Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Anti-Semitism: Last Refuge of the Scoundrel

Is there a more disreputable member of the professional chattering class then Wall Street Journal scribbler James Taranto?

In his September 7th column, Taranto pulls out the old canard that Pat Buchanan is an anti-Semite. In fact, according to Taranto, Pat is joined at the hip with Osama Bin Laden. Here is a morsel from the “Meet the Press” transcript that has Taranto in a flutter:

Russert: You have written something in your book that I think is going to be quite controversial and I want to put it on the screen and share it with you and our viewers and give a chance for our group to respond to it:

"U.S. dominance of the Middle East is not the corrective to terror. It is a cause of terror. Were we not over there, the 9/11 terrorists would not have been over here. And while their acts were murderous and despicable, behind their atrocities lay a political motive. We were attacked because of our imperial presence on the sacred soil of the land of Mecca and Medina, because of our enemies' perception that we were strangling the Iraqi people with sanctions and preparing to attack a second time, and because of our uncritical support of the Likud regime of Ariel Sharon" in Israel.

Are you suggesting that our alliance with Israel is one of the reasons that we were attacked on September 11?

Buchanan: Sure. That's one of the reasons given by Osama bin Laden. In his fatwa of 1998, he wrote that there are three causes of the problems and three causes for a declaration of war by all Arabs and good Muslims against the United States. One, America's imperial presence on the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia. Secondly, the sanctions policy against Iraq which was persecuting and basically starving, he said, the Iraqi people, and we were planning another invasion. Third is the United States' uncritical support of the Ariel Sharon regime in Israel, which he argued is persecuting the Palestinian people.


That unabashed American support for Israel is a source of irritation in the Arabic and Islamic world ought to be beyond dispute. Apparently, however, to bring up the obvious is taboo and beyond the pale of legitimate discussion.

In point of fact, to posit that there are any political or policy reasons for Islamic rage is to court the charge of anti-Americanism, and anti-Semitism. That America is hated because she is “good” or practices “democracy” or believes in “freedom” has become part of our national mythology, taken as an article of faith.

If Taranto and his ilk are to be believed, Osama Bin Laden was stumbling across the Sudan or crawling out of an Afghani cave in the 1990’s and came upon a dog-eared copy of the Federalist Papers and the latest Britney Spears CD and decided that, lo and behold, he hated America, and would do everything in his power to drive the Great Satan out of historically Islamic lands.

Unfortunately, the cold truth is that we are hated not for who we are, but for what for we do. The US can continue one-sided support for Israel; she can continue propping up “moderate” regimes hated by the Islamic faithful; she can continue on a path of never-ending interventionism that is the source of terror; she can continue down the imperial path. But to do so will bring about the loss of American prestige, blood, and treasure.

Cicero said that, "To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.” We are living in an age governed by children who have forgotten or neglected the wisdom of generations past.

In his Farewell Address, Washington urged a policy that would, “steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.” John Q. Adams said of America that she “does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."

We continue to neglect the wisdom of our forefathers at our peril. Our beloved Republic has exchanged a birthright of liberty for the imperial pottage offered up by the neocons who, in the words of Russell Kirk, frequently confuse Washington with Tel Aviv.

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