ByÂ Ralph Peters
New York Post
AFTER a lecture to the Marine Memorial Association last week, a reporter thrust a mike toward me and asked if I thought I should be tried for war crimes for my columns in The Post supporting our military.
The reporter – who avoided revealing what outlet he was with – thought he was being wonderfully clever, but what fascinated me about the silly encounter (it was in San Francisco, after all) was how unintentionally revealing it was about the shameless hypocrisy of the left.
Think about it: For expressing my views to readers like you on these pages, hardcore leftists believe I should be put on trial as a war criminal.
It tells you all you need to know about the extreme left’s view of the First Amendment: Free speech is great, as long as it’sÂ theirÂ free speech (or extreme pornography). But dissenting views must be censored. The more effective the opponent, the more important it is to shut him down.
The extreme left loves to pretend it stands for freedom. It never has and never will. From the Reign of Terror in Paris onward, its core agenda has been the tyranny of egomaniacal intellectuals. The hard leftÂ hatesÂ an open debate – especially these days, when it’s out of new ideas.
The leftÂ pretendsÂ that campuses should enjoy freedom of speech, yet activist students shout down, harass and even attack speakers whose views they dislike. That’s brownshirt behavior, folks – as surely as show trials are Stalinist.
Hardcore leftistsÂ neverÂ welcome a freewheeling debate – they’d ratherÂ forceÂ their beliefs on the rest of us. It’s an article of faith for the left that folks like you and me are too stupid to know what’s good for us (we’re so dumb, some of us even believe in God).
For many years, the left’s tactic was to pretend to care about average citizens. In the last century, the motto was the “dictatorship of the proletariat” (still a dictatorship, of course). Then, when American workers showed no interest in the Sovietization of Michigan, outraged leftists retreated into the Dictatorship of the Intellectuals.
Now we have the would-be dictatorship of the pseudo-intellectuals.
The stunning hypocrisy of the march-in-step left was brought home to me again on Sunday while I waited in a green room for a C-Span spot.Â
The show preceding mine featured a young woman, Mahvish Rukhsana Khan, who’s published a book about the poor, innocent, kitten-loving prisoners at Guantanamo. Her interview climaxed with the claim that Guantanamo is the equivalent of the Holocaust.
IÂ guaranteeÂ you that no one from MoveOn or DailyKos questioned that outrageous comparison. (Nor did the patsy interviewer challenge it.)
The Holocaust’s victims were 6 millionÂ innocents. The handful of prisoners at Guantanamo are accused terrorists. Guantanamo has no gas chambers; prisoners aren’t forced into slave labor. They aren’t tortured or starved or shot. And their trials are open to members of the press.
The truly outrageous aspect of such comparisons is that the American left, with its Stalin-redux willingness to rearrange history, neglects to mention that, outside of Japan,Â allÂ of the 20th century’s great totalitarian regimes had roots on the political left.
It wasn’t just Lenin and Stalin whose propaganda machine prefigured MoveOn. Nazi is an acronym for “NationalÂ Socialist.” ReadÂ Mein Kampf. It isn’t a tribute to free-market capitalism, folks. Mussolini was aÂ populist. Mao was a leftist, as was Pol Pot. The last century’sÂ worstÂ censors and book burnersÂ allÂ emerged from leftist ideologies.
At the moment, the American left evokes our Communists in 1939, who contorted themselves to justify the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Stalin and Hitler. As this column recently pointed out,Support Our Troops, Bring Them Home!Â disappeared from the political scene the instant Obama called for sending those troops to Afghanistan and Pakistan, instead of back to Fort Hood.
For the hardcore left, the party line always trumps conscience. MoveOn isn’t new – it’s justÂ PravdaÂ with poor punctuation.
The more I think about that proposed war-crimes trial, the more excited I get. If we could just delay it until President Obama invades Pakistan, he and I could share the prisoners’ docket together.
Of course, the charges he’d face would be far worse, given that Saddam Hussein was a genocidal dictator and Pakistan’s a democracy. But the left is right: We can’t let war crimes go unpunished.
Ralph Peters’ latest book is “Looking for Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World.”
Random House drops novel on “lust, love and intrigue” in Muhammad’s harem — for fear of violence from Muslims
This story is disturbing on many levels. One is that some Muslims now feel free to make threats of violence even in the U.S. Another is that Random House so readily folded, rather than show some guts and stand up for the freedom of speech. A third was the involvement of the dhimmi academic who aided and abetted the Muslims who professed outrage at the book.
If I searched around right now, I could probably find eight or ten books that outrage me. The oeuvre of Esposito and Armstrong would top the list. But the idea of bringing pressure upon a publisher not to publish them would be inconceivable to me. Those of a totalitarian mindset, however, do not hesitate.
“You Still Can’t Write About Muhammad,” by Asra Q. Nomani in (of all places) theÂ Wall Street Journal, August 6 (thanks to DW):
Starting in 2002, Spokane, Wash., journalist Sherry Jones toiled weekends on a racy historical novel about Aisha, the young wife of the prophet Muhammad. Ms. Jones learned Arabic, studied scholarly works about Aisha’s life, and came to admire her protagonist as a woman of courage. When Random House bought her novel last year in a $100,000, two-book deal, she was ecstatic. This past spring, she began plans for an eight-city book tour after the Aug. 12 publication date of “The Jewel of Medina” — a tale of lust, love and intrigue in the prophet’s harem.It’s not going to happen: In May, Random House abruptly called off publication of the book. The series of events that torpedoed this novel are a window into how quickly fear stunts intelligent discourse about the Muslim world.
Random House feared the book would become a new “Satanic Verses,” the Salman Rushdie novel of 1988 that led to death threats, riots and the murder of the book’s Japanese translator, among other horrors. In an interview about Ms. Jones’s novel, Thomas Perry, deputy publisher at Random House Publishing Group, said that it “disturbs us that we feel we cannot publish it right now.” He said that after sending out advance copies of the novel, the company received “from credible and unrelated sources, cautionary advice not only that the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, but also that it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment.”
After consulting security experts and Islam scholars, Mr. Perry said the company decided “to postpone publication for the safety of the author, employees of Random House, booksellers and anyone else who would be involved in distribution and sale of the novel.”
This saga upsets me as a Muslim — and as a writer who believes that fiction can bring Islamic history to life in a uniquely captivating and humanizing way. “I’m devastated,” Ms. Jones told me after the book got spiked, adding, “I wanted to honor Aisha and all the wives of Muhammad by giving voice to them, remarkable women whose crucial roles in the shaping of Islam have so often been ignored — silenced — by historians.” Last month, Ms. Jones signed a termination agreement with Random House, so her literary agent could shop the book to other publishers.
This time, the instigator of the trouble wasn’t a radical Muslim cleric, but an American academic. In April, looking for endorsements, Random House sent galleys to writers and scholars, including Denise Spellberg, an associate professor of Islamic history at the University of Texas in Austin. Ms. Jones put her on the list because she read Ms. Spellberg’s book, “Politics, Gender, and the Islamic Past: The Legacy of ‘A’isha Bint Abi Bakr.”
But Ms. Spellberg wasn’t a fan of Ms. Jones’s book. On April 30, Shahed Amanullah, a guest lecturer in Ms. Spellberg’s classes and the editor of a popular Muslim Web site, got a frantic call from her. “She was upset,” Mr. Amanullah recalls. He says Ms. Spellberg told him the novel “made fun of Muslims and their history,” and asked him to warn Muslims….
Read it all.