TWICE' OR ELSE
citing anyone in particular, Horowitz went on to characterize
the views of unnamed antiwar professors and students at UNC
as "jumping up and down" in glee as the World Trade Center
burned. As usual, the implication that the "treasonous" activities
of antiwar student groups and professors ought to be shut
down was implicit in his complaint that antiwar teach-ins
took place at a taxpayer-supported institution. Apparently,
only "patriotic" activities such as his "Think Twice"
tour ought to be permitted. Even the moniker he has
attached to his campus blitz is shot through with ominous
overtones: students had better "think twice" before they openly
oppose the war and get their name on a list.
was always a dubious character, but, post-9/11, he has become
positively sinister and also somewhat out of it. According
to reports, his tirade against UNC-Chapel Hill included
a denunciation of Moeser
considering a proposal to establish a UNC-CH campus with an
undergraduate business program in the Persian Gulf emirate
of Qatar, which he said is led by 'an Islamic radical.'
are no human rights [in Qatar] not only for homosexuals
and for women but for anybody who disagrees with the sheik,'
RADICAL ISLAMIC STATE WITH A US BASE?
that's funny, but I could've sworn that was an American military
base being hosted by the "Islamic radical" ruler of Qatar reputedly the largest
American base and arms depot outside the United States.
When a lone gunman opened fire outside the Al-Adid air base,
near the capital city of Doha, he was shot and killed by Qatari
soldiers. Qatar has long been in the American camp, cravenly
praising the presence of US and British troops for "protecting
the Arabs from each other," as Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad
Bin Jasem al-Thani put it in an interview with al-Jazeera
television. Qatar was good enough for the World Trade Organization
to host a summit there in November of this year: why isn't
it good enough for UNC-Chapel Hill?
OASIS OF MODERNITY
paints a grim picture indeed of life in Qatar, but the
US government tells a different story altogether in its
official human rights report card. While not exactly a Western-style
democracy, Qatar, alone among the Gulf states, does have elections
to a consultative body in which women
are allowed to vote: as Thomas Friedman points out in
the New York Times, Qatar, like other small states
on the periphery of the Arab world, is among the most
modern and socially progressive of the Muslim countries.
Another Qatari idiosyncrasy is a media relatively free of
censorship and government control. Extra-judicial killings,
torture, disappearances of political dissidents these
routine features of life in many Middle Eastern countries
(including Israel) are entirely absent from Qatar.
OF THE (RELATIVELY) FREE
US State Department 1999 Country Report demonstrates
that life in Qatar is not much different from life in these
United States, at least in certain respects: "The law prohibits
arbitrary arrest," we are told, "however, the police have
the discretion to arrest persons based on a low level of suspicion,
and arbitrary detention in security cases remains a problem."
Sound familiar? Perhaps John Ashcroft is modeling some of
his own methods on the Qatari example. "Suspects who are detained
in security cases generally are afforded access to counsel;
however, they may be detained indefinitely while under investigation.
There were no known recent cases of incommunicado detention."
Unlike John Ashcroft, at least the Qataris release the names
of their detainees.
there is any really brutal political repression in Qatar,
it is directed primarily against Islamic hard-liners, such
as Abdulrahman Al-Nuaimi,
a Ministry of Education official who distributed a letter
to the press critical of the Amir's decision to allow women
to vote and run for office in the Municipal Council elections.
This is a "radical Islamic state"?
as usual, is running off at the mouth and demonstrating his
complete ignorance of the facts. But facts don't matter to
a demagogue whose frenetic posturing has turned him into a
caricature, a living parody of his own invented persona.
there is, in this caricature, a lot that is revealing. In
Art of Political War," a pamphlet devoted to strategic
questions, Horowitz urges conservatives to lay off the complex
arguents that make them sound like debaters at the Oxford
Student Union and appeal directly to people's emotions:
the audience of politics is not made up of Oxford dons, and
the rules are entirely different.... You have only thirty
seconds to make your point. Even if you had time to develop
an argument, the audience you need to reach (the undecided
and those in the middle who are not paying much attention)
would not get it. Your words would go over some of their heads
and the rest would not even hear them (or quickly forget)
amidst the bustle and pressure of daily life. You will never
have time for real arguments or proper analyses. Images symbols and sound bites will always prevail."
other words, emotionalism will always prevail over reason and the latter is not a Horowitz ally, in any case. Doggedly
pursuing this emotionalist strategy, Horowitz seeks to channel
and manipulate the inchoate anger of potential recruits by
blatant appeals to racial prejudice, hopped-up rhetoric that
is always in a white heat, really over-the-top abuse of his
political opponents (he has lately been using obscenities
in his editorial replies to letter-writers) and mindless
computer games that resemble an Orwellian Two-Minute
Hate. His last one, "SlapHillary.com," gave
players an opportunity to smack around a favorite hate-object,
and now SlapOsama.com
has been set up along the same lines. You can slap Osama with
a pile of camel dung, target him with a missile, subject him
to airstrikes, or go all the way and nuke him. Just about
what one might expect of someone who disdains "real arguments
or proper analyses" in favor of "images, symbols,
as even one sympathetic visitor to the site pointed out in
a posted letter, "Although I love being able to exercise
my emotions on the head of OBL repeatedly, I somehow am not
too fond of the idea of the 'unending' game, that the head
pops back every time." But that is precisely what excites
Horowitz and his fellow neoconservatives the idea (or hope)
that the "war on terrorism" is unending.
Perpetual war means endless government subsidies to their
big business patrons, as well as the unlimited opportunity
to demonize, spy on, and purge their enemies from public life,
with a little assist from various law enforcement agencies.
It means perks, privileges, and prestige for the laptop bombardiers,
and full coffers for the merchants of death; enormous profits
for certain business interests, and a continuous flow of tax-exempt
contributions for Horowitz's "Center for the Study of
Popular Culture." If ever a law is passed against war
profiteering, Horowitz should be the first one carted off
this clown takes his road-show from campus to campus, reveling
in his self-generated notoriety as a shrieker and would-be
"treason"-hunter, he is clearly looking to the authorities
to take action against campus-based antiwar organizations.
While calling for "free speech" against the intellectual conformity
of left-wing political correctness, he berates UNC-Chapel
Hill for "allowing" antiwar teach-ins at a state-subsidized
institution. Clearly, in his view, such activities ought to
must defend to the death this idiot's right to make a fool
out of himself in public, and not only on general principles
of free speech, but as a strategic move: The more he speaks,
the more he discredits himself. If the sinister "Think Twice"
tour gets to your campus, what you need to do is let this
jerk expose himself for what he is with a little help
from you and Antiwar.com. You can assemble your own "David
Horowitz Truth Kit" by downloading the following printer-friendly
files and distributing them to interested parties. Get the
lowdown on Horowitz here:
HOROWITZ TRUTH KIT
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Right: Profiles of Conservative Critics of American Globalism.
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