The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Unreasoned, Unjustified

I rarely comment on the op-eds written by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman because his angry-Left arguments tend to be both illogical and often, factually inaccurate. But today, I’ll make an exception.

In a recent NYT op-ed, Krugman argues that GOP presidential candidates are fear-mongering when they suggest aggressive action against al Qaeda and its supporters. He begins:
In America’s darkest hour, Franklin Delano Roosevelt urged the nation not to succumb to “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror.” But that was then.

Today, many of the men who hope to be the next president — including all of the candidates with a significant chance of receiving the Republican nomination — have made unreasoning, unjustified terror the centerpiece of their campaigns.

There’s no question that the Left and the Right perceive the threat of Islamofascism differently. To over-simplify: the left views it as a deadly nuisance that could be corrected if we properly address our own shortcomings and the grievances of those who commit terror acts; the Right sees it as an existential menace that we must defeat now at risk of much greater suffering later.

In discussing the neo-conservative point of view, Krugman states:
For one thing, there isn’t actually any such thing as Islamofascism — it’s not an ideology; it’s a figment of the neocon imagination. The term came into vogue only because it was a way for Iraq hawks to gloss over the awkward transition from pursuing Osama bin Laden, who attacked America, to Saddam Hussein, who didn’t.

Krugman follows the angry-Left's mime perfectly. Using the mime’s daily double, he first diminishes a very real threat (without a shred of proof to support his position) by stating that it doesn’t really exist. At the same time, he conflats a broad threat of terror with our ill-fated war in Iraq. The Left itself argues that the two are only loosely related. The fact that the Iraqi campaign was ill-conceived does not mean that concern over Islamofascism is equally ill-conceived.

Islamofascism is real, and it is a threat. The fact that people with Krugman’s mindset refuse to acknowledge this reminds me of the famous rendering of the three monkeys—hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. If people like Krugman close their eyes and ears and refuse to see the threat, refuse to say the word "islamofascist," maybe it will simply disappear or become a minor criminal nuisance. If they refuse to believe that al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hezballah, Hamas, and dozens of other Jihadist groups do not represent a real and growing threat, they are delusional. Worse, they truly do not comprehend what fascism really is.

Since Krugman began his piece with a quote from President Roosevelt, it might be useful to complement FDR’s words with those of Winston Churchill—Roosevelt’s counterpart when we faced another form of fascism.

At the onset of WWII, when people much like Krugman counseled that the Nazi threat was minimal and that negotiation could nicely address Germany’s many grievances Churchill said:
"One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!"