In a little cri-de-coeur now recieving praise from various corners of the internet, liberal tough-guy Peter Beinart trumpets:
Once upon a time, the “war on terror” was supposed to bring American values to Saudi Arabia. Now Newt Gingrich says we shouldn’t build a mosque in Lower Manhattan until the Saudis build churches and synagogues in Mecca—which is to say, we’re bringing Saudi values to the United States. I wonder how David Petraeus feels about all this. There he is, slogging away in the Hindu Kush, desperately trying to be culturally sensitive, watching GIs get killed because Afghans believe the U.S. is waging a war on Islam, and back home, the super-patriots on Fox News have… declared war on Islam.This is all embedded in a larger argument that says, in effect, America has lost the "war of ideas" and ceded its believable role as a liberator and beacon of freedom because of a bit of demagogic racism on the part of some mostly-Republicans. Not, mind you, because America aggressively invaded and occupied two major Islamic nations and is currently fighting shadow wars in at least a half-dozen others. Every time I think I have reached the limits of America's titanic self-regard, I hear a sonic boom ahead. Someone has surpassed it.
Beinart was a prominent supporter of American aggression, and it's therefore unsurprising that he believes our claims about bringing democracy, whiskey, and sexy to the benighted peoples of the world ever held water. But in the real reality, the conviction of many of the world's Muslims that America is at war with Islam arises not from the intemperate, gauche racism of Newt Gingrich, whom one doubts most Muslims outside of the US have ever heard of, but from the fact that America is at war with Islam. Like, literally. With armies and guns and bombs and shit. What renders the rhetoric of liberation unbelievable is the military policy of the United States, which is its antithesis. The sideshow carnival currently taking place in the haunted, vaunted vicinity of Lower Manhattan has got fuck-all to do with it. Does Beinart really believe that the harangues of some American congresscritters are more dispositive to the question of whether or not America is engaged in an anti-Muslim military campaign than are the killer robots currently buzzing over their countries like so many malarial mosquitoes?