The purpose of this protest is as simple as it is crucial: to confront the two Big Lies of the political left: that George Bush created the war on terror and that Global Warming is a greater danger to Americans than the terrorist threat. Nothing could be more politically incorrect than to point this out. But nothing could be more important for American students to hear. In the face of the greatest danger Americans have ever confronted, the academic left has mobilized to create sympathy for the enemy and to fight anyone who rallies Americans to defend themselves. According to the academic left, anyone who links Islamic radicalism to the war on terror is an “Islamophobe.” According to the academic left, the Islamo-fascists hate us not because we are tolerant and free, but because we are “oppressors.”
from “A Student’s Guide to Hosting Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, ” on the Terrorism Awareness Project.
Once you start reading this stuff you really feel that you have fallen down the rabbit hole. Even in strict linguistic terms it is hard to make sense of any of it. The idea is that a tactic, the use of terrorist violence, is a larger problem than a global-wide climatic disaster. The problem, too, is that these academic leftists– not the 70 plus percent of the U.S. who believe the war in Iraq should end– are forcing us all to be “politically correct.”
Even stranger, this argument is being made against all of the evidence that has piled up to explain the sources of terrorism and to suggest strategies that might do more than simply destroy a country already reeling from years of a violent dictatorship and devastating sanctions. Perhaps the whole problem is that these recent acts of violence against the U.S. have such a simple explanation that it’s just not very satisfying.
Robert Pape has made a very compelling argument based in a close examination of what terrorists claim as motivation. The American Conservative (hardly a bastion of liberalism) published an interview with him last year. “The central fact,” Pape says, “is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland.”
Religion does play a role, Pape found. “When there is a religious difference between the occupier and the occupied, that enables terrorist leaders to demonize the occupier in especially vicious ways.” The U.S. occupation of land in the Middle East, then, has a doubly explosive effect. Leaving the Middle East– not just Iraq but also Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Afghanistan, among others– would not silence bin Landen, Pape says, but fewer would listen.
So these Islamo-Facists proponents are just looking for something dark and complicated to hang their paranoia on. Hyperbole is hard when the problem is just that we need to stop occupying other countries. It’s interesting to think about how far they would be willing to go with their thesis. The Old Testament, for example, argues that ‘an eye for an eye’ ought to be the ethical norm. Does that make the U.S. death penalty an example of the dominance of Christo-Facism? I guess, then, the death penalty is linked to the KKK, Timothy McVeigh, and those nuts who kill doctors and bomb clinics.
It’s also always amazing to hear that academia is full of leftists and radicals. I bet there are a lot of English and Philosophy departments who would love to think that is true but research tends to show otherwise. Socially, they put on quite a show sometimes but universities are very conservative places run by business people. What’s most frightening is that large slices of the public have apparently taken the Orwellian bait and begun to believe freedom of speech has to be quashed in order for freedom of speech to be protected.
In a review of a survey of academic political culture, (“Americans’ Views of Political Bias in the Academy and Academic Freedom“) John W. Curtis, AAUP Director of Research, worried that 65% of respondents agreed with this statement: ““Public universities should be able to dismiss professors who join radical political organizations like the communist party.” On a more positive note, about the same number agreed that professors have a right to express anti-War views in their classrooms. We’re a complicated people.