Wednesday, June 20, 2007
The negligence of Hugh Fitzgerald is breathtaking
In an article on June 19, 2007, at Jihad Watch, entitled Fitzgerald: The naivete of American “counterinsurgency experts”, Hugh Fitzgerald displays yet again not so much naivete, as neglect.
His opening statement says it all:
The naivete of American "counterinsurgency experts" is breathtaking. They are apparently deeply impressed with their own abilities at being able to buy the cooperation and goodwill of the “Iraqis.”
The needling offense in this statement is that little adverb, “apparently”. It betrays a lack of imagination, and just as importantly, a lack of interest, in pursuing an explanation for why such breathtaking naivete persists, and why it is so prevalent.
Another slightly more subtly objectionable word is that strong adjective, “breathtaking”. This betrays surprise where there should be none, and outrage where there should only be jadedly beleaguered resolve in the face of a problem acknowledged as mainstream and dominant.
Overall, Hugh’s analysis of the particular problem of naivete he is focusing on that follows in his article is, as usual cogent and helpful within its delimited purvey. The overarching problem, however, that makes this particular problem a problem at all—the vast, dominant and mainstream sociopolitical atmosphere that gives breath to this naivete—is with such colossal and casual swiftness neglected by Hugh that it, well, takes one’s breath away.
And, of course, it easily leads to conspiracy-theory tendencies, such as demonstrated in one of the comments to Hugh’s article:
...Wolfowitz & Perle & Co were NOT naive, they knew full well the nature of their enemy (the Muslims). The cakewalk claims were just propaganda to get the American people on board.
Hugh deigned to respond to this, demonstrating yet again his penchant for delimiting the problem that causes this naivete, and chalking it up to the character flaws of individual elites—as though, in a free democratic West, such elites could exercise their character flaws in the face of a deadly enemy with the traction they enjoy in a complete sociopolitical vacuum, rather than, as reason screams to point out, a massively nourishing and conducing sociopolitical matrix, which, for want of a better term, we (and others) christen PC Multiculturalism.
His [Wolfowitz’s] naivete came, as Richard Pipes noted... from his being a weapons-systems analyst with little knowledge of history, and of the role in what might, sensu lato, be called the influence of “culture”), his highly-misleading encounter with Islam as the American ambassador in Jakarta, his romantic attachment to a Good Arab who could not possibly herself identify Islam as the problem but hoped to enroll American power in the good-government Betterment Project that was to transform first Iraq, and then the whole Muslim Middle East. As for Perle, who is more intelligent that Wolfowitz, he turned out to be a real child of the Cold War, and his services rendered to the country when he was, along with Dorothy (“Dickie”) Fosdick, the aide to the great Senator Henry Jackson, were considerable. But apparently he didn't study up, didn't mug up, Islam. Like others, he was too busy to really study, and in Washington, with all of its meetings, and consultancies (see Hollinger Publishing), and all the trips everywhere, and all the everything, the kind of uninterrupted study in tranquillity that Islam demands, that the texts of Islam, and the making sense of the texts of Islam, and the history of Jihad-conquest, and subsequent subjugation of non-Muslims under Muslim rule, requires the kind of study that cannot rely on the bullet-riddled executive summaries of others, and that certainly cannot be obtained merely by reading “What Went Wrong” or one or two other books by Bernard Lewis.
Of course, to repeat myself, I do not intend to deny that such elites as Wolfowitz and Perle are influential, nor that they do not have such character flaws; but my point which I will keep hammering home until people get it, is that, not only are such elites themselves beholden to the generally held axioms of PC Multiculturalism—and that fact, much more than their character flaws (susceptibility to flattery, greed, attraction to Arab women, being too busy and overly “on-the-go” in a Beltway kind of way), explains their “breathtaking” naivete—, but also, and more importantly, such elites would not be able to enjoy sufficient traction for their ideas and policies, were there not a dominant and mainstream culture of PC Multiculturalism all around them that dovetails so nicely with, and nourishes, their ideas and policies, a culture that infects the majority of people of all walks of life through Western societies, from elites on down to ordinary folks, from Left to Right and all points in between.
Surely, then, while the Wolfowitzes and the Perles of the world represent an important problem to us trying to do something about the problem of Islam, the broader and deeper phenomenon that is granting the Wolfowitzes and the Perles of the world their effective traction is of more concern to us, is it not? So why are Spencer and Fitzgerald neglecting it outside of paying its gravity insufficient, vague, and delimited lip service?