Saturday, February 08, 2003

The 'fifth column' in the mirror

Speaking of Weyrich, his latest Newsmax column raises the rhetoric in the attacks on multiculturalism yet another notch:

Islam and Hate
Islamists truly despise multiculturalists, but, perversely, find them to be a great Fifth Column in our country, helping to pave the way for acceptance of those who truly are our enemy. Just think of the recent reports about our weak immigration laws and some of the very suspicious people from foreign lands who have been able to enter our country.

Of course, Weyrich presents no evidence that Islamists view the multiculturalists of the West with any other than loathing and contempt, because no such evidence exists. But it makes a handy smear.

The reality in fact is rather the inverse: It is the American right, particularly fundamentalist Christians, who have had numerous dalliances with Islamofascism over the years preceding 9/11. Zizka, Le Blagueur Superbe has compiled a largely accurate (if partisan) and generally impressive mound of evidence establishing the facts in this regard.

More to the point, there is not a scintilla of evidence indicating a single connection of any kind between multiculturalism and Islamic terrorism -- or for that matter, with any kind of terrorism (beyond perhaps some vague threads with so-called eco-terrorists).

In contrast, we don't have to look far in today's news columns to see whence the very real threat of a "fifth column" might emanate:
The FBI contends that more than 300 top-secret documents were illegally distributed by Deborah Davila to addresses in North Carolina, Texas and Georgia. She received a total of $2,000 for her efforts, the FBI said.

The documents have not been recovered, the FBI said.

The government is refusing to disclose the contents of the documents for security reasons, although an FBI agent said they had titles like "Strategic, Korea, Russia, chemical warfare, chemical mixtures, nuclear, biological."

Indeed, in this respect, Weyrich himself -- who over the years has maintained numerous connections, ideological and otherwise, with right-wing extremists -- deserves some scrutiny. (I've discussed previously the broader ramifications of his attacks on multiculturalism, particularly the fact that the latter arose primarily as a reaction against white supremacy.) Consider particularly his closing paragraph:
More than hate crimes are being committed against Americans. September 11th was more than the biggest hate crime of the year. It was an act of war because Islam is at war with the West. The sooner that all Americans learn to accept that bitter, hard truth, then the better off we will be as a nation.

The interesting thing about this formulation is that it precisely mirrors the agenda of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda: namely, to unite Muslims by creating a global West-vs.-Islam conflict.

There are probably more definitive sources, but this USA Today compendium on Osama bin Laden sums it up neatly:
His overarching dream is to inspire a campaign that would unite the world's 1 billion Muslims. He seeks to provoke a war between Islam and the West, officials say.

The Bush administration, to its great credit, has done its best to keep a lid on the hatred of Islam that keeps bubbling up from all quarters of the conservative movement, notably from the cloacal Michael Savage quadrant. Much of this is pragmatic, since so much of the U.S.'s logistical support in the Middle East depends upon the cooperation of Islamic nations like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Indeed, without that support the U.S. strategic military position would be tenuous at best.

But when it comes to segments of the American public that are most likely to form a "fifth column," it isn't the antiwar left. When it comes to the voices that do the most to advance Osama bin Laden's agenda here and abroad, they aren't those of, say, Susan Sontag. Those voices are coming from the likes of Paul Weyrich and Michael Savage.

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