by Austin Bay
It's been a tough six months for knee-jerk anti-Americanism, be
it the European elite, Arab street or left-wing academic petite
The pit that was the World Trade Center and 3,000 murders
perpetrated by suicidal zealots are hard, fast facts.
While denial of facts has never been a problem for the "blame
America" crowd (heck, some arch-left cadres still insist Alger Hiss wasn't a
Soviet spy), the missing Manhattan skyline is simply too explicit. There is
no escape from the emptiness, that space in the air.
Despite the tragic facts, since late September ingrained "blame
America" critics have carped about the need to "understand the anger" that
led Osama bin Laden's clique to commit mass murder. The psycho-babblers
tried to justify the atrocity as kind of Third World freudian therapy. A few
of the less-medicated carpers test-marketed "alternative scenarios" in
desperate attempts to cast the attacks in what for them were "better"
terms -- their most noxious conspiracy theory being that Sept. 11 was the
work of Israel's Mossad.
One of the more absurd anti-American agitprop games could be
called "the axis of equivalency." It's an old scam. The Cold War version of
"equivalency" had the United States being "morally equivalent" to the USSR.
Why, both superpowers had nukes. The "axis of equivalency" proponents, when
confronted by the iron evil and systemic failure of communism, were always
eager to label the United States as "fascist."
What ptui. Mikhail Gorbachev, speaking at Columbia University
March 11, offered the candid statement that communism was "pure propaganda,"
an "unreal system" that operated on lies. One of the great beau gestes of
the "moral equivalents" was the so-called 1983 Euro-missile crisis.
Unilateral disarmers, "neutrals" and Soviet sympathizers in the West tried
to stop the deployment of U.S. intermediate range missiles to Europe. The
deployment was NATO's political and military response (set in motion in
1978) to the presence of some 200 Soviet SS-20 multi-nuclear warhead
But oh, the gnashing from the "blame America" cohort. President
Ronald Reagan was accused of desiring nuclear war. In "blame America" minds,
the West's response to Soviet provocation and escalation created the war
risk, not the Soviet strategy.
That 1983 "missile crisis" was one of the Cold War's last frosty
confrontations. Two years later, Russia returned to the negotiating table,
with perestroika and other changes afoot. Reagan's spine (checkmating a
Soviet attempt at military blackmail) and clarity of purpose had the
strategic effect of denying Soviet hardliners foreign policy triumph. With
the Soviet domestic front in shambles, reformers like Gorbachev got a crack
But that agitprop architecture of "it's America's fault" and
"moral equivalency" between the United States and the various thug
dictatorships on this planet didn't fade with the Cold War's demise.
Remember the tirades in fall 1990 about the United States "arming Saddam"?
Actually, Russia, France, South Africa, Brazil (yes, light armored vehicles)
and a host of other nations armed Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War, but after
the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the "antiwar" rhetoricians sought to make
Washington a co-conspirator in Saddam's assault. For these simps, the U.S.
"presence" in East Asia is the reason North Korea pursues nuclear weapons.
Sept.11 leaves the "moral equivalency" muddlers exposed as
sophists and charlatans. The World Trade Center victims bear no blame for
bin Laden's vicious brutality. One of bin Laden's biggest gripes was the end
of the Muslim caliphate. Call Kemal Ataturk to task for that, Osama, not the
Pentagon. Nor is the United States responsible for the systemic social
failures of struggling Middle Eastern regimes. The five or six centuries of
Islamic decline that torture bin Laden weren't plotted by Washington policy
President George W. Bush's March 11 speech, delivered at Ground
Zero, was bracing: "We face an enemy of ruthless ambition, unconstrained by
law or morality. The terrorists despise other religions and have defiled
their own. They are determined to expand the scale and scope of their
murder. The terror that targeted New York and Washington could strike any
center of civilization. Against such an enemy there is no immunity, and
there can be no neutrality."
I know, nattering anti-Americanism won't disappear, there are
too many academic and political careers erected on it. Sept. 11, however,
clarified the choice -- the stark choice -- between civilized behavior, as
exemplified by America, and nihilistic barbarism.