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Biting Back


Some of you – you know who you are – would prefer to ignore the “right” hand side of things here at Politics From Left to Right.
For you folks, we’ve added the talented and smart Mr. Christopher Brauchli, a classic American Liberal who works and lives in Boulder, Colo. Chris’ columns can be found here – he usually posts on Thursdays – so I hope you’ll look forward to his work.
But back to Josh. He has filed a fine – if just a touch long – defense of his accusing the Spanish of cowardice in his otherwise very fine post on the London bombings earlier this month.
He uses a lot of longer words. And I disagree with him very strongly. I said as much back in March. You can read that here and, from a friend of the site, here.
Josh and I may never agree. The issue here for U.S. citizens isn’t really whether the Spanish have — as conservatives and supporters of the Iraqi War insist — caved into pressure from terrorist. The issue is — and it’s one that has not been adequately answered on the Left — what to do about it.
Clearly, the Right believes in the power of condemnation and ridicule. The Left believes in hand-wringing.

Watching British Prime Minister Tony Blair grapple with a second set of bombings, however, makes a review of his terrorism speech last week worth another look.
I particularly like the way Blair outlines what he thinks is at stake:

“What we are confronting here is an evil ideology. It is not a clash of civilizations – all civilized people, Muslim or other, feel revulsion at it. But it is a global struggle and it is a battle of ideas, hearts and minds, both within Islam and outside it.

Blair, unlike President Bush, draws a very different line when he talks about the fight against terrorism: he asks all the world’s people – who he assumes are as “civilized” and peace-loving as he is to condemn their violence. He doesn’t draw a line between good (us) and evil (them). He talks not about “evil-doers” but about “evil ideology.”
These are smart and compelling differences and they are ones worth making. Blair’s argument is not an easy one but it is, at times, compelling. For British politicians, this is not a war on civilization, which implies that countries like Pakistan, Iraq and Iran, the very cradles of Western civilization are not capable of the high-minded thinking and calm, rational behavior typical of Western thinking and ideas.
That’s a very different kind of emphasis and it’s one that I think bears more thought and consideration particularly by Democrats who – when it comes down to it — have very little to say in response to critics like Josh Trevino.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 2:53 PM | Permalink

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