Friday, May 06, 2005

The Folly of Far Left Ideology

Several readers have criticized The Yellow Line for regularly using Daily Kos as one of the examples of how the left has completely lost its sense.

Well, how about a new Daily Kos post entitled Ronald Reagan Caused 9/11. The argument is incredibly forced at best and a flat-out lie at worst. And it shows how far members of the left are willing to go to blame America for all the world’s ills.

Read the post. Read the comments. You’ll find one of the most disturbing collections of victim worship out there. You see, in far-left ideology, if a class of people has a sorry lot in life, they are automatically considered noble. And, if their lot is bad, it absolutely must be the fault of some great oppression. America is almost always that oppressor.

For the writers and readers of Daily Kos, the entire history of the modern Middle East is the history of American oppression. The people and the leaders of Arab and Persian nations have been as helpless as children in the face of our all consuming power. They are but innocent victims. The terrorists are just poor souls driven to justifiable rage by the evil that is America.

That view of the world is horribly wrong. American power can have negative consequences and we should always be cognizant of that. But to believe that Reagan is responsible for 9/11 (more so than Osama bin Laden, Kos says) is to pervert history and demean liberal thinking. We are a good nation. A great nation. We have made bad decisions, but we have so very rarely had bad intentions.

9/11 was the fault of the terrorists, of Osama bin Laden, of the Taliban in Afghanistan. No President and no American asked for the attacks or deserved the attacks. To blame America is to make excuses for some of history’s most vile villains. It’s an unacceptable position.

And it’s why, if Daily Kos represents mainstream liberal thinking like they claim, then liberal ideology has completely lost its way and is in danger of losing its relevance as well.


At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Jeff said...

I think Daily Kos case against Reagan is pretty weak. Certainly the American addiction to oil that they argue Reagan helped promote has caused us to get in bed with some pretty unsavory regimes in the middle east who have torqued off guys like OBL. However to blame that exclusively seems a bit short sighted as well as laying all of the blame on Reagans doorstep.
However I do think Reagan does share some of the blame. I don't particularly blame him for his role in arming and training mujahadeen. The far left claimk that we "armed the Taliban" is anachronistic as such organization didn't exist at that time and the mijahadeen were on the right side of the conflict in Afghanistan. However Reagan's cowardly reaction to the Beirut barracks bombing did help contribute to the perception among terrorists that we are weak and will cut and run when confronted with casualties (as, to be fair, did the Clinton administrations retreat from Somalia, albeit one which was aided and abetted by the Republican congress).

However, I'm bothered by the reaction that you had to the article. Perhaps I'm reading things into your article that aren;t there but I did seem to detect a bit of "don't blame us we're the victm" sort of talk that many have engaged in since 9/11. The idea that the US deserved 9/11 is absurd. Yet I think that it's just as absurd to assume that the terrorists are merely ravening demons who are motivated by nothing more than a satanic hatred of life or "our freedom". Terrorism is an irrational and evil reaction to real and perceived greivances of arabs and muslims. Some of these are the result of our actions. I find it ironic that, this article appeared after one which argues or greater historical knowledge, because this article seems to argue for an ahistorical analysis of 9/11. In such an analysis the tragic attacks came out of nowhere with no antecedents. If we are to win the war on terror we need to recognize that this is not so. There were real historical origins to Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. Only by adressing those conditions can we hope for real victoryt.

You admit that the US has made bad decisions but rarely from bad motives. One of the tragedies of our power and position in the world is that our actions sometimes have consequences that we don't expect. While our efforts to arm and train the mujahedeen were right they did inadvertently result in training Osama Bin Laden and his lieutenants. One of the persistent criticisms of the third world against us is our indifference. To a large extent they are right. Our actions can cause problems for other people that we are not aware of or ignore. More importantly our desire to see ourselves as a righteous people and nation often makes it difficult or impossible for us to admit that our actions caused harm and to rectify it.

At 8:01 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...


Good points all around. I absolutely agree that our government can sometimes seem to be (and, at times, actually is) indifferent to the consequences of our actions in foreign countries. In many ways, we as a nation are still learning to be a superpower.
That may seem odd to some, but we've really only had a dominant influence in the world for 60 so years. And we're still learning what kinds of consequences certain actions have. Just because Reagan or Clinton or Eisenhower for that matter failed to accurately predict the full, long term consequences of every action doesn’t mean they were acting with malice or were dangerously ignorant.

In terms of the terrorists, I think it's important to remember that while they may have had their reasons, they still exhibited an extraordinary evil. Timothy McVeigh had his reasons, but that doesn't mean there was anything wrong with our government's policies (although, in his case, the apologists came from the far right).

There is good reason to try to understand what motivates terrorists. But just because some of our policies may be attributing to their rage. doesn't make our policies wrong and it certainly doesn't mean we are to blame for terrorism. It really upsets me that otherwise intelligent Americans, like those at Daily Kos, can so blindly blame America for a situation that is far more complex and where the lion share of blame so clearly rests on the heads of those who perpetrated the terrorism.

At 8:20 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

I wanted to add, as for the history behind 9/11, it is long and complex. Part of it has a lot to do with American actions, but a great deal of it also has to do with conflicts within Islam itself as well as conflicts between the arab people and their governments. I certainly didn't mean to give the impression that the attacks came out of nowhere. In fact, what I am arguing is that it is Daily Kos who's presenting a historically inaccurate and even a historical revisionist take on the causes behind 9/11. Blaming America is very bad history even if it uses real facts.


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