On Point: Anti-Americans Struggle to Find Their Voice After 9-11


by Austin Bay

It's been a tough six months for knee-jerk anti-Americanism, beit the European elite, Arab street or left-wing academic petite variety.

The pit that was the World Trade Center and 3,000 murdersperpetrated by suicidal zealots are hard, fast facts.

While denial of facts has never been a problem for the "blameAmerica" crowd (heck, some arch-left cadres still insist Alger Hiss wasn't aSoviet spy), the missing Manhattan skyline is simply too explicit. There isno escape from the emptiness, that space in the air.

Despite the tragic facts, since late September ingrained "blameAmerica" critics have carped about the need to "understand the anger" thatled Osama bin Laden's clique to commit mass murder. The psycho-babblerstried to justify the atrocity as kind of Third World freudian therapy. A fewof the less-medicated carpers test-marketed "alternative scenarios" indesperate attempts to cast the attacks in what for them were "better"terms -- their most noxious conspiracy theory being that Sept. 11 was thework of Israel's Mossad.

One of the more absurd anti-American agitprop games could becalled "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, whenconfronted by the iron evil and systemic failure of communism, were alwayseager to label the United States as "fascist."

What ptui. Mikhail Gorbachev, speaking at Columbia UniversityMarch 11, offered the candid statement that communism was "pure propaganda,"an "unreal system" that operated on lies. One of the great beau gestes ofthe "moral equivalents" was the so-called 1983 Euro-missile crisis.Unilateral disarmers, "neutrals" and Soviet sympathizers in the West triedto stop the deployment of U.S. intermediate range missiles to Europe. Thedeployment was NATO's political and military response (set in motion in1978) to the presence of some 200 Soviet SS-20 multi-nuclear warheadmissiles.

But oh, the gnashing from the "blame America" cohort. PresidentRonald Reagan was accused of desiring nuclear war. In "blame America" minds,the West's response to Soviet provocation and escalation created the warrisk, not the Soviet strategy.

That 1983 "missile crisis" was one of the Cold War's last frostyconfrontations. Two years later, Russia returned to the negotiating table,with perestroika and other changes afoot. Reagan's spine (checkmating aSoviet attempt at military blackmail) and clarity of purpose had thestrategic effect of denying Soviet hardliners foreign policy triumph. Withthe Soviet domestic front in shambles, reformers like Gorbachev got a crackat power.

But that agitprop architecture of "it's America's fault" and"moral equivalency" between the United States and the various thugdictatorships 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 afterthe Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the "antiwar" rhetoricians sought to makeWashington 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 assophists and charlatans. The World Trade Center victims bear no blame forbin Laden's vicious brutality. One of bin Laden's biggest gripes was the endof the Muslim caliphate. Call Kemal Ataturk to task for that, Osama, not thePentagon. Nor is the United States responsible for the systemic socialfailures of struggling Middle Eastern regimes. The five or six centuries ofIslamic decline that torture bin Laden weren't plotted by Washington policywonks.

President George W. Bush's March 11 speech, delivered at GroundZero, was bracing: "We face an enemy of ruthless ambition, unconstrained bylaw or morality. The terrorists despise other religions and have defiledtheir own. They are determined to expand the scale and scope of theirmurder. The terror that targeted New York and Washington could strike anycenter of civilization. Against such an enemy there is no immunity, andthere can be no neutrality."

I know, nattering anti-Americanism won't disappear, there aretoo many academic and political careers erected on it. Sept. 11, however,clarified the choice -- the stark choice -- between civilized behavior, asexemplified by America, and nihilistic barbarism.

To find out more about Austin Bay and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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