Monday, February 13, 2006

Now, for an adult viewpoint

Patrick Buchanan is the only adult in the room. This column on the stupidity shown by defenders of a free press, and this one on the consequences of the cartoon war, jerked my attention back to what we're trying to accomplish in the Middle East. For someone who has supported the President in his war effort, I found myself blushing at some of the descriptions of Western reaction to the Muslim nations' outrage. I can chalk it up to my counter-culturalist background, but that doesn't excuse me.

Buchanan puts it this way:
All Muslims believe that to depict the face of the prophet or to ridicule him as Salman Rushdie did is a sacrilege. Why did that Danish newspaper do it? Why have conservatives rushed to show solidarity with the European editor-idiots who plastered these mocking cartoons all over Page 1?

"We believe in the First Amendment!" comes the blustery reply.

But just because the First Amendment may protect the right of Nazis to march in Skokie, or Larry Flynt to publish pornography, or Mapplethorpe to publish photos of himself with a bullwhip protruding from his rectum does not mean we stand in solidarity with Nazis, Larry Flynt or Robert Mapplethorpe – or does it?

Conservatives rage in rebuttal that Islamic nations tolerate cartoons, books, billboards and TV shows far more anti-Semitic and anti-Christian than these cartoons were anti-Islamic.

All of which is true, and none of which is relevant. For this is not a debate over double standards. It is a battle for the hearts and minds of Islamic peoples. And if we are to have any hope of winning that battle, we cannot condone insults to what they hold most sacred and dear: their faith.

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