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Authors: Dinesh D'Souza

The Enemy At Home

BOOK: The Enemy At Home
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Title Page





1 Illusions on the Right
What Conservatives “Know” About 9/11, and Why It’s Wrong

2 Reluctant Warriors
9/11 and the Liberal Paradox

3 America Through Muslim Eyes
Why Foreign Policy Is Not the Main Problem

4 “The Head of the Snake”
The Islamic Critique of Western Moral Depravity

5 Innocence Lost
Liberalism and the Corruption of Popular Culture

6 A World Without Patriarchy
Divorce, Homosexuality, and Other Liberal Family Values

7 A Secular Crusade
Yes, There Is a War Against Islam

8 Emboldening the Enemy
How Liberal Foreign Policy Produced American Vulnerability

9 The War Against the War
Decoding bin Laden’s Message to America

10 The Left’s Hidden Agenda
Unmasking the Liberal-Islamic Alliance

11 Battle Plan for the Right
How to Defeat the Enemy at Home and Abroad


About the Author

Also by Dinesh D’Souza


For Jim and Gloria Brubaker
with love and appreciation

Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step over the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years. At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

Abraham Lincoln


This book is the result of a four-year study of America and the West as seen through Muslim eyes. Numerous people in America, Europe, and the Muslim world have helped me with this project, and their names appear throughout this book. If others are nameless, it is because they assisted me while asking me not to use their names. I want to thank my editor, Adam Bellow, with whom I have worked so productively in the past and who has, more than anyone else, steered this book from its earliest conception to the finished product. I am grateful to my employer, the Hoover Institution, and its director, John Raisian, for providing me with the institutional support to do my work. The Rishwains, Bob and Karen, are my sponsors and friends, and I am proud to identify myself as the Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution. I appreciate the long relationship I have had with my agent, Rafe Sagalyn, who negotiates my contracts and also provides valuable suggestions and advice. My research assistants, Michael Hirshman and Pratik Chougule, have proved more mature than their years, and have contributed not only the standard tasks but also substantive criticism and advice. I also wish to thank the following people: C. I. Anderson, Peter Baumbusch, Rob Brendle, Ralph Crump, Kenneth Dahlberg, David Dominguez, Robert Fay-field, Martin Fenton, Foster Friess, Ted Haggard, Mike Hogan, James D. Jameson, John Mackey, Jai Nagarkatti, Harvey Popell, Sam Reeves, William Reiling, Bruce Schooley, Peter Selden, Bob Serenbetz, and Dean Spatz. Finally, I am ever-conscious of the support that I get from my wife, Dixie. She and my daughter, Danielle, are a constant source of love, encouragement, and inspiration.


I make a claim that will seem startling at the outset. The cultural left in this country is responsible for causing 9/11. The term “cultural left” does not refer to the Democratic Party. Nor does it refer to all liberals. It refers to the left wing of the Democratic Party—admittedly the most energetic group among Democrats, and the main source of the party’s ideas. The cultural left also includes a few Republicans, notably those who adopt a left-wing stance on foreign policy and social issues. Some leading figures in this group are Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, George Soros, Michael Moore, Bill Moyers, and Noam Chomsky. Moreover, the cultural left includes organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Organization for Women, People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Watch, and

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.” Here in America, the political right routinely accuses the left of being weak in its response to Islamic terrorism. For example, conservatives often allege that the left’s desire to “understand” the roots of Islamic discontent dilutes American resolve in fighting the enemy. If this is true, then fortifying the left’s resolve becomes the obvious solution. My argument is quite different. It is that the left is the primary reason for Islamic anti-Americanism as well as the anti-Americanism of other traditional cultures around the world. I intend to show that the left has actively fostered the intense hatred of America that has led to murderous 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.

The left is responsible for 9/11 in the following ways. First, the cultural left has fostered a decadent American culture that angers and repulses traditional societies, especially those in the Islamic world that are being overwhelmed with this culture. In addition, the left is waging an aggressive global campaign to undermine the traditional patriarchal family and to promote secular values in non-Western cultures. This campaign has provoked a violent reaction from Muslims who believe that their most cherished beliefs and institutions are under assault. Further, the cultural left has routinely affirmed the most vicious prejudices about American foreign policy held by radical factions in the Muslim world, and then it has emboldened those factions to attack the United States with the firm conviction that “America deserves it” and that they can do so with relative impunity. Absent these conditions, Osama bin Laden would never have launched the 9/11 attacks, nor would the United States today be the target of Islamic radicals throughout the world. Thus when leading figures on the left say, “We made them do this to us,” in a sense they are correct. They are not correct that
is to blame. But their statement is true in that
actions and
America are responsible for fostering Islamic anti-Americanism in general and 9/11 in particular.

We cannot understand any of this without rethinking 9/11. Only now, with some distance, are we in a position to understand 9/11 and its implications. So far, we have fundamentally misunderstood the enemy. Even more tragically, we have misunderstood ourselves. The mixed results in the war against terrorism, the stalemate in Iraq, the seemingly inexhaustible supply of suicide bombers bent on killing Americans, and the public anxiety about America’s Middle East policy are all the tragic consequence of these errors.

Even so, the errors are understandable. September 11 was a deeply traumatic event. It produced two reactions: “One America” and “Us vs. Them.” One America refers to the coming together of the American tribe, and such tribal unity is typically based on emotional displays of patriotism. The second reaction was Us vs. Them—a blind rage toward the enemy. The immediate desire was to annihilate, not understand, the attacker.

The early statements by the Bush administration reflected this unified belligerence. The terrorists are stateless outlaws. They are not Muslims. They are apostates to Islam. True Muslims must denounce them. They are fanatics. They are lunatics. They are suicidal maniacs who don’t care about their lives. These themes were echoed across the political spectrum. Now, with reflection and more information, we can see that these statements are false. Specifically, the terrorists were not stateless outlaws. The Al Qaeda training camps were supported by the Taliban government in Afghanistan. As their diaries showed, the terrorists were deeply pious Muslims. Traditional Muslims were reluctant to denounce them as apostates to Islam because they were not apostates to Islam. Nor were they lunatics or even suicidal in the conventional sense. A typical suicide is someone who doesn’t want to live. The terrorists wanted to live, but they were willing to die for a cause that they deemed higher. Not that they loved their life less, but they hated America more.

Once the initial shock subsided, so did the national unity it had produced. Soon a heated debate erupted in America about the meaning of 9/11 and the ongoing war against terrorism, a debate that quickly broke down into partisan camps: the left versus the right, the liberals versus the conservatives, Blue America versus Red America. In a moment of genuine indignation, left-wing activist Michael Moore conveyed how large a chasm separates the two Americas. Reacting to 9/11, Moore posted the following message on his Web site. “Many families have been devastated tonight. This is just not right. They did not deserve to die. If someone did this to get back at Bush then they did so by killing thousands of people who
for him! Boston, New York, D.C., and the planes’ destination of California—these were places that voted AGAINST Bush!”
Moore’s eruption, read with hindsight, seems slightly comic. It’s hard to imagine bin Laden and his associates distinguishing between Bush supporters and Bush opponents for the purpose of launching attacks. The most striking aspect of Moore’s statement, however, is its implication that Al Qaeda hit the wrong target: they should have hit Red America, not Blue America! However objectionable this may seem to many Americans, Moore’s statement is important because of the connection it instinctively makes between two apparently disparate events:
the 9/11 attacks and
the internal divide between Red America and Blue America. I believe that the significance of this divide for understanding 9/11 and the war against terrorism has not been adequately appreciated.

On the other side of the spectrum, the right-wing preacher Jerry Falwell confirmed in equally strong terms his perception of the political divide, even while invoking God’s wrath on the sinners in Blue America. “The Lord has protected us so wonderfully these past 225 years,” Falwell said. He worried that something “has caused God to lift the veil of protection which has allowed no one to attack America on our soil.” Falwell did not shrink from specifying: “The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say: You helped this happen.” Unlike Moore, Falwell was fiercely denounced for his comments, and he promptly apologized for them.

These words are not insightful in the theological sense that Falwell intended. I cannot make sense of Falwell’s suggestion that God used 9/11 to punish America for its sins. If God was aiming for the abortionists and the feminists and the homosexuals, it seems he mostly killed stockbrokers and soldiers and janitors (some of whom may have been homosexual, but few of whom, probably, had second jobs as abortionists). The real issue raised by Falwell’s comments is entirely secular. What impact did the abortionists, the feminists, the homosexual activists, and the secularists have on the Islamic radicals who conspired to blow up the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? Unfortunately this crucial question got buried, and virtually no one has raised it publicly.

Why is it so maddeningly difficult, even years after the fact, to make sense of 9/11? One reason is that the very terms used by both sides in the debate are misleading. Consider the very name of the war America is fighting: a “war against terrorism.” But America is no more fighting a war against terrorism than during World War II it was fighting a “war against kamikazism.” No, during World War II the United States was fighting the armies of imperial Japan. Kamikazism was simply the tactic or strategy used by the enemy. In the same vein, America today is not fighting against “terrorism.” There are terrorist groups all over the world—the IRA in Northern Ireland, the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, the Maoist rebels in Nepal, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the Shining Path guerrillas in Peru. Is America at war with all these groups? Of course not. The war is against a virulent species of Islamic radicalism. Terrorism is merely the weapon of choice used by the enemy to intimidate and kill us. In this sense bin Laden is not so much a terrorist as he is a religious ideologue who has chosen terrorism as the most effective way to achieve his goals.

back to the drawing board, and the logical place to start is the debate over 9/11. On the left, scholars like Edward Said, Richard Falk, and Noam Chomsky have argued that 9/11 was the result of Islamic anger over American foreign policy. In this view, echoed by politicians like Ted Kennedy and liberal magazines like
The American Prospect,
the radical Muslims don’t hate us because of who we are, they hate us because of what we’ve done to them. As leftist commentators never tire of pointing out, the West has a long history of colonialism and imperialism. Even today, they say, America one-sidedly supports Israel and props up dictatorial regimes (notably Pakistan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia) in the Muslim world. The left-wing view can be summed up this way: they are justifiably furious at us because we are the bad guys.

The word in the previous sentence that deserves our most careful attention is “we.” When the left says “we” it doesn’t mean “we.” The left’s “we” is not intended as self-incrimination. This is why the conservative complaint about “liberal guilt” is so beside the point. Liberals do not consider themselves guilty in the slightest. When a leftist politician or blogger bemoans “how we overthrew Mossadegh in Iran” or expresses outrage at “what we did at Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib,” the speaker does not mean “what I and other people like me did.” In formulations like this, “we” really means “you.” The apparent confession is really a disguised form of accusation. The liberal’s point is that Bush is guilty, conservatives are guilty, America is guilty. Specifically, the liberal is saying to the conservative, “Your America is responsible for this. Your America is greedy, selfish, imperialist. Your America extols the principles of democracy and human rights, but in practice backs savage dictators for the purpose of maintaining American access to Middle Eastern oil.” Thus, without saying so directly, the left holds the right and its conduct of American foreign policy responsible for 9/11.

On the social and cultural front, the American left clearly does not approve of the way of life in Muslim countries, particularly those under the sway of Islamic fundamentalism. It is common to see left-wingers walking around with clothes featuring the swashbuckling visage of Che Guevara, but you will never see liberals and leftists wearing T-shirts displaying the raven’s stare of Ayatollah Khomeini. Indeed, the left detests the social conservatism that is the hallmark of the whole swath of cultures stretching from the Middle East to China. Those cultures are viewed by many Western liberals as backward, hierarchical, patriarchal, and deeply oppressive. And of these cultures none seem to be more reactionary than Islamic culture. Indeed, the regimes supported by the Islamic fundamentalists are undoubtedly the most illiberal in the modern world. In Iran, for example, the ruling regime routinely imprisons its critics, who are dubbed “enemies of Islam.” Public floggings have been used to make an example of women found guilty of fornication. Homosexuality is harshly punished in fundamentalist regimes. The Taliban, for instance, had a range of penalties. As one Taliban leader explained, “One group of scholars believes you should take these people to the top of the highest building in the city, and hurl them to their deaths. The other recommends that you dig a pit near a wall somewhere, put these people into it, and then topple the wall so they are buried alive.”

BOOK: The Enemy At Home
9.92Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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