Recently by Susan Westfall: Isn't It Interesting…
In the veritable storm of opinion pieces produced by the concerted rush of so many “appropriately concerned media journalists” to their keyboards following the CNN Tea Party debate, I find Mr. Heck’s article ridiculing Ron Paul for his statements explaining the reasons why terrorists attack to be one of the most disturbing. In fact, Americans who think and/or speak out about what they think or believe — should all find it disquieting to say the least.
To begin with, I always find it perturbing (and frankly amazing) that anyone is able to totally disregard a basic fact most of us learned at some point in the schoolyard. Bullies are highly resented by all those they bully. It doesn’t matter if the bully is captain of the football team and the most popular guy around, or simply the meanest kid in the neighborhood. Nor does it matter whether they’re beating kids into the ground to extort lunch money, stuffing kids into lockers for fun and amusement, or just trying to control what weaker kids think, say or do in general. They are still universally resented by their victims — specifically for their bullying tactics and abusive actions — and not for their strength, popularity, or possessions. Unfortunately for the rest of us, schoolyard bullies often grow up and continue their obnoxious habits in one way or another. Some reform, others don’t. Sometimes those who were bullied become belligerent or violent bullies themselves. Whichever side of the school yard they were on as children, adults employ the bully’s skills in different ways. They are refined and honed, disguised or hidden till needed, but still employed to bludgeon everyone else into submission.
The media is often a tool for bullying by proxy. Those identified by the “powers that be” as needing to be pressured or persuaded into seeing things in a different way are verbally eviscerated by compliant media outlets. There are of course freelance media bullies as well. I have no idea which camp Mr. Heck represents, but I would like to ask him from which great heights of thought perfection does he find himself able to pronounce it “absurd” for another to “even intimate” an idea with which he does not agree? How dare that endlessly pesky Ron Paul even hint that anyone would attack America or Americans for anything other than the sanctioned reason proclaimed after 9/11, “The terrorists hate us for our freedoms and prosperity.” Heck, (I can imagine Heck theorizing grandly to himself as he flexed his fingers) we’ve been generously spreading our democracy and freedoms, as well as demonstrating our moral superiority and general all-around-greatness in those backward countries for decades now. How could anyone possibly resent such benevolent and noble endeavors, much less reach a snapping point and attack us? “Beyond absurd,” he states. Mr. Heck then continues along, but not absurdly mind you, pointing out that some (read terrorists and any that disagree with him here) might not be able to “distinguish [the difference] between American military presence and [an] occupation.” Apparently, there’s a difference that escapes the abilities of any but the most learned minds. The arrogance that drives such learned minds to; pontificate from the heights of their perfect thinking, disregard the examination of other ideas for validity or summarily dismiss opposing ideas as unthinkable; and mislead the public on issues of import — is to me, quite unsettling.
Thankfully however for Mr. Heck, it actually is acceptable (at least while bloviating from great heights) to quote terrorist sources as long as one only takes the words that fit one’s theories and (of course, more importantly) as long as one is not Ron Paul. Mr. Heck quotes from Binladen’s 2002 letter to the American People (go at least half way down the page to find) the following:
What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you? The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam … It is the religion of Jihad in the way of Allah so that Allah’s Word and religion reign Supreme.”
What Mr. Heck conveniently doesn’t mention is that this excerpt is actually question (2) — accompanied by just two select phrases — from an answer which composes the latter half of Binladen’s very long letter, while the entire first half of the letter extensively details the answer to question (1) “Why are we fighting and opposing you?” It starts with, “The answer is very simple: Because you attacked us and continue to attack us.” Perhaps Mr. Heck could “struggle to grasp” the actual reasons given by the accused mastermind of 9/11 as regards the motivation behind terror attacks, instead of the reasons why Binladen thought Americans needed to be “called to Islam.” It behooves Mr. Heck to address his own limited vision, before writing off Ron Paul as “short-sighted.”
On the other hand, tunnel vision is very helpful when you’re looking to support the propagandist theory that the war we have been engaged in for ten long years is not just a war on terror (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et.al. weren’t thinking big enough) but a “war on western civilization.” Mr. Heck quotes an “Islamic scholar” and a “leader of a radical Islamist group” for our edification. Ibn Warraq (see critique of his scholarly agenda here) and Mullah Mustapha Kreikar (see information on his “leadership” here). Perhaps Mr. Heck could expand his tunneled-vision to include the findings of Robert Pape, a source to whom Dr. Paul has listened, and whom others on Capitol Hill must also find both reliable and credible (see next paragraph).
Mr. Pape is a Professor of Political Science and the Director of the Program for International Politics at the University of Chicago, as well as Founder of The Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism (CPOST) and a published author of both books and papers on the subject of suicide terrorism. He says there is indisputable data clearly showing that terrorist attacks have nothing to do with a “second caliphate“. In fact, Mr. Pape further explains, the data emphatically demonstrates that over 95% of terror attacks everywhere are not based on any religion (including Islam), but on a common “strategic objective: to compel a democratic state to withdraw combat forces…from territory, terrorists consider to be their homeland, or prize greatly.” Mr. Pape’s lecture includes four parts (one, two, three, four) on video and explains the data that was presented at an all-day conference on Capitol Hill to very prominent attendees including the Heads of the 9/11 Commission. I find it highly disturbing that Mr. Heck either hasn’t reviewed this data before pronouncing Dr. Paul as having “fail[ed] miserably to acknowledge the existential threat” or even worse — has, but chose to ignore findings that even the Navy (see video part 1) seems to have taken to heart.
In the end however, I find the most alarming aspect of Mr. Heck’s article appears in his concluding paragraph where he states, “As long as our country continues allowing for the rights of conscience and freedom of religious expression, we will remain the targets…” In other words, as long as our leaders “allow” us to act on conscience and speak out (or pray?) — there can be no safety. To even state this is “embarrassingly misguided” to say the least, and indicative of a vast misunderstanding of individual liberty and the Constitution at best. As many times as I have re-read his concluding statement, I am unable to come up with but one meaning — Mr. Heck feels that to be safe we must do away with the first amendment. Not only that, he feels a president who understands this threat — as well as he does — is imperative. Congratulations Mr. Heck, I think you’ve managed to outdo even those you so adamantly — and ignorantly it would seem — claim “despise such liberty.”
Reprinted with permission from The Weasel Radar.
Susan Westfall [send her mail] is a mother, a libertarian, and an educator.