Monday, January 05, 2004

Self-hating Westerners...

I've been blog-free for a bit; but I thought I'd point out an interesting column by Victor Davis Hanson in National Review Online from December 30.

He notes that for some reason, many in the West are particularly self-loathing; why else would they spend so much time agonizing over Bush's liberation of Iraq and so little time mourning his victims?

Some choice quotes:
In liberating 50 million people from both the Taliban and Saddam Hussein it has lost so far less than 500 soldiers -- some of whom were killed precisely because they waged a war that sought to minimalize not just civilian casualties but even the killing of their enemies. Contrary to the invective of Western intellectuals, the American military’s sins until recently have been of omission -- preferring not to shoot looters or hunt down and kill insurgents -- rather than brutal commission. While the United States has conducted these successive wars some 7,000 miles beyond its borders, it also avoided another terrorist attack of the scale of September 11 -- and all the while crafting a policy of containment of North Korea and soon-to-be nuclear Iran.

Thus by any comparative standard of military history, the last two difficult years, despite setbacks and disappointments, represent a remarkable military achievement .Yet no one would ever gather even the slightest acknowledgment of such success from our Democratic grandees. Al Gore dubbed the Iraqi liberation a quagmire and, absurdly, the worst mistake in the history of American foreign policy. Howard Dean, more absurdly, suggested that the president of the United States might have had foreknowledge of September 11. Most Americans now shudder at the thought that the former might have been president in this time of crisis -- and that the latter still could be.

. . . .

[On television, another] worried-looking European analyst was raising the specter of a potential oppressed prisoner suffering at "Guantanamo" -- in voicing concern for the rights of Saddam Hussein! French trading with a mass murderer, profiting from selling him arms to butcher his own people is one thing; worrying that the same monster fully understands the nuances of Western jurisprudence while in the docket is quite another. Of course, our European humanist never noted that his own country’s pusillanimity over the last decade was responsible for abetting Saddam’s reign of terror even as someone else’s audacity was for ending it.

I could go on, but you get the picture of this current madness. There is something terribly wrong, something terribly amoral with the Western intelligentsia, most prominently in academia, the media, and politics. We don’t need Osama bin Laden's preschool jabbering about "the weak horse" to be worried about the causes of this Western disease: thousands of the richest, most leisured people in the history of civilization have become self-absorbed, ungracious, and completely divorced from the natural world -- the age-old horrific realities of dearth, plague, hunger, rapine, or conquest.

. . . .

Hatred of Israel is the most striking symptom of the Western disease. On the face of it the dilemma there is a no-brainer for any classic liberal: A consensual government is besieged by fanatical suicide killers who are subsidized and cheered on by many dictators in the Arab world. The bombers share the same barbaric methods as Chechens, the 9/11 murderers, al Qaedists in Turkey, and what we now see in Iraq.

Indeed, the liberal Europeans should love Israel, whose social and cultural institutions -- universities, the fine arts, concern for the "other" -- so reflect its own. Gays are in the Israeli military, whose soldiers rarely salute, but usually address each other by their first names and accept a gender equity that any feminist would love. And while Arabs once may have been exterminated by Syrians, gassed in Yemen by Egypt, ethnically cleansed in Kuwait, lynched without trial in Palestine, burned alive in Saudi Arabia, inside Israel proper they vote and enjoy human rights not found elsewhere in the Arab Middle East.

When Europe frets over the "Right of Return" do they mean the over half-million Jews who were sent running for their lives from Egypt, Syria, and Iraq? Or do they ever ask why a million Arabs live freely in Israel and another 100,000 illegally have entered the "Zionist entity"? Does a European ever ask what would happen should thousands of Jews demand "A Right of Return" to Cairo?


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