It’s sad that the near-irrelevant issue of militant Islam, and more importantly the overreaction to it stirred up by our political leaders, has led many former liberals to abandon all their sensible principles.
The Muslims aren’t a serious threat. If we disbanded the armed forces and abolished nuclear weapons, the Muslims still wouldn’t be a threat: the only Muslim countries with non-comedy armies are Iran, Pakistan and Indonesia, and they aren’t logistically in a position to do us harm.
Yes, Muslim terrorists might blow up some buildings. Really, so what? If 3000 people die in a terrorist attack, it’s an appalling thing, but it has no impact at all on Western society’s ability to survive. There are 700 million of us, and no nefarious ‘they’ could even make the smallest dent in our numbers. The only serious exception is the risk of nuclear terrorism.
So while Al Qaeda are more evil than Dubya, and only a rabid maniac would claim otherwise, American liberals are absolutely right to devote more energy to hating the latter than the former. Much as he’d love to, Osama isn’t in a position to try and ban abortion, declare war on pornography or abolish the rule of law.
Even if Bush were more competent at fighting the terrorists than his likely rivals, I’d still rather take a 0.0012% chance of dying in a terrorist attack than a near-certainty of losing some of the liberal freedoms that our ancestors have spent the last 200 years fighting for. Making the opposite call would seem somewhat craven and cowardly.
But he demonstrably isn’t competent. The War on Terror has so far been focused around a pointless war with a crippled dictator, while the risk of nuclear proliferation has been almost ignored (the USA has pulled troops out of Korea to serve in Iraq, and has backed the Pakis despite their nuclear dealings – apparently because of the desperation to bag a top Al Qaeda man to boost the re-election campaign).
This would seem to make the ‘pro-Bush liberal’ call not only craven and cowardly, but also stupid.