From The Enemy At Home :
“In this book I make a claim that will seem startling at the outset. The cultural left in this country is responsible for causing 9/11. … In faulting the cultural left, I am not making the absurd accusation that this group blew up the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I am saying that the cultural left and its allies in Congress, the media, Hollywood, the nonprofit sector, and the universities are the primary cause of the volcano of anger toward America that is erupting from the Islamic world. The Muslims who carried out the 9/11 attacks were the product of this visceral rage—some of it based on legitimate concerns, some of it based on wrongful prejudice, but all of it fueled and encouraged by the cultural left. Thus without the cultural left, 9/11 would not have happened.
“I realize that this is a strong charge, one that no one has made before. But it is a neglected aspect of the 9/11 debate, and it is critical to understanding the current controversy over the ‘war against terrorism.’ … I intend to show that the left has actively fostered the intense hatred of America that has led to numerous attacks such as 9/11. If I am right, then no war against terrorism can be effectively fought using the left-wing premises that are now accepted doctrine among mainstream liberals and Democrats.”
Whenever Muslims charge that the war on terror is really a war against Islam, Americans hasten to assure them they are wrong. Yet as Dinesh D’Souza argues in this powerful and timely polemic, there really is a war against Islam. Only this war is not being waged by Christian conservatives bent on a moral crusade to impose democracy abroad but by the American cultural left, which for years has been vigorously exporting its domestic war against religion and traditional morality to the rest of the world.
D’Souza contends that the cultural left is responsible for 9/11 in two ways: by fostering a decadent and depraved American culture that angers and repulses other societies—especially traditional and religious ones— and by promoting, at home and abroad, an anti-American attitude that blames America for all the problems of the world.
Islamic anti-Americanism is not merely a reaction to U.S. foreign policy but is also rooted in a revulsion against what Muslims perceive to be the atheism and moral depravity of American popular culture. Muslims and other traditional people around the world allege that secular American values are being imposed on their societies and that these values undermine religious belief, weaken the traditional family, and corrupt the innocence of children. But it is not “America” that is doing this to them, it is the American cultural left. What traditional societies consider repulsive and immoral, the cultural left considers progressive and liberating.
Taking issue with those on the right who speak of a “clash of civilizations,” D’Souza argues that the war on terror is really a war for the hearts and minds of traditional Muslims—and traditional peoples everywhere. The only way to win the struggle with radical Islam is to convince traditional Muslims that America is on their side.
We are accustomed to thinking of the war on terror and the culture war as two distinct and separate struggles. D’Souza shows that they are really one and the same. Conservatives must recognize that the left is now allied with the Islamic radicals in a combined effort to defeat Bush’s war on terror. A whole new strategy is therefore needed to fight both wars. “In order to defeat the Islamic radicals abroad,” D’Souza writes, “we must defeat the enemy at home.”
DINESH D’SOUZA, the Rishwain Research Scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, is the author of several bestselling books, including Illiberal Education, The Virtue of Prosperity, and What's So Great About America. He lives in Washington, D.C, and San Diego, California.
Excerpt From Amazon
What Conservatives “Know” About 9/11, and Why It’s Wrong
THE REASON AMERICA’S “war on terrorism” is imperiled is that there is no clear sense of who the enemy is. Is Al Qaeda the problem? A network of terrorist groups operating through the Al Qaeda “franchise”? State–sponsored terrorism? Weapons of mass destruction in the hands of hostile states? Or is Islamic fundamentalism to blame, since it appears to be the incubator of terrorism? Or is the West facing a very old enemy, Islam itself?
Not only is the identity of the enemy obscure; many Americans also have no idea why these people are so murderously hostile to the United States. Five years after 9/11, most people still have little sense of what would cause a bunch of men to want to blow themselves up in order to smash the Pentagon and topple the World Trade Center. The 9/11 Commission Report, for all its length and lucidity, only describes how the grisly event occurred but gives no coherent explanation for why it occurred.
Americans—including the U.S. government—also seem confused about what is the overall objective of the enemy. Terror for its own sake? U.S. troops out of Mecca? The destruction of the state of Israel? Islamic control of the Middle East? World domination? Moreover, since the enemy’s goals are unknown, it is virtually impossible to figure out its strategy; about all that seems known is that terrorism is one of its components. Without reliable knowledge of what the enemy wants and how it intends to achieve its goal, it seems virtually impossible to have an effective counterstrategy, either at home or abroad. In addition, America’s people and leaders are deeply divided about whether this is a war with an end point, over what would constitute “success,” and over whether success is even possible in this new kind of war.
No nation ever won a war under these conditions. Therefore, the crisis of the war against terrorism is primarily an intellectual crisis, a crisis of understanding. To fight this war better it is necessary to understand it better. Therefore let us return to the beginning, to the cataclysmic attack that launched this new war for a new century.
Approximately five years after 9/11, we know a great deal about that nightmarish event. Many Americans actually saw it happen. If you were watching television the morning of September 11, 2001, you would have had your programming interrupted shortly before 9 a.m. That’s when the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Word spread rapidly, and millions of Americans were riveted to their TV sets when, a few minutes later, a second plane flew directly into the South Tower. The sight of the slow–motion collapse of these two landmarks of the New York skyline, with chaos everywhere and people running for their lives, will long remain etched on the national psyche. One of the most gruesome symbols of 9/11 was the sight of people jumping out of windows, preferring to fall to their deaths rather than be roasted alive in the fiery inferno. Soon Americans discovered that a third plane had slammed into the northwest side of the Pentagon, and a fourth, headed for an unknown destination, had crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. As the magnitude of the disaster slowly registered, Americans saw heroic scenes of firefighters trying to rescue survivors, and poignant portraits of desperate New Yorkers trying to locate family members, hanging on to the slender hope that they had made it out of the burning buildings alive. Here is a typical plea, taken from a collection of recordings from the 9/11 archive: “If anyone has any idea, or if they’ve seen him or know where he is, call us. He’s got two little babies. Two little babies.”
It was the worst day in American history, worse than Pearl Harbor, worse even than Gettysburg. Those were military catastrophes, one of them off American shores, in which soldiers killed soldiers. By contrast, 9/11 was an attack on the American mainland; it was an attack on the core institutions of America, and it took nearly three thousand lives, the vast majority of them civilians. The Cold War lasted for decades, cost hundreds of billions of dollars, and confronted Americans with the prospect of nuclear annihilation, but fewer Americans were killed over the entire duration of the Cold War than perished on a single day in September 2001. What made 9/11 even more sobering was the recognition that its perpetrators intended to blow up the White House or the Capitol—the apparent destination of the fourth plane—and they meant to kill a lot more people. Nearly fifty thousand people worked in the World Trade Center, and the death toll from 9/11 could have been much higher.
Today, with the perspective of hindsight, and thanks to the detailed government investigation that culminated in The 9/11 Commission Report, we have a lot of information about 9/11. We know a great deal about what happened and how it happened. We know that the original plan, proposed by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, called for the hijacking of ten planes to be crashed into targets on both coasts. (1) (Bin Laden settled for the final plan that was executed on September 11.) We can follow the movements of the terrorists in the period leading up to 9/11. We have a detailed account of what they did that day: where and when they boarded the planes, when they spoke to one another, what they carried with them, and what they left behind in their rooms. The report has a moment–by–moment description of the climactic denouement. We can read heartbreaking transcripts of passengers calling family members to say “I love you,” and, “Good–bye.” We can hear what flight attendant Madeline Sweeney said as she saw American Airlines flight 11 zoom over the Hudson River toward the World Trade Center. “I see water and buildings,” Sweeney told her ground supervisor. “Oh my God, oh my God!”
What The 9/11 Commission Report does not tell us, however, is why it happened. (2) On the subject of why the terrorists and their sponsors did what they did, the report is largely silent. This failure to comprehend the motives and goals of the enemy greatly limits the value of the report. Moreover, the report’s discussion of the vital question of whether 9/11 could have been prevented suffers from an air of unreality. The report concludes that 9/11 could have been averted had America done this and that and the other—if only America had better control of its borders, if only the agencies of government were restructured to permit better sharing of intelligence, if only there were more systematic checks on airlines and other modes of transportation, and if only America had eliminated the Al Qaeda training camps and their support structures.
This conclusion is a fallacy. Call it the fallacy of retroactive insight. The characteristic feature of 9/11 was that it was a surprise attack designed to take advantage of an existing vulnerability in America's defenses. After the attack, it is easy to say that we should have taken the measures that would have prevented the attack. But imagine the uproar if a newly elected President Bush had ordered massive air strikes on Afghanistan prior to September 11. Imagine if someone, prior to 9/11, proposed restructuring the government at the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, restricting the freedom and convenience of Americans through extensive security checks and measures like the Patriot Act, and ousting the Taliban through military force. Such a person would have been dismissed as a paranoid and a crackpot, akin to someone today who called for America to take drastic measures to stop the Chinese from invading Florida.
In this sense, I do not believe 9/11 could have been prevented.
BUT WHY DID they do it? The terrorists didn’t leave an explanatory note, and the question of their motives has haunted America ever since the fateful attacks. At first 9/11 generated a spectacular moment of national unity, in which Americans came together to grieve over the terrible loss of life, acknowledge a new sense of shared vulnerability, and cherish the heroism of the police officers and firefighters. From the far ends of the world came words of sympathy and solidarity. Even the French commiserated, and Le Monde ran a banner headline proclaiming, “We are all Americans.”
At the same time, however, Americans were startled by the reaction to 9/11 from certain quarters of the Muslim world. “Allah has answered our prayers” declared the Palestinian weekly Al–Risala in its September 13, 2001, issue. The Egyptian newspaper Al–Maydan noted that when the news broke that the towers were hit, “Millions of us shouted in joy.” There were celebrations in Lebanon, Syria, Pakistan, and Jordan. Even in London, some Muslims rejoiced and Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed preached a sermon in his mosque calling September 11 “a towering day in history” and hailing the “magnificent 19” for what they did. (3) In many parts of the Muslim world, Osama bin Laden became an instant sensation for having hit America where it hurt. Americans who hoped that these reactions were grotesquely aberrant, and expected them to be strongly repudiated by the rest of the Muslim world, found these hopes disappointed.
Wracked with grief over 9/11, and furious at this bloody assault on civilian life, American leaders and opinion makers responded with instinctive and sputtering contempt toward their attackers. Several TV commentators and talk radio hosts proclaimed the 9/11 attackers “insane.” Columnist Thomas Friedman declared that Osama bin Laden was simply “a psychopath.” Another theory was that 9/11 was pointless, what scholar–activist Edward Said termed “a terror mis...
Interested in winning 1 of 5 copies being given away?
Random House Has offered readers of the Liberty Reborn blog 5 free copies of Dinesh D’Souza’s book The Enemy At Home which is now available in paperback. In order to qualify for this drawing, follow this link to reply to this post and use a valid email address. On March 15th, 5 winners will be chosen.