continues to be cited as authoritative, the Heritage Foundation itself has let Sam Francis’s seminal work lapse into obscurity.)
Ask yourself this: Why should Muslims from Pakistan and other places far away from the Middle East espouse the same anti-American and anti-Israel grievances as Palestinian radicals in Gaza and the West Bank? Why was the Soviet Union — fanatically devoted to an atheistic and internationalist ideology — nevertheless favorable to Arafat’s nationalist cause and to the Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic revolution in Iran? These questions are inextricably related, because the anti-American policies of the Soviets (which answer the second question) have endured as anti-American propaganda that answers the second question.
The fact that Islamic terrorists in Pakistan and Algeria and Somalia don’t acknowledge that their hatred of America has a Cold War origin does not change the fact that this is where it originated. If colonialism or imperialism actually explained the radical ideology of these terrorists, their wrath would be directed at France or Britain or other European powers that once colonized those places. Yet we not only find that radicals in these far-flung outposts of Islam make anti-Americanism a central part of their rhetoric, we are also startled (or, at least, we should be startled) to discover Muslims ranting against Israel and the Jews in places thousands of miles from Israel where there aren’t any Jews.
Our leaders cannot talk sense about this problem, mainly because they don’t understand the problem, in large part because the disciples of Edward Said have monopolized the subject in academia. So we have an updated version of Cold War liberalism — Blame America First 2.0 — that leads to the idiocy of the “Arab Spring,” and a State Department that doesn’t want to confront the reality of an al-Qaeda terrorist threat in post-Gaddhafi Libya. Bad ideas yield bad policy, so that the deaths of a U.S. Ambassador and three other Americans are viewed primarily as a public-relations problem for Hillary Clinton and he Democrat Party!
God help us.
Ann Coulter was right: Invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. The problem with the Bush policy was the political correctness of compassionate conservatism. We never got around to Phase Three because we were afraid to “impose our religion” on them. So now we have crazy Chechen jihadis blowing people up in Boston, and liberals telling us it’s America’s fault.