Is It 9/10 Again?
Daniel Pipes worries that we are going back to our pre-9/11 way of thinking as we re-establish the regulations, policies, and attitudes that blinded us to the attack on that fateful day. The acts of Congress that weaken our security only mirror the atmosphere in the media and the complacency among our fellow citizens. We once again view jihadist terrorism as a criminal act. There’s no mention of the ideology that drives the enemy or the extensive support in Islamic culture for jihadist ideals.
Pipes is right, but not completely. A careful examination suggests that the left has severed cognitive contact with reality just the right is becoming aware of the painful fact that a religious political ideology, Islam, is central to the motivation of the enemy. Over the past few weeks, I’ve written about several surprising changes among conservatives that appear to be a turning point in their thinking about the Islamic threat.
On the right, Human Events regularly publishes Robert Spencer and National Review has welcomed the debate to its e-pages with critical articles on Islam. Front Page Magazine has always welcomed the debate by publishing extensive criticism of the jihadist ideology (along with a Sufi convert who claims he represents the real Islam!) Even the President stated that an ideology is at the core of the problem but he still sees this ideology as an illegitimate version of Islam. Still, conservatives are debating the issue.
But what has happened to the left? Its traditional hostility towards religion has faded in the face of relativistic multi-culturalism. Blanket condemnations, common against Christianity, are replaced with a nuanced cautiousness when it comes to Islam; and this quickly evolves into a gushing approval that holds that Islam is far better than “our religion.” Why isn't the left arguing that Islam has all the faults of a religion but ten fold? Given their historical antipathy towards religion, this should have fit right into their style.
The left claims that Bush has fabricated a religious war against Islam—“those poor noble primitives who harm no one.” Thus, any criticism of Islam is seen as “playing into the hands of the administration.” Terms like Islamophobia are meant to intimidate anyone who wants to talk about Islam. Comparisons to the Cold War are employed to insinuate that those who warn about Islam are generating unwarranted fear—despite the fact that the murder of 150 million people by communism was indeed a horrific reality. The left is adopting the posture of anti-anti-Islam in a similar manner to their stance of anti-anti-Communism. Unable to sustain a defense of communism, they damned those who fought it as they now damn those that fight the Islamic threat.
The Bush administration, unable to properly define the Islamic threat, caves in to criticism. It compromises and often adopts the opposition’s position. Pipes documents the administration’s limitations in his article. Bush's compromises represent the past and a remnant of his initial non-partisan approach under the banner of "United We Stand." (Remember that?)
Going forward there is a gulf forming between conservatives and the left. Outside of the mainstream media, conservatives are waking up just as the left becomes willfully blind. It’s a glacier-like formation but ultimately the continents will separate. What we need on the right is informed and articulate intellectual and political leaders that will step into the vacuum created by the left and the current crop of appeasement Republicans.