I was pleasantly surprised to see a review of Look Homeward America in the January issue of Reason, where Bill Kauffman was briefly employed in the 1980s. The review was written by John McClaughry, who is the subject of a chapter in Kauffman's America First! The review is mostly positive, but it takes a strange turn towards the end. McClaughry writes that "none of us can flee from the . . . menacing fact that in a cave in Pakistan, a coffeehouse in Cairo, a mosque in Riyadh . . . well armed and inventive villains really, really want to kill the peaceful people of Elba, New York."
I have read and heard much about the aggressive designs of Islam in the last few years and generally believe it to be true; but I have noticed that most of the actual aggressing -- the dispatching of invading armies and ships, planes and missiles have gone in the other direction. Osama bin Laden became a problem for the United States after we established bases in Saudi Arabia. The Bush administration's response to bin Laden's mass murder of Americans was to make a token effort to attack him in Afghanistan and then launch and invasion of Iraq. The crowd that supported that invasion is now calling for war against Iran. There are numerous justifications for our foreign policy -- spreading democracy, access to oil, enhancing the self-esteem of neocons -- protecting Elbans is not among them.