Eric Scheie has a piece that rips into Dinesh D’Souza’s latest book accusing liberals of being somehow complicit in 9/11.
I’m with him. D’Souza has gone beyond the pale. His argument is on the far edge of what constitutes fair commentary. It is simply and completely wrong to blame America’s liberals with the terrorists who executed the atrocities of September 11, 2001. D’Souza’s argument — that America’s culture provoked the terrorists into acting, gives the terrorists rhetorical cover and tries to rationalize their inhuman acts. D’Souza tries to finesse the argument, but there’s nothing to finesse. It’s a wrongheaded and destructive argument.
Islamic radicals didn’t attack the United States because they dislike only parts of our culture. They attacked because the very nature of our culture conflicts with their values. When the Egyptian Islamist Sayyid Qutb visited conservative Greeley, Colorado in 1949 he found it to be entirely un-Islamic. If D’Souza thinks that some kind of alliance between traditionalist Americans and traditionalist Muslims will be successful and an aid to the war on terrorism, he is entirely mistaken. It’s not only foolish, but destructive.
To be frank, D’Souza’s argument is personally revolting. I’m ashamed that conservatives are supporting an argument that provides such apologia for America’s enemies. One can make the argument that the left has emboldened the terrorists, but to take it to the extreme that the left is responsible for 9/11 in some way is simply ridiculous. Our enemies despise us for educating women, tolerating dissent, being capitalist, and producing a quality of life for our citizens that is the envy of the globe. Trying to bow to their demands is no less odious than arguing that we should have found common ground with the Nazis during the Second World War.
A younger, wiser D’Souza once stated:
America is under attack as never before — not only from terrorists but also from people who provide a justification for terrorism. Islamic fundamentalists declare America the Great Satan. Europeans rail against American capitalism and American culture. South American activists denounce the United States for “neocolonialism” and oppression.
“Anti-Americanism from abroad would not be such a problem if Americans were united in standing up for their own country. But in this country itself, there are those who blame America for most of the evils in the world. On the political left, many fault the United States for a history of slavery, and for continuing inequality and racism. Even on the right, traditionally the home of patriotism, we hear influential figures say that America has become so decadent that we are “slouching towards Gomorrah.”
If these critics are right, then America should be destroyed.
Those critics are not right, even when D’Souza is one of them.
UPDATE: Scott Johnson of Power Line also finds the book horrendous. D’Souza’s not a dumb man, but either this is the literary equivalent to an internet troll or he’s lost sight of both the enemy and ourselves.