A few days ago, Dinesh D’Souza wrote a piece in the Washington Post to answer the critics of his new book “The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11.”
What I admire most about Dinesh’s approach in this piece is how free of sniveling, broad, baseless statements, and cultural stereotyping it is. He also completely refrains from whining about how he can’t understand the ferocity of the response against him, and how the resulting publicity was so not a calculation on his part.
And so, as I am wont to do, I have taken DeeDee’s article, and I have imagined a little dialogue in my head with the definitely-not-a-royalites-whore D’Souza, and I share it with you now:
DD: Why the onslaught? Just this: In my book, published this month, I argue that the American left bears a measure of responsibility for the volcano of anger from the Muslim world that produced the 9/11 attacks.
V: Is that all? I don’t know why those liberals are so upset. Just because you wrote a book called “The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11,” doesn’t mean you meant that liberals are the 9/11-causing enemies of
DD: President Jimmy Carter's withdrawal of support for the shah of Iran, for example, helped Ayatollah Khomeini's regime come to power in Iran, thus giving radical Islamists control of a major state;
V: That’s so clever, DeeDee. See, some people might have blamed any one of a number of presidents who supported the brutal Shah and his oppressive regime and its CIA-trained and -equipped secret police. Because some people might say, of course completely erroneously, that it was the Shah’s persecution of Muslim opposition that lead to his overthrow and the installation of Khomeini and the resulting fundamentalist regression of
DD: And President Bill Clinton's failure to respond to Islamic attacks confirmed bin Laden's perceptions of
V: I agree, it is regrettable that
DD: I also argue that the policies that
V: I’ve heard you say this so many times, and I’m just breathless in anticipation of the day when you finally favor us with your data on this one. Not that you should have to back up any of your assertions, DeeDee. Really, just your word that it’s true is good enough for me.
DD: The reaction I'm eliciting is not entirely new to me. As a college student in the early 1980s, I edited the politically incorrect Dartmouth Review and was frequently accosted by left-wing students and faculty.
V: “Politically incorrect”? Oh, DeeDee, you are too modest by half. That magazine was truly in the vanguard of the “making fun of minorities” genre. Give yourself some credit.
DD: They called me names back then, too. And at the time I didn't care. I often informed them that taking on our iconoclastic paper was like wrestling a pig: Not only does it get everyone dirty but the pig likes it.
V: I love that you are not afraid to be the pig in that analogy!
DD: But the personal attacks have reached new heights with "The Enemy at Home." So much so, in fact, that I feel compelled to explain why I wrote this book, what it does and doesn't say and why I think it prompts people to threaten me with hospitalization.
V: It’s really outrageous that people would threaten you just because you accuse them of responsibility for the brutal public murder of 3000 innocent Americans, some of whom were probably their friends or family. Can’t they take a little constructive criticism?
DD: But five years later, that unity [following 9/11] has dissolved amid a furious national debate over the war in
V: Besides, why should Ann Coulter get to corner the “blame the left for 9/11” dollar? That’s a good dollar.
DD: Contrary to the common liberal view, I don't believe that the 9/11 attacks were payback for
V: I’m so glad you told me that liberals are fond of saying that Bin Laden is upset that
Come to think of it, DeeDee, doesn’t it seem like Bin Laden might be pretty steamed about the royal Saudis being in bed with American oil interests, and how their obsession with wealth and power has taken them, and their country, away from the Muslim religious ideals that Bin Laden espouses, and made them seem like kind of these money-grubbing puppets of the west? Wow. I hope the liberals aren’t saying that, because that would be pretty hard to refute, huh? And then you would have to work like a motherfucker to whip up some unlikely premise that would seem to point blame in the opposite direction, and none of us would want that.
DD: Contrary to President Bush's view, they don't hate us for our freedom, either. Rather, they hate us for how we use our freedom. When Planned Parenthood International opens clinics in non-Western countries and dispenses contraceptives to unmarried girls, many see it as an assault on prevailing religious and traditional values. When human rights groups use their interpretation of international law to pressure non-Western countries to overturn laws against abortion or to liberalize laws regarding homosexuality, the traditional sensibilities of many of the world's people are violated.
V: Christ, why do we have to take the blame for those damn liberal ideas? I’m sure that England, and probably those Scandinavians, and for sure the goddamn Frenchies have people overseas too, promoting all sorts of liberal ideas about gays, and contraception, and equality, and vaccinations, and, um, food-eating, and clean water-drinking and the like. Why does the
DD: This argument has nothing to do with Falwell's suggestion that 9/11 was God's judgment on the ACLU and the feminists for their sins. I pose a simple question: Why did the terrorists do it? In a 2003 statement, bin Laden said that to him, the
V: Oh, okay. I understand now. I think. Except, don’t the radical Muslims mostly refer to us not as pagans, but as “crusaders”? And also, don’t they express a hatred for, how do they say, the “infidels”? So…isn’t it not so much that we are godless, but that we are Christian? Because we do go throwing our Christianity around rather a bit. Wait a minute. Shit. I don’t think you want to go blaming our Christian-ness for 9/11, dude. That would NOT go over well with the president’s base.
DD: What would motivate Muslims in faraway countries to volunteer for martyrdom? The fact that Palestinians don't have a state? I don't think so. It's more likely that they would do it if they feared their values and way of life were threatened. Even as the cultural left accuses Bush of imperialism in invading
V: The liberals are invading Muslim countries with their secular values? Oh, you mean like with their degrading music videos and games and their slutty teen movies and their hoochie clothing and stuff? Well, why don’t we just forbid American companies from doing business in Muslim countries, then, if they’re going to get so upset about it? Why don’t we just tell the heads of Viacom and Sony and Disney and General Electric and all those corporations that own media that hey, free enterprise or no, they are going to have to stop making all those secular liberal dollars at our nation’s expense.
You can use that idea if you want to, DeeDee. I give it to you for free. For the good of my country.
DD: Contrary to the accusations of Alan Wolfe and others, I have no sympathy for bin Laden or the Islamic radicals. But I do respect the concerns of traditional Muslims, the majority in the Muslim world. In fact, the
V: I’m not sure how the
DD: All my arguments can be disputed, but they are neither extreme nor absurd. So why has "The Enemy at Home" been so intemperately excoriated? I can imagine only two reasons. The first is given by James Wolcott himself. I am not, as he says, an unqualified right-wing hack. Rather, I am a scholar at the Hoover Institution at
V: As well he should. I mean, if Michele Malkin and Bill O’Reilly are taken seriously, just imagine what YOU could accomplish.
DD: The second reason can be gleaned from the common theme in the reviews: that mine is a dangerous book. But if a book says things that are obviously untrue and can be disproved, then it is not dangerous -- it is merely fiction and should be ignored. A book is dangerous only if it exposes something in the culture that some people are eager to keep hidden.
V: See, that is puzzling to me, because I think of a book like Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, for instance, and I find it hard to reconcile that I was always lead to believe that that was a dangerous book. So, does what you’re saying mean that Mein Kampf told the truth, or that it wasn’t dangerous?
DD: And what is that? It is that the far left seems to hate Bush nearly as much as it hates bin Laden. Bin Laden may want sharia, or Islamic law, in
V: You’re right, the left DOES hate Bush, and for what? I mean, unless you’re directly related to one of the 3000 Americans who’ve been killed in
DD: When I began writing my new book, this concern was largely theoretical, because the left was outside the corridors of power. Now I fear that the extreme cultural left is whispering into the ears of the Democratic Congress. Cut off the funding. Block the increase in troops. Shut down
V: Don’t worry DeeDee, when we give up on Iraq and start concentrating on Al-Qaeda’s activities in the U.S. and Afghanistan, and start taking those billions of dollars that we were spending in Iraq and spend them instead on flight and port and border security, we’ll know exactly who’s to blame for the results.
(In the above piece, I have edited D’Souza’s remarks for length, or because some parts were so boring that I couldn’t think of a way to make fun of them, but I have not changed any of the text. I swear. I couldn’t make that shit up, people.)