The Real Enemy
By Arnold Kling "The American left is where the American far right was in the 1950s -- besotted with anger, boiling in conspiracy theories."
-- Austin Bay "Enemy sighted, enemy met, I'm addressing the realpolitik"
-- R.E.M., Exhuming McCarthy Most of America is ready for a change of government. Except possibly the Democrats. I want to remind them that in addition to their internal enemies -- the Bush Administration -- they might want to pay some attention to America's external enemies.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi plans to use control of Congress to launch an investigation into the Bush Administration. For those of us who have not been drinking the Kos Kool-Aid, this seems like a questionable enterprise. In the late 1940's, the Republicans finally took control of Congress. Seething after years of the Roosevelt Administration, one of the things that Republicans did in the late 1940's and early 1950's was launch investigations into the "treason" of the Roosevelt-Truman State Department, as well as former Communists in various professions. When I was three years old, one of the investigating committees decided that my mother, who had joined the Communists in the 1930's and left the Party in the 1940's, was of sufficient national security interest to be hauled before the Grand Inquisition. A few of the people that these committees investigated did turn out to be foreign agents or traitors. However, most of those investigated, like my mother, never did anything wrong. In the 1950's, the Republican Right saw the investigations into "un-American activities" as a way to righteously smite down the Democratic Party. They wanted to expose their opponents' scandals and treason. Instead, they wound up exposing their own bad judgment, radicalism, and incivility. In the long run, the investigations damaged both parties. Certainly, the Republicans gained nothing. Apart from the war hero Eisenhower, their electoral fortunes sagged -- they lost control of Congress from 1958 until 1994. It seems rather odd that Democrats should want to try a similar strategy today. The most famous of the inquisitors was Senator Joe McCarthy. In American politics today, McCarthyism is an epithet. I am not sure why the Democrats want to turn Pelosism into its synonym. Some Basic Differences
For the Democrats in 2006, and more importantly in 2008, I would like to point out that there are some fundamental differences between America and its radical Muslim adversaries. You will forget these differences at your -- and our -- peril.
1. Many people have fled radical Muslim regimes to live in the U.S. Hardly anyone has fled the U.S. to live under radical Muslim regimes.Sooner or later, a party that wants to govern in the modern era has to pay attention to the real enemy. Arnold Kling is a TCS contributing editor and an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute. His most recent book is Crisis of Abundance.
2. In the United States, women are allowed to choose whether or not to wear modest clothing. Radical Muslims deny them that right, as well as others.
3. Americans who abuse enemy prisoners cower in shame and are prosecuted. Radical Muslims celebrate war crimes, proudly display photos and videos of war crimes, and honor the criminals.
4. More Iraqis would like to see the terrorists give up tomorrow than see the Americans leave tomorrow. (If there is any doubt about that, we can put the issue up for a vote in Iraq.)
5. Americans see negotiations as a way to resolve differences. Radical Muslims see negotiations as a sign of weakness.
6. When Muslims come to live in America, we provide them with safety, tolerance, and equal rights. Jews and Christians do not enjoy equal rights -- or even safety -- inside countries run by radical Muslim regimes.
7. The American military is trained to try to minimize civilian casualties. For radical Muslims, civilian casualties are a measure of success.
8. Americans go to war reluctantly, when other means fail. Radical Muslims accept cease-fires reluctantly, when other means fail.
9. Americans desire the approval and support of the European people. Radical Muslims desire the intimidation and submission of the European people.
10. If radical Muslims would renounce violence, then we would not disturb them. If we renounce violence, then we will be conquered and brutalized.
Technology - Commerce - Society (TCS) Daily ~ Arnold Kling ** The Real Enemy