Michael J. Totten

Saturday, March 01, 2003

Who's the Poodle?

If the Americans were not doing this, I would be pressuring them to do so. - Tony Blair, March 1st

From a Reader

I like this letter.

If it's any consolation, I'm a fairly liberal Boomer who shares your disgust at my generation for the reasons you enumerate in your post of February 28. But I have to work with a lot of my academics who seem to have just hit the snooze alarm after 9/11 and returned to their imagined community, so *don't use my name* if you quote anything.

I'm not sure what made me drift apart. Maybe it was having to serve in the military--unlike most of my colleagues--during the height of the draft era (safely Stateside the whole time, fortunately). Maybe it was not pursuing an academic career. Maybe it's having spent a year in Eastern Europe before 1989. Maybe it's being an expatriate southerner and hearing my fill of the nasty regional fear and loathing of northern liberals. Maybe it was growing up among enough devout traditional Christians to realize they're no more deluded or prejudiced or hypocritical than anybody else--certainly no more so than the secular hard left. Maybe it was devouring too many new books on the Middle East after 9/11, especially those by Ahmed Rashid, Fouad Ajami, and Bernard Lewis. Maybe it's reading too many hawkish liberal bloggers or columnists like Hitchens--people who actually questioned their worldviews in the light of mounting new evidence, and then rethought them. Maybe it's just being a born-and-raised contrarian. But I think a lot of it has come from witnessing too many kneejerk paroxysms of haughty, holier-than-thou denial and demonization by the old left.

Friday, February 28, 2003

Generation Gap

Mike Silverman links to a Time magazine poll that shows young people are far more likely to support the invasion of Iraq than older people.

I am not a bit surprised.

Look at my picture. You can tell I'm not a Baby Boomer. I am 32 years old. I missed the 60s completely and experienced the 70s as a child. I saw the movie Tommy before I was ten and it scared the snot out of me. Woodstock? Never heard of it until college. Socialism? Discredited and bankrupt before I was born. Left-wing extremists rioted at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968? The Democrat's convention? For God's sake! No wonder the left is so dysfunctional. We're still trying to recover from that violent day.

I have nothing to do with Boomers. No offense to my older readers, but I find Boomers ridiculous. It's their fault liberalism has been corroded by pacifism. They are the ones who brought Christian religious extremism back into practice. It is they who foist Political Correctness onto my generation, the overwhelming majority of whom find it repulsive. It is they who seized Wall Street and brought back fat cat robber barons and greed.

The media are overwhelmingly dominated by these people. Look at the blogosphere. Gen X runs it. I swear to you the reason you find much less bullshit here is because of the Generation Gap. We Xers are far more steeped in realism than our elders. Why is the "liberal" media so full of peaceniks? They're Boomers. That's why. It has less to do with "liberalism" than with age.

We Gen Xers practically raised ourselves. Single-family homes. Latch-key kids. All that. Our parents weren't around as much and we figured out the real world by ourselves. Boomers in their time were infamous for "arrested adolescence." They still suffer this disease today.

So no, I'm not surprised the young are more anti-Saddam than their parents. I figured all along that this was the case. Thanks, Mike Silverman, for finding a poll that settled it once and for all.

What Chirac Wants

Andrew Apostolou at the Foundation for Defense of Demcracies says France is deliberately keeping helpful intelligence from the UN weaspons inspectors. Why? Because Chirac's goal is not the disarmament of Iraq. Nor does he care about appeasing Saddam Hussein. Chirac wants to inflict a "humiliating defeat" on the United States to provide a "better world balance."

The United States liberated France from Nazi Germany in 1944.

Disgruntled in Paris

Tired of French weaseling? Had it with the cheese-eating surrender monkeys? I give you The Dissident Frogman.

The Blog Interview

As the blogosphere grows it is becoming a critical sector of journalism.

Today on Israpundit Joseph Norland interviews former NSA analyst James J Welsh, where they discuss Yasser Arafat's culpability in the murders of two US diplomats in Sudan.

The Plan

Here is a description of the post-war Iraq plan. Liberals will like this. Conservatives opposed to "international social work" won't. Too bad.

From the Mailbag

A reader writes:

I don't know if you read Bush At War or not, but at the end of the book, Bush states "There's nothing bigger than to achieve world peace," and wanted to leave that as his legacy.

Would a Conservative even state such an ambition? No. Ideological conservatives are, by nature, protectionists and envision "fortress America" to guarantee US peace. And if Bush were an oil hungry fascist, he would have exploited 9/11 to get Saddam to cancel his oil contracts with France, then lift sanctions, and declare Saddam a "partner in the war on terror." Such a move would have been endorsed by world opinion for the simple facts that: we'd have one more dictator who is a partner in the "war on terror"; lifting sanctions and "burying the hatchet" would have been seen as morally upright and "big" of Bush to not try to "settle daddy’s score"; we'd have another "secular ally" in the region; oil companies would be pumping out of Iraq so fast that you and I would be paying $1 a gallon and the economy would be in a full recovery now.

What Bush is doing is region-building modeled on a liberal internationalist ideal. That cannot be denied.

- Adam Sullivan

A Necessary Question

A few months ago on Fox's Hannity and Colmes Alan Colmes asked an anti-war guest what could make him change his mind and back a war. The poor kid was hamstrung by the question. He turned red-faced, and he stammered. He never once thought of the possibility. He didn't have an answer, and it killed the interview. It was excruciating to watch. I really felt bad for him.

Pro-war lefty Mike Silverman was asked the same question. What would make you change your mind? Here is his excellent answer. I agree with him completely.

A Bad Peace

Reality has a way of changing minds. British journalist Julius Strauss went to Iraq and was transformed from a dove into a hawk.

In my time as a journalist I have seen the ethnic cleansing of Bosnia and the burning villages of Kosovo. I watched as Milosevic's stormtroopers, their minds addled by paranoia and hatred, levelled entire villages with little more than a Zippo lighter and a few cans of petrol. In Sierra Leone, I saw children - arms or legs hacked off by drugged-up thugs - struggle to haul themselves into broken wheelchairs. I even interviewed the thugs that maimed them, 15- and 16-year-olds with glazed eyes and heads full of demons.

In Afghanistan and Chechnya, the misery and suffering wrought often beggared description. But nothing could have prepared me for the odious evil of Saddam Hussein's rule.


Thousands of Iraqis are still being executed without trial, and tens of thousands routinely tortured. Millions live in a state of numb fear. As I stood this week watching the dispossessed coming across the border into Kurdistan, I spoke to Kak Adil, the officer in charge of the Kurdish post. "They all have stories of beatings and brutal killings at the hands of Saddam," he said. "Only his servants live without fear."

I have met grown-up men who say they pray each day for the death of the dictator. The evil is there for all to see in Halabja, a small town the Iraqis gassed in 1988. It is in the wheezing chests of the women seeing out the remainder of their miserable lives and the red eyes of the men who cannot forget the sight of blood dribbling from the mouths of the dying children. Halabja has rates of leukaemia, cancer and congenital conditions many times the Iraqi norm. One doctor who works in the town told me: "A woman came to see me two months ago. She had given birth to a little girl who had no feet." Who could argue with taking action against the regime responsible for such outrages?

Assos Hardi, the editor of the liberal newspaper Hawalati in Sulaimania, was more mathematical in his appraisal. He said: "How many people do you think will die if America attacks Saddam? It will probably be less than the number of people he kills in a single month."

Some people have a simplistic view of peace. They view it only as the absence of shooting between the armies of separate states. There is a difference between a good peace and a bad peace. There is the peace that comes with democracy and prosperity. And there is the peace of the dungeon and the grave.

The anti-war movement campaigns for the latter whether they see it that way or not. Invasion and regime-change has the opportunity to create a peace that lasts.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Who is George W. Bush?

Many conservatives made fools of themselves throughout the 1990s by demonizing Bill Clinton as a left-wing extremist. Clinton was in many ways a closet conservative. Some of us on the left noticed and rebelled by voting for Ralph Nader in 1996. It was our way of saying, hey, look left. You suck.

I voted for Nader again in the year 2000. Partly because Al Gore was not a liberal to me. He occupied a black hole in the neutralist nihilist center. He liked to call it "the vital center," but it was anything but that. My illusions about Clinton and Gore were dashed in 1994. They were not the men I thought they were.

Something similar but better is happening with George W. Bush. I saw it coming years ago. I had to ask myself...if I vote for Nader and help elect Bush, am I okay with that? I decided that, yes, I was. He was no right-wing extremist, and I knew it. If I thought that he were, I would have held my nose and pulled for Gore. But neither Bush nor Gore were very far from the center, just as Ralph Nader said. I still think that's true. The radical left used to know it, but has forgotten. Pat Buchanan knew and did not forget.

I scoff when Bush is called a fascist and terrorist. Not only because I know the difference (huge) between a conservative and a fascist, but because I hate it when liberals are called socialists and worse. I am not playing that game.

Since September 11 I have watched Bush turn sharply leftward. Today he takes a much more activist role in government. He speaks for women's rights in Afghanistan. Before Osama bin Laden, only feminist activists and their friends were against the Taliban.

Bush joins Edward Said and promotes an independent democratic Palestine. Bill Clinton never went that far. (Said is furious that George Bush agrees with him. He is an idiot who cannot count his blessings.)

Bush has resurrected the dream of Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic president and famous liberal internationalist who vowed to make the world safe for democracy. Bush is the most Wilsonian president since Wilson. This is not conservative.

In the current issue of the New Republic Lawrence F. Kaplan suggests Bush is a closet liberal. Today Andrew Sullivan says Bush is becoming a neoconservative.

Understand that neoconservatives are ex-leftists. They left the left, but still hold onto a piece of it. Some of them will deny this. Others will smile proudly and say it's true.

You could say that Kaplan and Sullivan are silly, that Bush is merely becoming more of a centrist. This is not so. Tectonic plates have shifted. This is not the moderation of a "compassionate" conservative.

George W. Bush is bringing liberalism to the Arab world, which has never known it. This is sweeping and epic. It is not the project for the squeamish middle of the road. David Broder epitomizes that. Bush has become a radical, a radical advocate of global liberal democracy. This is what neoconservatives are. This is what liberal hawks and muscular human rights activists are.

It is the greatest thing America offers the world. It is why Iranian revolutionaries cried in anguish on September 11. It is why the Chinese students at Tiananmen Square erected a replica of the Statue of Liberty when they faced down the regime. It is why Eastern Europeans do not take to the streets in denunciation of America. It is why I am so glad I live here, more than I ever have been before. Not proud to be an American; glad to be an American, and proud of America.

I did not vote for Bush. I don't expect I will in 2004. But I do think I know him, as most in the world and most in this country do not.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Bush: Less Conservative Than You Think

Christopher Hitchens reminds us why America needs a liberal foreign policy.

When George W. Bush was running for president, he campaigned energetically against Al Gore by objecting to the idea of "nation-building" (and, incidentally, to the Clinton-era practice of employing "secret evidence" in trials of suspected terrorists). After taking office, he opened an early discussion on the possibility of lifting Iraqi sanctions, which had obviously begun to suffer from diminishing returns. He even considered reviewing the "no-fly" zones that, for a wearisome decade or so, had placed an Anglo-American protective shield over the Kurdish and Shiite zones of Saddam's awful dominion.

In all of these respects, Bush was giving a sympathetic ear to a group of oilmen and generals, the first of whom did not like to see Iraqi oil being traded only with other countries, and the second of whom did not care to risk their sophisticated aircraft on drab, routine missions. Within his Cabinet and elsewhere in his administration, the president included a number of people who still believed that his father had been right, in 1991, to evacuate Iraq while leaving the Saddam Hussein regime in place. (Of this group, as far as I know, George Bush Sr. remains a dues-paying member, as do Brent Scowcroft and Lawrence Eagleburger. Only Vice President Dick Cheney, of the original team, is understood to have changed his mind—and that could well be for reasons of loyalty.)

There is a case to be made that the post-911 Bush Doctrine is not conservative at all. If you were to sit down and cobble together a foreign policy based explicitly on liberal principles, it would look a lot like what we already have. Do not mistake pacifism or multilateralism for foreign policies; they are not policies, they are avoidance behaviors.

A liberal foreign policy would vigorously oppose Bush 41's limited mission against Saddam in 1991. A liberal foreign policy would have required regime-change and democratization in both Iraq and Kuwait after the ejection of Saddam Hussein.

At the time of the Gulf War, the ghosts of Vietnam haunted the left. But that was not the only reason for Democratic opposition. Partly it was just politics. But also because we regime-changed the new Kuwaiti dictatorship back to the old one. Why should we fight and die for foreign dictators? Very few liberals think it's worth it.

War for status quo is conservative. War against tyranny - and for democracy - is both liberal and radical.

I wish more Democrats could see it this way, especially after Bosnia and Kosovo. But do take note. There are many more liberal hawks now than there were in '91. And there will be a whole lot more in the future.

Liberalism and American Power

Leon Weiseltier has another great piece in the New Republic, this about liberalism and American power.

Can a liberal support this president in this war? I do not see why not. The United States, its needs and its duties, is larger than any of its leaders. The war against Saddam Hussein is just, and it is truly a last resort. (Saddam Hussein has been in violation of the Security Council for twelve years. It is his unrestrained contempt for the United Nations, and not the Bush administration's restrained contempt for the United Nations, that may destroy the institution.) There were some Republicans who despised Bill Clinton as much as some Democrats despise George W. Bush, but they supported the American interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo, and thereby they rose above politics to history, above sectarianism to Americanism. I cannot imagine any strenuous construction of liberalism that does not include the injunction to fight terror and to fight genocide. Liberalism is not a philosophy of innocence; and it should make tyrants quake, not smile.

Oh, for a liberalism that makes tyrants quake! We know what that looks like; Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson. Bill Clinton, briefly, when he stomped on Slobodan Milosovic.

A liberalism that makes tyrants smile is an aberration, however popular at this particular moment. Only four years ago conservatives were soft on Balkan fascism while liberal Americans ended it. Since America became a power, only one pacifist liberal - Jimmy Carter - has been president.

After September 11 there will be no pacifist liberals in the White House. Those in the Democratic Party still haunted by Vietnam should remember two things about their patron senator George McGovern.

One: he lost in a landslide even as pacifism peaked in popularity.

Two: After Richard Nixon beat him, he campaigned for the overthrow of Pol Pot's regime in Cambodia. He didn't do it because that position was popular. Hardly. He stood nearly alone against the Khmer Rouge. Pol Pot was far more vicious than the Viet Cong, and had nearly zero support in the countryside. Pol Pot was beatable, and more worth fighting. And so McGovern's former pacifism imploded.

Pacifism is hard work. It's not easy for a liberal conscience to maintain it. The two positions are mutually exclusive; one must eventually give way to the other.

Will there be peace in Iraq? Wrong question. The choice - right now - is between war and fascism, war and slavery, war and terrorism, war and genocide.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Oil and Dictatorship

Salon debunks the lie that Bush wants war in Iraq to steal its oil. The oil companies are, in fact, opposed to war.

The writer, Dan Baum, uses straight logic to explain that oil companies will not come out ahead because of this war. The oil companies want stability. It makes no difference to them who owns the oil wells. It could be Satan or Uncle Sam; their profits will not change. The one thing they don't want is upheaval and war.

For these reasons, the oil companies have been lobbying for peace with Saddam. Everyone who was paying attention to Iraq before September 11 knows this is true.

The radical left is right about one thing. The oil companies have a nefarious agenda in the Middle East. They want to keep all the nasty dictators in place. It is good for business. That, folks, is blood for oil.

The radical left used to be against this sort of thing. I liked the radical left then. I do not like them anymore.

Wanted: A Liberal John McCain

Peter Beinart, the editor of The New Republic, calls for a Democratic John McCain.

Just as John McCain compared Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell to Al Sharpton in 2000, a true Democratic insurgent should compare Mr. Sharpton to Messrs. Robertson and Falwell. The outcry in the party would be deafening, just as it would be if a Democratic candidate truly challenged the near-pacifism that permeates the Democratic grassroots. And that candidate would almost certainly lose the nomination.

But in so doing, he could provide a rallying cry for that large and quiet contingent of Democrats who don't want to surrender the party to race-baiters and ultra-doves. And when the Democrats lose the 2004 election -- as they surely will if they pander to Mr. Sharpton and the anti-war base -- it is that McCain-like insurgency that could inherit a party finally forced to recognize that it is deep in the wilderness.

Before the Democrats can truly challenge the GOP, they have to challenge themselves.

What a breath of fresh air Mr. Beinart is. He is young and smart and talented. He is the future face of American liberalism, so long as he won't quit. The radical left has strapped on a suicide belt. The rest of us need to get out of the way of the shrapnel when it goes off.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Civil War

In the runup to the 2004 presidential election, the simmering Civil War on the left is going to explode in public. It's already starting.

Last night, Dennis Kucinich (D-Iraq) said on Meet the Press that Bush wants regime change so he can steal Saddam's oil.

Pentagon advisor Richard Perle huffed up and called him a "liar." This never happens in Washington. And the ulta-nice liberal host Tim Russert grew visibly impatient with Dennis Kucinich's bullshit.

Today, another ulta-nice liberal, the Washington Post's Richard Cohen, takes Kucinich apart.

Something truly awful has happened. The looming war has already become deeply and biliously ideological. By that I mean that the extremes on both sides -- but particularly the war's opponents -- no longer feel compelled to prove a case or stick to the facts. As with Vietnam, this is becoming an emotional battle between ideologues who, as usual, don't give a damn about the truth.

This is strong language for Richard Cohen. I've always liked the guy, but I often wish he would toughen up on his targets. This time he did. And, like me, he is using his strongest language against people supposedly on our "side."

If he and his fellow antiwar candidates are going to turn a complex debate into an ideological brawl, then one outcome of the potential war will not be in doubt: The Democratic Party will lose.

No doubt. This is one of the reasons why I spend so much time attacking the jerks to my left. I want the Democratic Party to win. But it must deserve to win, or it needs to lose. I must put my country before my party. And it drives me crazy when I get lumped in with these people.

I have not read Ann Coulter's new book Treason. So I probably shouldn't write about it. But if she's sticking to her usual shtick, she'll call me a treasonous bastard by implication.

This is as much Kucinich's fault as it is Coulter's.

Rep. Kucinich: May John Edwards, Dick Gephardt, and Joe Lieberman break you, humiliate you, and kick your ass from Des Moines to Baghdad in the primary.

Equal Time for Saddam

Dan Rather has interviewed Saddam Hussein, and Saddam challenges George Bush to a TV debate.

The idea is, of course, ridiculous. Bush won't dignify Saddam with a response. If Bush agreed, Saddam would send a surgically-modified double.

But I'll admit my own curiosity. What would Saddam say in defense in himself? What's it like to watch the monster in action?

A recent poll shows Europeans are basically split when asked who is more dangerous, Bush or Saddam. How stupid can Europe get? A child could figure that out. This sort of thing only confuses adults in Western Europe, and adolescent reactionaries in America.

But in my own little world I'd love to see this happen. We could set it up like the presidential debates. Jim Leher could moderate. Viewers could ask questions at the end. We could have instant international reaction polls. Who won the debate? Tell us what you think!

I'd love to see a post-debate opinion poll from France that looked like this.

Who won the debate?

Saddam - 85 percent
Bush - 9 percent
Undecided - 6 percent

It would be a clarifying moment. The US could stop pretending the French matter. Everyone else could stop pretending they're smart and sophisticated.

What North Korea Doesn't Need

Here is a waste of paper and pixels by Jonathan Watts in the Guardian about North Korea's "image problem." Mr. Watts seems to believe North Korea's problems are solely because it does not know how to "communicate" its point of view properly to the rest of the world, and that everyone is being mean to it.

Given North Korea's manifold woes, public relations probably ranks very low on the list of the Pyongyang government's priorities, but if there was ever a country in need of an image consultant it is this one.

Scapegoats rarely come so perfectly packaged. No bullying victim could make life easier for its tormentors.


North Korea has a good claim to be the injured party. It is, after all, the nation suffering most in the region. Desperately poor, threatened with famine and deprived of energy, the country - once one of only two industrialised nations in Asia - is slipping back into the dark ages.

North Korea's problems are the fault of China, South Korea, and the United States. Bad countries! Be nice to North Korea!

But how can anybody sympathise while the North's media scream out outlandishly bellicose rhetoric? It seems that the country has fallen further behind in the field of mass communications than in any other area.


The very real danger is that North Korea has become such an incompetent communicator that its real intentions are not being taken seriously.

This is the only danger he identifies with North Korea in the entire article. There is no mention whatsoever that North Korea is run by a psychotic dictator, or that any of its problems are self-inflicted.

And what are North Korea's "real" intentions, Mr. Watts? Do tell. Perhaps you should volunteer your services to the regime. Be a pal. Give Kim Jong Il and his cronies a hand.

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Psychological Warfare

The Bush Administration is lying. A lot.

Bush says he has not decided whether or not to go to war. War plans are "leaked." Different reasons for going to war are publicized on a rotating basis. Various post-war Iraq plans are pitched to different people on different days. Bush says "regime change" is the goal, then pushes only for disarmament. Condoleeza Rice says we are not going to war to install another dictator, and then we hear rumours of coup-mongering. No one knows what is really going on, and no one knows what the plan is.


This is normal.

The Bush Administration is waging psychological warfare. The target is Saddam Hussein and his regime. Secondary targets include the Arab dictatorships next door, whose cooperation is crucial. European diplomats are peripheral "soft" targets.

The American people are not in the crosshairs.

The debate within the United States over whether to go to war with Iraq was settled when Congress granted the authorization for the use of force. The debate within the world at large was settled when the UN unanimously passed Resolution 1441. The post-war Iraq plan was settled long before.

At this point, everything the Bush Adminstration says in public is designed to weaken and mislead Saddam Hussein and to acquire maximum leverage in the Arab states from where we will launch the invasion. In order to get permission to use Arabian airfields, if Donald Rumsfeld needs to say to the Saudis that our dream for a post-war Iraq is a Ba'athist dictator with no moustache, he'll say that. If Bush wants to pressure the Republican Guard to turn against Saddam, he'll say he wants to put them in power when all this is over.


Don't believe a word of it.

If Bush were to go on TV and say that Iraq will be democratized in order to set off a chain reaction of regime-changed dictatorships, you can bet your bottom dollar that the House of Saud will say "no" to the use of its airspace. If Donald Rumsfeld were to announce that every member of the Ba'athist regime will be stripped from power and tried for Crimes Against Humanity, the odds of the Saddam's inner flunkies taking him out will be zero.

So forget all this stuff about America "abandoning" its goal for democracy in Iraq. Just remember that disinformation is a crucial component of war. And consider the audience for all this disinformation right now. It isn't you. And it isn't me.

We should not expect the Bush Administration to tell the truth to the American people all the time. No Administration ever does that. Bush is full of it on a fairly regular basis. Just listen to Ari Fleischer's press conferences. They are case studies in spin and evasion.

All this is normal. It's normal for politics, alas. But it is normal and even appropriate in a time of war.

Andrew Sullivan, Kanan Makiya, and Peter Beinart have been grousing lately that Bush has abandoned democracy plans in Iraq. You folks need to relax. It's all well and good that you continue to press for democracy. That's your job, and it's my job, and it's the job of Bush's domestic political opponents (as well as his supporters).

Just remember a couple of things that you already know. This war is the brain-child of Paul Wolfowitz. The oil companies did not dream this up. Neither did Dick Cheney, and certainly not the House of Saud or the Gulf sheiks.

And Paul Wolfowitz has been on a democratize-the-Arabs crusade for years. It has become his reason for existence. He has Bush's ear, and Bush trusts him. Bush likes how Wolfowitz thinks, and shares his goals. Just because the Administration says things on the sly to mislead the despots in the region does not mean you should assume what it's saying is true.

Just to underscore the point, Paul Wolfowitz met a group of Iraqi exiles this weekend (who are much more hawkish than he), and this is what he said to them.

[Iraq] is not going to be handed over to some junior Saddam Hussein. We're not interested in replacing one dictator with another dictator. We have one of the most powerful military forces ever assembled. If we commit those forces, we're not going to commit them for anything less than a free and democratic Iraq.

That is the truth, and it has been all along. It cannot be restated often enough. Soon, quite soon, it will be stated very loudly for all to hear. Just as soon as we sit in Iraq and can tell the Gulf thugs to go the hell.

That time has not yet arrived. Patience.

A Good Fisking

Tim Blair does a great job fisking Jason Leopold. Check it out, and learn something interesting.

No Peace

Well, surprise surprise surprise.

The "peace" group Not in Our Name, organizer of "peace" rallies, is funded by Sami Al-Arian, a leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad who was arrested in South Florida last week. He was, until recently, the president of Not in Our Name. He is a terrorist, and a leader and patron of terrorists. (Via LGF.)

If anyone has been troubled by my using quotes to describe "peace" groups, understand this is the reason I do it. These people are not for "peace." They are for war. War against Jews and Americans. The organizers of "peace" rallies profess open support for Kim Jong Il's repulsive police state, and open support for Palestinian terrorism. It is not at all surprising to me that an actual terror master is the leader of these bastards.

Anyone who is surprised needs to seriously re-evaluate their position.

Update/Correction (2:21 p.m.): Actually, Sami Al-Arian was not the president of NION. He was the president of National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom, funded by IFCO, which is allied with NION. (Thanks to Oscar Jr. for the heads-up.)

Response to Steven Den Beste


You mentioned on your site today that you oppose the outlawing of hate speech.

You wrote:

When others preach hate, the answer is for the rest of us to explain why they're wrong rather than to try to use the power of the state to suppress their message.

I agree, for the most part. A person has a right to be an asshole, to hate black people, to hate women, to agitate for revolution, whatever. People have the right to be anti-American or anti-Semitic, as obnoxious and infuriating as that is.

But what do you think about incitement to murder and genocide? What about Islamofascist propaganda against Jews and Americans? It troubles me a lot more than the rantings of people like Louis Farrakhan and David Duke. We have seen the consequences, and they are worse by far than anything a jackass like Pat Robertson has ever inflicted on anyone.

Perhaps there is a line somewhere that, when crossed, hate speech becomes a crime because it is a declaration of war.

I oppose the outlawing of speech if the speech is merely offensive. I hate political correctness, and I don't know a single person who doesn't, whether they are liberal or conservative. But some speech really is dangerous. Some speech has deadly consequences we can't ignore. And so I find myself conflicted.

You know as well as I do that there are certain kinds of fanatics that we cannot have a dialogue with, the dreams of the peaceniks to the contrary. With some people, in some cases, we must use force to stop them. And we know that Islamofascist propaganda and the apocalyptic terrorism on September 11 are inextricably bound.

Negotiating tables and dialogue are great, but only if both sides participate in good faith. Dueling op-eds, open debate, and counter protests are good because that is what democracy looks like.

But as much as I'd like to agree with you, the libertarian approach to all types of hate speech seems less realistic to me by the day. If the state were to discover a radical mosque in my neighborhood where an imam advocated "martyrdom" against me and my neighbors, I'd want that mosque shut down.

Am I wrong? Perhaps you have a counter-argument. I'd really like to read one.

Copyright 2003 Michael J. Totten