of torture, where opponents of the barbaric regime are
routinely jailed, beaten, and murdered you wouldn't think
that Uzbek "President" Islam
Karimov would have any Western defenders. But, then, you
probably weren't taking ex-leftist-turned-Muslim
Schwartz into account.
policy analyst" for the ironically-named Foundation
in Defense of Democracies, a rabid
war bird formerly
with the Voice of America, doesn't have much of a problem
with Uzbekistan's estimated 600 political arrests per year
and some 6,500 political prisoners many of whom face death
by torture. Praising Uzbekistan in a speech as "a new,
young, transitional democracy," Schwartz
cannot claim to provide a full endorsement of the Uzbek regime,
without going there. Obviously, as in any country, there have
been abuses. However, I note that much of the discussion of
Uzbekistan and the claims of Islamic figures in that country
to being victims of repression, rests on extremely vague terminology.
For example, the latest U.S. State Department report on human
rights abuses around the world was released on March 4. It
includes numerous allegations against Uzbekistan, many involving
the government's struggle to suppress Hizb-ut-Tahrir - a clandestine
subversive movement originating in Arab countries. This is
a battle in which the United States should probably be cheering
Karimov on, rather than condemning him."
to a forensic report compiled last summer by the British embassy
in Uzbekistan, two prisoners of this "transitional democracy"
were boiled to death. Their screams were not too audible in
the West, drowned out, perhaps, by Schwartz's cheers and the
support of the U.S. government. American taxpayers shelled
out $500 million in aid to Uzbekistan, $79 million of which
went directly into the pockets of the torturers, i.e. the
police and intelligence apparatus.
for torture, murder, and the parboiling of human beings
for the man they call "the
philosophical whore of North Beach," it's all in
a day's work.
we're on the subject of Schwartz, he's authored yet
another screed supposedly linking me to all sorts of causes
I've never embraced and people I've never met. Writing in
Frontpage where else? Schwartz whines that
when he arrived at the Islamic Center of Long Island, where
he was supposedly invited to give a talk on May 11 although
calendar for the Islamic Center does not mention his name
a pamphlet headed with the ominous words 'CONFRONT MUSLIM-BASHER.'
The target of this propaganda was me. The tone was one of
violent incitement. The anonymous author of this screed had
assembled a series of hysterical charges against me
pamphlet ended with scurrilous quotes from Dennis 'Justin'
and from Kevin Keating, another West Coast fringe
type. Keating was the leftist radical photographed in San
Francisco during the Iraq conflict, toting a banner reading
"We Support Our Troops WHEN THEY SHOOT THEIR OFFICERS."
is the second attempt
by Schwartz to link me to Keating, whom I have never
even met. To wing-dings of the Schwartzian variety, however,
all those he counts as his enemies are involved in a vast
conspiracy against him. As he put it:
long arm of the Saudi/Wahhabi conspiracy, supported by American
neofascists and leftists, had reached me in Long Island"!
doesn't even begin to encompass Schwartz's peculiar pathology.
Besides quotes from me, and the mysterious Mr. Keating, this
anonymous "pamphlet" also supposedly "promoted
al-Fuqra, a violent criminal organization linked to al-Qaida."
that was some "pamphlet" it sounds more like a
lengthy treatise. But what were those "scurrilous quotes"
he attributes to me? Except for the "Confront Muslim-Basher"
headline, Schwartz never quotes from this mysterious document:
does it even exist except in his perfervid imagination?
paranoid Schwartz according to his account, when he was
confronted with this terrifying pamphlet, he ran screaming
from the room:
than bring about the confrontation these fanatics desired,
I left the mosque without speaking. Many small children were
present, and I would not have risked an uproar. Later I found
out that as soon as I was gone, a large crowd of scowling
men in Taliban-style beards also departed the scene - after
one of them had delivered a harangue denouncing me as a Communist,
of all things. They obviously had not come to hear the children
sing praises of the Prophet. After further investigation of
this incident, I concluded that it was a deliberate setup."
a worldwide, left-right terrorist-inspired conspiracy against
Schwartz because, you see, he's sooooooooo important.
Not even Lyndon LaRouche is this nutty. The Taliban in Long
Island? Mullah Omar must be summering in The Hamptons. (By
the way, has Schwartz looked in a mirror lately? His own facial
hair is fairly long, and he's a self-professed Muslim. Does
that qualify his beard as "Taliban-style"?)
but here's my favorite part of Schwartz's rant against the
International Raimondo-al Fuqra Conspiracy::
have obtained the names of the provocateurs in this affair,
and will inform the FBI of the trouble in Westbury."
a free society, wackos like Schwartz are laughed at and generally
ignored: in a police state, they are feared and universally
hated informers. Caught as we are midway between these two
states, the sight of Schwartz's porcine figure lurking in
the shadows is fraught with overtones both sinister and absurd.
sure the feds were thrilled to get this list of subversives
from a nut-job of Schwartz's caliber: my name, no doubt, is
somewhere near the top. It's an honor, albeit a dubious one,
considering the source: but I won't be too surprised
if the FBI shows up at my door wanting to take a look at my
Jama'at al-Fuqra membership card.
War Party has some real characters in its ranks, the sort
of people you couldn't put into fiction because no one would
believe it. Donald Rumsfeld is nothing if not cartoonish,
an American Colonel Blimp, and what comic book villain even
approaches the sinister sleekness of Richard Perle? But it's
the minor figures, like Schwartz, that really show the War
Party for what it is: an unsavory collection of frothy-mouthed
fanatics, would-be police informers, and opportunists on the
make. But Larry Elder,
a minor talk radio celebrity, who recently announced
his resignation from the Libertarian Party, is giving opportunism
a bad name
idea that Elder is or ever was a "libertarian" is
patently absurd. Anyone can register Libertarian, or even
send in dues to the national Libertarian Party, but Elder's
views are so conventionally Republican (of the moderate or
neoconservative variety) that his claim to the libertarian
mantle seems strangely off-the-wall. After all, here is someone
who wants to elect Republicans "who reject the notion
that the 'right to privacy' exists in the 'penumbras' of the
Constitution." Some "libertarian"! In
his screed attacking Libertarians and announcing his defection
to the Republicans, he says he switched because
Libertarians opposed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a position
I find increasingly naive and simplistic in a world of mobile
biological labs and radiological bombs capable of being carried
in suitcases by our nation's enemies."
suitcase nukes have been technically feasible for many years,
the suddenness of Elder's conversion on this point is somewhat
suspect. That this lethal luggage, in the case of Iraq, was
apparently lost in transit doesn't seem to bother Elder: he
counsels us to be "patient"
oh, and what about those two trucks they found? Besides,
we don't need a "smoking gun." Larry doesn't
even need a rationalization for war: we just have to have
faith in the leadership of George W. Bush.
this longtime political huckster is claiming to be a free-thinking
"libertarian" whose bete noire is political
correctness, is some kind of joke right? The man is
a fraud, and not even a half-convincing one: he seems almost
fated to become another (failed) Republican politician.
is an essential ingredient in the make up of any politician,
no matter which party he belongs to, and certainly Elder is
especially favored in this regard. When he was boycotted and
picketed by African-Americans who didn't take kindly to his
views on race matters, and his radio time was cut back by
his sponsors, Elders
and his supporters were whining and screaming "censorship"
with a series of paid pro-Elder ads (David Horowitz's outfit
picked up the tab to the tune of $350,000). Yet when antiwar
actors and other public figures were attacked and denied employment
for their views on foreign policy, suddenly Elder rediscovered
the "true" meaning of censorship and concluded that
are ignorant of the First Amendment."
has it that the Republicans are desperately looking around
for someone to run against Senator Barbara Boxer in California:
host Dennis Prager is being talked about, as is Larrry
Elder. If Elder has the gall to go out in the public square
and further degrade a once-noble political term by describing
himself as a "libertarian," then one has to ask:
Are we to be spared nothing?
not. As "the
Sage of South Central" puts it:
no mistake: My libertarian principles remain unchanged. But
as writer Midge Decter once said: 'There comes a time to join
the side you're on.'"
and it's the side you were always on, Larry, which is most
decidedly not the libertarian side of the barricades:
you're on the other side, with your neocon friend Ms.
Decter and all the other war-bots intent on dragging us down
the road to Empire. Goodbye and good riddance!
column entitled "Wackos, Weirdos, and Wingdings"
would be complete without a section dealing with Ramesh Ponnuru.
a writer for National Review. Ponnuru just appeared
on "The McLaughlin Group" today [Friday, May 30]
for the first time, and the sheer dorkiness of the guy, looking
and sounding for all the world like some
Indian eunuch of a neoconservative disposition, was painful
to watch. The knee-jerk answers, the robotic stare, the rhetoric
reduced to sloganeering, all projected the image of some party-lining
Soviet apparatchik, in style if not in content. He brings
the same style to his written works. In National Review
Online, Ponnuru attacks Donald Devine, of the American
Conservative Union, for raising questions about David Frum's
smear of antiwar conservatives, calling him a liar and "cracked."
only does Frum not consider himself a neoconservative; he
quite explicitly noted that conservatives in good standing
could have reservations about, or even oppose, the war. In
the very issue in which Frum's article appears, he had a short
article lauding an antiwar conservative (Heather MacDonald)."
is what Frum actually wrote:
are perfectly reasonable, indeed valuable. There is more than
one way to wage the war on terror, and thoughtful people will
naturally disagree about how best to do it, whether to focus
on terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and Hezbollah or
on states like Iraq and Iran; and if states, then which state
options, then, are limited to which of Israel's enemies do
we go after first Hezbollah? Iraq? Iran? Or Saudi
Arabia? Pick one, please. To oppose going to war against one
or all of these entities, as Frum put it, was to objectively
"align" oneself with the "Islamists" and
MacDonald, the piece he refers to had nothing to do with
the war: it was about how much Frum agreed with her that we
should not question anything the police might do, and that
large groups of black males are inherently suspicious. All
Ms. MacDonald said, in public, about this war is that antiwar
protestors should stay at home and not engage in massive
demonstrations because they might threaten national security.
She has also said civil
libertarians should shut up and go along with the growth
of the Surveillance State for the same reasons. That's the
kind of "antiwar" sentiment Frum and Ponnuru can
live with. Any other kind is "unpatriotic."
Devine's contention that perpetual war means an exponential
expansion of the power of Big Government to control every
aspect of our lives, Ponnuru writes:
ability to frighten would-be aggressors actually doesn't imply
that price controls are a good idea. But the bigger problem
with Devine's argument is that the word 'empire' is serving
as an incantation rather than as a concept. What's the operational
distinction between true, anti-imperial conservatives and
bad, imperial "neo-conservatives"? Almost nobody
is seriously calling for an occupation of Syria not
The Weekly Standard (another Devine target), and certainly
not National Review."
this administration's stated doctrine of "preemption"
which presupposes an alleged "right" to attack
any nation on earth because they might pose an unspecified
threat in the indeterminate future as "the ability
to frighten would-be aggressors" just won't do. What
we are talking about here is the ability and intention to
conquer and occupy alleged "aggressors"
well in advance of any aggression. As for Devine's critique
of "empire" being an "incantation": the
$10 billion per month price tag, the mounting casualties,
and rising unrest in Iraq is this all an "incantation"?
should try reading his own magazine: National Review
has run articles calling for the
occupation of the Saudi oil fields, and "regime change"
not only in Syria but throughout the Middle East. National
Rich Lowry infamously called for the nuking of Mecca.
Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, and his
foreign policy thinktank, the Project
for a New American Century, have advocated
course. All this is a matter of public record. Does Ponnuru
think he can get away with denying it?
ability to frighten would-be aggressors actually doesn't imply
that price controls are a good idea" but indeed it
does, because "war
is the health of the State," as the classical liberal
correctly put it. It is well-known, for example, that price
controls were brought in during the reign of the Republican
Richard Nixon, on account of the economic
distortions caused by the Vietnam war. "Temporary"
rent controls were imposed in New York City during
World War II in the name of "national security"
and never repealed. During the Korean war, Truman nationalized
the coal mines and threatened
to draft striking workers into the army, all in
the name of "national security."
Big Government "conservatism" of National Review,
limply defended by the hack Ponnuru, is rapidly losing ground,
as evidenced by Ponnuru's hysterical and quite
ineffective attack on the American Conservative Union.
The most serious charge that he can muster is that the ACU
doesn't want to challenge Senator Arlen Spector in a GOP primary.
Meanwhile, Ponnuru & Co. want to ditch conservative opposition
to Big Government in the name of a perpetual war of conquest
in the Middle East. It seems to me that the ACU has a more
serious and fundamental argument, which Ponnuru never bothers
problem: conservatives are increasingly disenchanted with
National Review's support for Bush's Big Government
policies at home and belligerent expansionism abroad. Stephen
Schwartz's exotic brand of neo-leftist "liberationism"
likewise has limited appeal to conservatives. And Larry Elder's
party-line neoconservative blathering is neither "libertarian"
nor even genuinely conservative it is opportunism, pure
wackos, weirdos, and wing-dings of the pro-war Right are,
collectively, a chorus of losers and ideological exotics,
whose concerns are so far removed from those of real, ordinary
people conservatives, as well as liberals that the
distance can only be measured in light-years. Schwartz, Elder,
and Ponnuru, representing the Axis of Amorality, are doomed,
in the end, to lose because all three are second-raters,
liars, and hacks, without credibility, and, what's more, without
much of a following. The louder they scream, the more they
smear their political opponents, the more they bring discredit
on themselves and their cause.
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