Want to hear some good news? Try neo-con Daniel Pipes. When he weeps, we cheer, so check out his piece “My Gloom: Back to September 10” (NY Sun, 12/20. later reprinted in the Jerusalem Post). Most Americans felt less secure after September 11, although this feeling ran wildly beyond the rational. Not Pipes. The founder of the notorious Campus Watch , felt differently. He reports that a rush of security engulfed him: “The attacks of September 11, 2001, made me feel more secure, unlike most Americans. Finally, the country is focused on issues that had long worried me. The newfound alarm is healthy, the sense of solidarity heartening, the resolve encouraging.” But Pipes fretted that it would not last. “Are Americans truly ready to sacrifice liberties and lives to prosecute seriously the war against militant Islam? I worry about US constancy and purpose.”
And now Pipes says the verdict is in. “And right I was to worry, as the alarm, solidarity, and resolve of late 2001 have plummeted lately, returning us to a roughly pre-September 11 mentality.”
At long last in 2001 Pipes had in hand the neocons’ coveted “war against militant Islam,” although how that phrase characterizes the secular, anti-Osama Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein remains a mystery. Ominously, Pipes asked after 9/11 whether Americans were willing to sacrifice “liberties” as well as “lives.” And, alas for him, no sooner was his beloved war on Iraq up and running than the resolve of Americans began to wither in the face of the death toll in Iraq and the threats of a police state in the U.S. That is enough to ruin the day of any self respecting neocon. But there is more.
Pipes enumerates a number of recent developments which have deepened his gloom and brightened our days. They are sufficiently numerous that Pipes feels the need to classify them. Here are a few.
*.The USA Patriot Act is now stalled in the Senate although it originally passed by a 98-1 vote. (Russ Feingold to his everlasting credit provided the lonesome nay.)
*”The mainstream press does not take Islamist aspirations seriously and sees the war on terror basically as over, as shown by Maureen Dowd’s comment in the New York Times that the Bush administration is trying ‘to frighten people with talk of Al Qaeda’s dream of a new Islamic caliphate.'”
*”A Florida jury somehow managed to overlook the massive evidence of Sami Al-Arian’s leading role in Palestinian Islamic Jihad and acquitted him on this charge.”
*”Fixated on the goal of perfecting Iraq, where no major danger remains, the Bush administration seems to be allowing the Iranian regime to build nuclear weapons, stipulating only that the Russians carry out the uranium enrichment, an ineffectual safeguard.
*”Pursuing its democracy campaign to its logical conclusion,” Pipes moans, ” Washington is signaling a willingness to deal with Islamists in Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, and elsewhere, thereby bolstering radical Islam’s power.”
International setbacks for Pipes.
*”The July transport bombings in Britain seemingly highlighted the dangers of homegrown Islamism. Five months later, however, lessons learned from this atrocity have been nearly forgotten. For example, the Blair government appointed an Islamist banned from entering America, Tariq Ramadan, to a prestigious taskforce; and it abandoned efforts even temporarily to close down extremist mosques.” (Here as elsewhere Pipes’s anti-Islam bigotry comes through loud and clear.)
* “As Israel’s population lurches leftward, led by a defeatist government (‘We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies,’ Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared.), it forgets the lessons of Oslo, appeases its enemies, and virtually invites more violence against itself.”
For Pipes the occupation of Iraq and the occupation of the West Bank are both running out of steam, and in his eyes that is a tragedy. He is worried sick that peace may be breaking out all over. But even if we are far, far from that happy day, we can at least rejoice in one neocon’s misery over that prospect and draw some hope from his gloom.
JOHN WALSH can be reached at email@example.com.