Friday, September 08, 2006

Why Can't America Be More Like Saudi Arabia?

I agree with the minor goddess that it's old news when a Senate report concludes that there were no ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda; that Hussein, in fact, considered Al Qaeda to be a threat to his power; and that the group of Iraqi exiles led by Ahmed Chalabi fed the Bush administration false information to back up the equally fraudulent intelligence gathered by the White House intelligence team.

But that hasn't kept the usual suspects from using a Weekly Standard article recommended to the WaPo by Dick Cheney, for cripes' sake, as "proof" of the accuracy of the intelligence that Dick Cheney relied on to push the claimed connection between Hussein and Al Qaeda. That article is based entirely on a memo written by Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith -- a key architect of the plan to invade Iraq:

OSAMA BIN LADEN and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorist attacks, al Qaeda training camps and safe haven in Iraq, and Iraqi financial support for al Qaeda--perhaps even for Mohamed Atta--according to a top secret U.S. government memorandum obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

The memo, dated October 27, 2003, was sent from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith to Senators Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller, the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. It was written in response to a request from the committee as part of its investigation into prewar intelligence claims made by the administration. Intelligence reporting included in the 16-page memo comes from a variety of domestic and foreign agencies, including the FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency. Much of the evidence is detailed, conclusive, and corroborated by multiple sources. Some of it is new information obtained in custodial interviews with high-level al Qaeda terrorists and Iraqi officials, and some of it is more than a decade old. The picture that emerges is one of a history of collaboration between two of America's most determined and dangerous enemies.

Nor do White House officials feel at all embarrassed about repeating transparent lies in order to dismiss the Senate report's conclusions:

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow responded to the report by saying that lawmakers "got a good look at the intelligence we had and they came to the very same conclusions about what was going on." Of course, as Snow surely knows, he's completely wrong -- the president and Congress did not have access to the same intelligence, a point that's been highlighted repeatedly for several years now.

On a related note, Michael Berube has an amusing post on a leading neoconservative intellectual who has just published a book that attacks the left, advocates a policy of appeasement toward Islamic religious extremists, and blames America for 9/11 -- all at the same time.

While everyone else in the liberal blogosphere is focused on the world-historical shenanigans of ABC-Disney-Rove's fictionalized docudrama, The Path to 9/11: Clinton Did It (original title: A Million Little Pieces of the Democrats' Plan to Undermine America), I figure that somebody around here ought to be paying attention to the Old Media, namely, books.

So it is in the spirit of bookselling hucksterism that I bring you the new fall line for Outer Wingnuttia, courtesy of Dinesh D'Souza:

In THE ENEMY AT HOME, bestselling author Dinesh D'Souza makes the startling claim that the 9/11 attacks and other terrorist acts around the world can be directly traced to the ideas and attitudes perpetrated by America's cultural left.

D'Souza shows that liberals -- people like Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank, Bill Moyers, and Michael Moore -- are responsible for fostering a culture that angers and repulses not just Muslim countries but also traditional and religious societies around the world. Their outspoken opposition to American foreign policy -- including the way the Bush administration is conducting the war on terror -- contributes to the growing hostility, encouraging people both at home and abroad to blame America for the problems of the world. He argues that it is not our exercise of freedom that enrages our enemies, but our abuse of that freedom -- from the sexual liberty of women to the support of gay marriage, birth control, and no-fault divorce, to the aggressive exportation of our vulgar, licentious popular culture.

The cultural wars at home and the global war on terror are usually viewed as separate problems. In this groundbreaking book, D'Souza shows that they are one and the same. It is only by curtailing the left's attacks on religion, family, and traditional values that we can persuade moderate Muslims and others around the world to cooperate with us and begin to shun the extremists in their own countries

No, dear friends, this is not one of my parody posts.

According to D'Souza, 9/11 was brought to you by people legitimately outraged by the sexual liberty of women, gay marriage, birth control, and no-fault divorce. Not to mention Bill Moyers. For who can forget Osama bin Laden's searing videotape of fall 2001, in which he speaks of "eighty years" of Arab "humiliation and disgrace," calls for the restoration of the Caliphate, and condemns the United States for "no-fault divorce" and its impact on the traditional family? "Your Barney Frank has always repelled me," added bin Laden in the October 2004 tape that is widely credited with boosting George Bush's re-election campaign. "I was most pleased when your Dick Armey called him 'Barney Fag,' and I urge your homosexuals to stop abusing the freedom to choose their life partners. Also, your Michael Moore is considerably overweight."

Interesting, isn't it? D'Souza seems to be telling us that America has to move further toward the extreme cultural and religious right in order to attract the support of the cultural and religious moderates in the Muslim world. One question: Why should Americans care whether countries that have no religious or cultural freedom think that we are abusing our freedom? And why should we change our conception of freedom to conform to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's or Pervez Musharraf's conception of freedom?

Maybe D'Souza can address those questions in his next book.

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