"So, how do we advance the cause of female emancipation
in the Muslim world?" asks Richard Perle in An
End to Evil. He replies, "We need to remind the women of Islam ceaselessly:
Our enemies are the same as theirs; our victory will be theirs as well."
Well, the neoconservative cause "of female emancipation in the Muslim world"
was probably set back a bit by the photo shoot of Pfc. Lynndie
England and the "Girls Gone Wild" of Abu Ghraib prison.
Indeed, the filmed orgies among U.S. military police outside the cells of Iraqi
prisoners, the S&M humiliation of Muslim men, and the sexual torment of
Muslim women raise a question. Exactly what are the "values" the West has to
teach the Islamic world?
"This war ... is about – deeply about – sex," declaims neocon Charles
Krauthammer. Militant Islam is "threatened by the West because of our twin
doctrines of equality and sexual liberation."
But whose "twin doctrines" is Krauthammer talking about? The sexual liberation
he calls "our" doctrine belongs to a '60s revolution that devout Christians,
Jews and Muslims have been resisting for years.
What does Krauthammer mean by sexual liberation? The right of "tweens" and teenage girls
to dress and behave like Britney Spears? Their right to condoms in junior high?
Their right to abortion without parental consent?
If conservatives reject the "equality" preached by Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan,
NARAL and the National Organization for
Women, why seek to impose it on the Islamic world? Why not stand beside Islam,
and against Hollywood and Hillary?
In June 2002 at West Point, President Bush said, "Moral truth is the same in
every culture, in every time and in every place."
But even John Kerry does not agree with George Bush on the morality of homosexual
unions and stem cell research. On such issues, conservative Americans have more
in common with devout Muslims than with liberal Democrats.
The president notwithstanding, Americans no longer agree on what is moral truth.
For as someone said a few years back, there is a cultural war going on in this
country, a religious war. It is about who we are, what we believe and what we
stand for as a people.
What some of us view as the moral descent of a great and godly republic into
imperial decadence, neocons see as their big chance to rule the world.
In Georgia recently, the president declared to great applause: "I can't tell
you how proud I am of our commitment to values. ... That commitment to values
is going to be an integral part of our foreign policy as we move forward. These
aren't American values, these are universal values. Values that speak universal
But what universal values is he talking about? If he intends to impose the
values of MTV America on the Muslim world in the name of a "world democratic
revolution," he will provoke and incite a war of civilizations America cannot
win because Americans do not want to fight it. This may be the neocons' war.
It is not our war.
When Bush speaks of freedom as God's gift to humanity, does he mean the First
Amendment freedom of Larry Flynt to produce pornography and of Salman Rushdie
to publish The
Satanic Verses, a book considered blasphemous to the Islamic faith?
If the Islamic world rejects this notion of freedom, why is it our duty to change
their thinking? Why are they wrong?
When the president speaks of freedom, does he mean the First Amendment prohibition
against our children reading the Bible and being taught the Ten Commandments
If the president wishes to fight a moral crusade, he should know the enemy
is inside the gates. The great moral and cultural threats to our civilization
come not from outside America, but from within. We have met the enemy, and he
is us. The war for the soul of America is not going to be lost or won in Fallujah.
Unfortunately, Pagan America of 2004 has far less to offer the world in cultural
fare than did Christian America of 1954. Many of the movies, books, magazines,
TV shows, videos and much of the music we export to the world are as poisonous
as the narcotics the Royal Navy forced on the Chinese
people in the Opium Wars.
A society that accepts the killing of a third of its babies as women's "emancipation,"
that considers homosexual marriage to be social progress, that hands out contraceptives
to 13-year-old girls at junior high ought to be seeking out a confessional –
better yet, an exorcist – rather than striding into a pulpit like Elmer Gantry to lecture
mankind on the superiority of "American values."
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