Friday, April 22, 2005

The Neo Curve

Perhaps in his spare time Steve Sailer could plot a bell curve of neoconservative columnists. I have a suspicion that Clifford May would show up on the left end. His latest column fails the test of elementary reasoning ability:

Buchanan says, Americans have brought terrorism on themselves through interventionist policies. "What happened on 9/11 was a result of interventionism," he argues. "Interventionism is the cause of terror."

That's an astonishing conclusion. The atrocities of 9/11 were orchestrated by Mohammed Atta, an Egyptian. How, before 9/11, did Washington intervene in Egypt's affairs -- except to give Egypt billions of dollars, re-supply its military, and turn a blind eye to President Hosni Mubarak's repression of dissidents?

Atta followed orders from Osama bin Laden, a Saudi. For more than fifty years, American "interventionism" in Saudi Arabia consisted of paying the kingdom astronomical sums in oil revenue, granting Saudis unprecedented privileges (for example, empowering Wahhabis to vet Muslim chaplains for our military and our prisons) and, in 1990, sending American soldiers, at the request of the Saudis, to protect them from being invaded by Saddam Hussein.

Or maybe Buchanan was thinking about our intervention in Somalia -- the only goal of which was to feed starving people. Or our intervention in Afghanistan to support guerrillas fighting the Soviet invader. We also intervened in Bosnia and Kosovo -- to save Muslims from further devastation at the hands of their Christian neighbors.

Clearly, it is not "interventionism" that has spawned anti-American terrorism. What is it then? Listen to our enemies. They've told us -- over and over.

I don't know what May is talking about. It is not as if Buchanan, who is much more comfortable using the English language than May is, has not made him self clear. This three year old column explains his position fairly well:

America's leaders should start telling the truth: Evil though they may be, Islamic killers are over here because we are over there. They are not trying to kill us because they dislike our domestic politics, but because they detest our foreign policy.

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. They did not fly into those twin towers to protest universal suffrage or to advance self-determination for the Palestinian people. As Osama bin Laden said, they want us to stop propping up the Saudi regime they hate, and to get off the sacred Saudi soil on which sit the holiest shrines of Islam. They want our troops out of Saudi Arabia -- and if we don't get out, they are coming over here to kill us any way they can.


Isn't that clear? May seems to think that because the U.S. government has propped up regimes in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, that fanatical Islamists can't possibly object. However, as Buchanan notes above; U.S. support of the Saudi regime, along with U.S. bases in their country have been terror motivators.

A subtext of May's column is that because our intentions have been good, bad consequences can't follow ("maybe Buchanan was thinking about our intervention in Somalia – the only goal of which was to feed starving people"). This leads me to the conclusion that he didn't even pass Conservatism 101 where he would have learned an aphorism about good intentions and the road to Hell.

May and his colleagues on the Right have been steadily unlearning many of the basics in the last few years. They have embraced Bushian big government and radical notions about transplanting democracy as if it were a tomato plant. It would be a joy to watch them learning at the School of Hard Knocks if the price was not being paid by American soldiers and Marines, and countless innocent Iraqis.

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