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Posted in: Jihad & Terrorism, Culture Wars & Censorship

Published on May 24, 2004 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for FrontPageMagazine.com

Leftists and "Humiliation"


Given that we are under attack and at war, a certain fraying of nerves is understandable, but outright insanity is not. Lately, I have observed some fairly psychotic behavior in public places, mainly among the chattering classes, not among ordinary civilians who better understand that the terrorists mean to kill us and that appeasement is not an option.

For example, in the midst of a quiet cafe dinner, a soft-spoken artist friend suddenly began screaming: "I hate President Bush, I wish he was dead." Her face got red, and she screwed up her eyes. I was taken aback. Her rage was irrational and out of context; we had not been discussing the upcoming election or the ongoing war in Iraq. And, how could anyone be so angry, or rather so irrational, about a political figure?

Once, while lecturing in England, I found myself dining out with an anti-Apartheid activist at the very moment that Nelson Mandela was released from jail. This scholar literally climbed onto the table and roared for more than 5 full minutes. She kept pumping the air with her fist. Her voice became coarse. I could not understand such ferocity and pent-up emotion unleashed so bizarrely in public.

I can understand marshalling arguments, point by point, against a particular political policy. I can understand faulting President Bush for either not going far enough to win the war in Iraq or daring to begin that war at all—as long as the person is speaking in a reasonable, rational way. I can respect a balanced analysis—such as the recent one by Mark Helprin in the pages of the Wall Street Journal (5/17/04) in which he describes "the Democrats (as) guilty of ideological confusion about self-defense, the Republicans of willful disdain for reflection, and both . . . for subjecting the serious business in the life of a nation to coarse partisanship."

But I cannot understand what is going on when presumably enlightened artists and scholars reduce complex realities to slogans, and create straw men against which to vent vast, irrational rage. This is precisely what frenzied Islamist mobs do when they burn the American flag and lynch and mutilate corpses of American soldiers.

The western multiculturalists insist that we have dangerously "humiliated" the Iraqi male prisoners because we put women in charge of naked men and then subjected those naked men to further humiliation by posing them in pornography — like photographs, and forcing some men to wear pink women's undergarments.

In my view, this is possibly the result of a culture saturated with runaway pornography. It is disgusting and I oppose it, but it does not compare to the beheading of Daniel Pearl and Nicholas Berg or to the real torture practiced by Saddam Hussein in Abu Graib and most Arab and Muslim despots against their own people.

The multiculturalists do not protest at all when male Palestinian terrorists dress as women in order to kill Israelis (which they have done at many an Israeli checkpoint). They did not condemn the Palestinian terrorists who shot and killed an eight-month pregnant Israeli woman and her four children, aged 2 to 11 at point-blank range; rather, they blamed the woman for "provoking" her own murder by living in Gaza. The multi-cultis did not cry "humiliation foul" when two other Palestinian terrorists dressed as women in order to shoot down the mourners at this poor woman's funeral.

The left-liberal Western media (heavily influenced by the Left Academy) is not behaving objectively or rationally when it not only fails to note that "pornography" is really "torture," but ardently defends the rights of pornographers and traffickers; our Talking Heads worship the First Amendment and are "sex-positive" in outlook. They do not condemn torture when Arabs or Muslims practice it, only when it is practiced, even to a much lesser extent, by America. (By the way, I oppose torture in all but the most extreme of circumstances. I am demanding that our intellectuals eschew double standards and be even-handed with their condemnations).

Something has gone very wrong in America among its Thinking Classes who hate the very country that allows them to publicly criticize its policies and who love those countries in which dissent is punished by torture and execution. Stalinism, Hitlerism, totalitarianism—long nurtured by the former Soviet Union through both the United Nations, the Arab League, and the PLO—are living and breathing among our intellectuals, academics, and left-liberal media. American intellectuals also slavishly follow the lead of their European counterparts.

As a psychologist, I must ask: are our intellectuals brainwashed? What cult has done this to them? How might they be de-programmed? Are such accomplished and privileged adults still angry at their parents, spouses, or employers or are they angry at themselves for having failed to "overthrow capitalism" in their lifetime? If so, do they think that we all deserve to die for their failure? Do they honestly believe that the jihadists will provide the socialist or feminist Paradise for which they long?

I do not think I can persuade such intellectuals to understand that their lives and ways of life are in serious danger and that self-defense is crucial; that there is nothing we can do that will "appease" Islamist rage (sacrifice Israel, retreat from Iraq and Afghanistan, veil our women, allow Arab honor killings to be carried out in both Eurabia and North America).

It is clear: The terrorists have embarked on a program to kill all non-Muslim infidels—it's precisely what al-Zarquawi said on the video before he be-headed Nicholas Berg—and the danger coming our way is even greater from Muslim Indonesia.

What I can and must do is suggest—no implore—President Bush to send more troops to Iraq immediately and to use all means at our disposal to stop the Islamists in their tracks—at least for another 500 years. Otherwise, we will be annihilated.


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