Never in my lifetime has America’s political elite been as disconnected from the people and as nakedly self-serving as it is today. Never has it been so self-absorbed, so disingenuous, and so full of unmerited pomposity.
While watching the South Carolina Republican debate a few weeks ago, I finally succumbed to Justin Raimondo’s theory that 9/11 ripped a hole in the space-time continuum and transported us all to Bizzaro World — an upside down universe of fun-house mirrors and distorted thinking.
I am, of course, speaking of Rudy Giuliani’s reaction to Ron Paul’s statement that our foreign policy has fueled Muslim anti-Americanism. Rudy seemed surprised and angry as he pandered to the crowd and demanded that Rep. Paul retract his statement.
Ron Paul, to his credit, stood his ground.
But as ignorant as Rudy’s comments were, the real strangeness is to be found in our mainstream media’s reaction to the incident. Even establishment liberals like Chris Matthews have treated Rep. Paul with bemused disdain and have written off his assertion as sheer quackery.
Since the debate, I’ve been scratching my head and wondering how the "mainstream" candidates and the "mainstream" media develop their opinions. At the very least, one would expect media analysts to objectively scrutinize the competing theories explaining 9/11.
After all, what else are "media analysts" for?
On one side, we have the "Rudy theory." This view — held by our entire political and media establishment — asserts that Muslim extremists are attacking America because they "hate our freedom."
Even a cursory examination of this hypothesis exposes its sheer absurdity.
Are we to believe that waves of Muslims have spontaneously decided to immolate themselves in suicidal attacks because we have freedom of the press and freedom of religion? Would the Muslim world initiate a horrific war with the most powerful military in history merely because we have elections and jury trials? Do they really hate Britney Spears so much that they would blow themselves up just to take a few of us down with them?
The questions answer themselves.
That this theory is the only one "permitted" in public discussions is proof positive of our descent into Bizzaro World. No other evidence is necessary.
On the flip side is the "Ron Paul" theory of 9/11.
Since WW II, America has been continuously inserting itself into the affairs of the Middle East. We have overthrown governments (Iran), financed dictators (Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, Iran and others too numerous to mention), taken sides in sectarian conflicts (Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon), devastated Muslim societies with embargoes (Iraq, Libya, Iran, Palestine), launched campaigns of aerial bombardment (Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Sudan), stationed troops where they aren’t wanted (all over the Middle East, but particularly Saudi Arabia), and embarked on the occasional military conquest (Iraq, Afghanistan).
Given this legacy of death and destruction, is it so outlandish to suggest that these policies just might have something to do with the 9/11 attacks? Might not these policies be an underlying cause of the widespread hatred of America across the Muslim world? Is this idea so crazy that it should be excluded from "acceptable" political discourse?
Even if common sense doesn’t make the argument by itself, we don’t have to speculate as to why Muslims harbor such hatred toward America. All we have to do is ask the Muslims. In poll after poll, people across the Middle East have made it abundantly clear why they are angry with us, and it doesn’t have much to do with our freedom or our democracy, but it does have everything to do with our destructive foreign policy.
In the South Carolina debate, Rudy stated he’d "never heard" the theory that our bombing and strangulation of Iraq had any relation to 9/11.
What are we to make of that?
Is Rudy devoid of common sense? Is he totally ignorant of our government’s activities in the Middle East? Does he not have access to Google?
Or, alternatively, is he lying? Perhaps he knows full well that our foreign policy is inciting virulent hatred against our nation, but he has some ulterior motive that prevents him from acknowledging that fact.
Whichever is the case, one thing is evident: When our political situation has become so distorted that an obvious truism is discarded outright while an obvious falsehood is universally acclaimed, then something is seriously wrong.
Perhaps it really is Bizzaro world…or maybe it’s something more sinister.
Either way, given what I saw in South Carolina, it’s obvious that our political system is nowhere near curing what ails us, and we can expect more of the same for as far as the eye can see.
Steven LaTulippe [send him mail] is a physician currently practicing in Ohio. He was an officer in the United States Air Force for 13 years.