Monday, August 16, 2004

Loathing Bush

Victor David Hanson has an excellent piece at NRO titled On Loathing Bush. Hanson argues that there are rational reasons why millions of people won't vote for Bush in November, but the impetus which will drive many to push the lever for Kerry has nothing to do with reasons or rationality but pure irrational hatred. The phenomenom that Hanson then addresses is the genesis of that hatred. It derives, he writes, not so much from what Bush does but because of who he is.

He argues that there are four characteristics of the President that make him loathsome in the eyes of the left: He's perceived as a southern conservative; he's a Christian; he sees the world in black and white, good and evil; and he has spurned his aristocratic, northeastern heritage and disdains the elite culture indigenous to that part of the country. Some of these may seem implausible bases for hatred, perhaps, until one reads Hanson's reasoning behind them.

The most salient of the above sources of the left's pathological animus toward George Bush, in Viewpoint's opinion, is his Christianity. Hanson says this about Bush's religion:

Bush's Christianity seems evangelical and literal. It comes across as disturbing to liberals of the country who see religion as a mere social formality at best, useful for weddings and funerals, perhaps comforting at Christmas and Easter of course, but otherwise a potential threat to the full expression of lifestyle "choices."

American politicos like their candidates to be Episcopalian, Unitarian, or Congregationalist, perhaps even mainstream but quiet Methodists or Presbyterians. Baptists of the southern flavor, or anything not found in a New England township, reflect a real belief in the literalness of the Bible - primordial ideas that religion is not a social necessity but a fire-and-brimstone path to eternal salvation.

It could be argued that the last two reasons that Hanson gives for the unprecedented invective that has been directed at this man can really be conflated into the second, his religious faith. Bush's Christianity is the basis for his rejection of a jaded, effete culture. It's the reason why he tends to see things in terms of good and evil, two categories that have faded into desuetude in the increasing secularization of the last twenty five years. Bush's Christianity is also the well from which he derives his opposition to abortion and gay marriage. Indeed, there is no non-arbitrary reason to oppose either of these unless one's aversion flows from transcendent moral springs.

The left has always hated Christianity and Christians, but the American people have always been at least respectful or reverential toward the faith, if only out of a guilty conscience resulting from their own personal luke-warmness toward it. As long as the overwhelming majority of people were sympathetic to the church and the Christian religion its enemies have bided their time and masked their hostility. Popular sympathy, however, is passing away with the WW II generation, and the left is now emboldened to bare its teeth against its enemy. George Bush, being the most prominent representative of that which they detest, has therefore become the focal point of their loathing.

Winning Hearts and Minds for Islam

A must read on the Sudan crisis by Donna Hughes at NRO. Hughes gives an overview of the history and looks at an aspect of the genocide not much discussed by other sources - the Islamist terror against women and girls.

The widespread and systematic rape and sexual enslavement of women and girls in Darfur has been documented by Amnesty International in a report called "Rape as a Weapon of War: Sexual Violence and Its Consequences." As part of the campaign of ethnic cleansing, rapes are carried out in public, in front of family and community members. Those who resist or intervene are beaten and killed. Victims' arms and legs are broken to prevent escape. The intent is to impose terror on a village, and destroy the victims' and communities' integrity and identity. One rape victim was told by her attacker: "You, the black women, we will exterminate you, you have no God."

Additionally horrifying is the participation of Arab women in the atrocities. According to Amnesty International, Hakama - female traditional singers who praise male fighters - accompany the raiders and rapists. By singing and ululating, they provide encouragement and a song track to rape and pillage.

In western Sudan, many of the women and girls previously have been subjected to female genital cutting, including clitoridectomy and infibulation. These crude, mutilating practices of cutting away of genitalia leaves scars and inelastic tissues. Rape for these women is excruciatingly painful and can cause severe physical injuries.

There is also cultural meaning to these acts of violence: females' genitalia are considered "unclean," and by cutting them away, the girls are supposed to be made "clean" and their virginity and chastity preserved. The victims' own belief in these cultural norms causes them additional psychological trauma when they are raped.

Rape is a violation that destroys the whole of the person in the eyes of society. Sadly, the families of the victims often complete the devastation of these victims' lives by rejecting them. Fearing this, women who have been raped may avoid seeking help in refugee camps because they fear family or community members will discover their rapes.

We...need to take a sobering look at the atrocities in Sudan, past and present, and understand that this is Islamic fundamentalism in practice. It is a threat to all women, everywhere.

Just as world-wide totalitarian communism and fascism were threats to all people everywhere in the twentieth century so too is totalitarian Islamofascism an even greater threat in the twenty first. When will the fifty percent of the electorate that thinks the greatest enemy to peace in the world is George Bush wake from their inexplicable slumber and realize this?

Historic Undertaking in Iraq

Arthur Chrenkoff has part 8 of Good News From Iraq. He introduces this installment by saying:

The challenges still ahead in Iraq are considerable, but the media in its manic rush from one disaster to the next and from one "quagmire" to another rarely provides the context that would help us understand the situation. Having followed the mainstream media coverage, one can be forgiven for thinking that our task in Iraq is merely to return the country to its pre-war status quo. More often than not lost in reporting is the realization that Iraq has to recover not just from the violence and destruction of the last year and a half, but of the past 30 years. Iraq of March 2003 was not a normal, well-functioning state thrown into chaos and mayhem only by the arrival of the Coalition forces. In reality, the pre-invasion Iraq was a wreck of a country whose great potential of the 1950s and 1960s has been all but completely squandered for the sake of the aggrandizement of one man and the hegemony of his party. It's important to bear that in mind before rushing to criticize the Coalition authorities for failing to rebuild in a year what took three decades to destroy.

There's lots of good information here. For example:

In oil news, the Iraqi Oil Ministry announced that it plans to dig 2000 new oil wells and extend the existing oil pipelines by 3000 kilometers in 2005. In the meantime, the Iraqi authorities are planning to construct four new oil refineries in central and southern Iraq.

The media is missing this story completely. This is perhaps the greatest humanitarian undertaking in history, certainly since the Marshall Plan after WW II. One would think that the media would be cheering this effort on, but instead they act as if the only thing they want you to know about are the casualty statistics, and the only thing they want you to see are photos of rag-tag criminals and thugs strutting about with RPGs.

The news blackout will probably persist as long as the Democrats can't claim any credit for this historic accomplishment.