Frontpage Interview is joined today by Frontpage’s founder and editor-in-chief David Horowitz to discuss his new book Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left. One of the founders of the New Left movement in the 1960s, he is a best-selling author, a lifelong civil rights activist, and today the president of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture.
This is the second and final part of our interview. To read yesterday’s first part, click here.
FP: Mr. Horowitz, welcome back to the final segment of our interview.
Horowitz: Thanks Jamie.
FP: You have stated that we “have to win” in Iraq. Hypothetically, let’s say that the Vietnam process is replayed all over again and we cave in to the anti-war movement, lose our backbone, withdraw and lose. The consequences?
Horowitz: The consequences will parallel those in Indo-china but for us will be much worse. In Indo-china when Kennedy, Kerry, Dean and the other antiwar activists (myself included) were able to prevail in the political argument, and America cut and ran, the result was a bloodbath in Southeast Asia in which the Communists slaughtered two and a half million people. If we were to lose in Iraq and be forced to withdraw, there would be a bloodbath of all those who fought with us, and who resisted the terrorists, and then all those in the terrorists’ path. It would not probably reach the proportions of the Vietnam and Cambodian catastrophes immediately, but it would spread to other Muslim states whose governments the radicals are seeking to overthrow and eventually come home to the United States, something that did not happen in the Cold War with Communism.
It may or may not happen immediately. But if the tide of radical Islam is not stopped in Iraq it will spread to other states, which are much larger and even nuclear -- Pakistan comes immediately to mind -- and then we will reap the whirlwind. Iraq as someone has said is not Vietnam, it is Guadalcanal. We are in a war with radical Islam which is seeking first of all to control the lives and resources of one and a half billion Muslims, and then to take on the “Crusader” west. The threat to us can decrease only if we stay on the offensive and keep winning and thus keep them losing and off balance and on the defensive. This is why the efforts of Kennedy and Al Gore and Jimmy Carter to repeat the disaster of Vietnam are infinitely more dangerous than what John Kerry and Ted Kennedy did in Vietnam. Communism, as we didn't fully realize at the time of Vietnam, was already a dying system and an unraveling creed. Radical Islam is not. Radical Islam is a far more fanatical religion than Communism (I never thought I would be saying this!) and – in the short run -- does not depend on the success of an actually existing utopian Mecca to sustain it as Communism did.
FP: You ask why people who think of themselves as "progressives" and champions of human rights would risk their lives to defend despotism – the “human shields” for Saddam, the Taliban etc. Mr. Horowitz, haven’t we seen this all before – i.e. the Western progressives who went to help build socialism in Russia after the Bolshevik revolution, only to be slaughtered by the Stalinist terror etc?
Not to get too heavy or deep here, but isn’t this all the same death wish, the yearning to sacrifice one’s life for a utopian idea? What else can explain leftist feminists going to anti-war rallies in the nude wearing Saudi headgear, when they know they would be extinguished within 30 seconds if they even showed an ankle under the regimes with whom they now side? Could you comment on this yearning for self-extinction on the part of the Left, or do you disagree with this interpretation?
Horowitz: Well I have drawn the parallels in Unholy Alliance and applied the same term that Trotsky used to describe the international progressive movement when he said they were "frontier guards" for the Soviet state. Since 9/11 the progressive left and its "international solidarity" units have acted as frontier guards for the terrorists and the terrorist states. They are once again a radical "fifth column" as they were for our Communist enemies in the Cold War, this time for Islam. As for the radical death cult, this parallel was noted before me, and quite eloquently by Paul Berman, a leftist himself, in his book Liberalism and Terror.
Progressives are best viewed as social redeemers, people deluded into thinking they can change the world and usher in a future in which there are no fanatics, Islamic or otherwise. On day one of the revolution in their unhappy minds, the Islamic lion will lie down with the Jewish, Christian and feminist lambs. People who believe that Palestinian suicide bombers are reasonable individuals acting out of political desperation and not sick enthusiasts of a religious death cult, are themselves partial believers in that cult. Their dementia is to believe that if only enough Israelis/Christians/neo-conservatives are eliminated, the world will become a livable and just place. This is the group psychosis that afflicts our time, just as the group psychoses of Communism and Nazism afflicted previous generations.
FP: As a former believer in the progressive faith, what advantages do you think you have to dissect the leftist mindset? Also, if you had remained a leftist you might have today been marching in an anti-Bush rally, cheering for the victory of our Islamist enemies. But that is not the case. What do you think it was in your character and outlook that made it impossible for you to continue along a journey in which you would have ended up doing what I just hypothetically described?
Horowitz: In Unholy Alliance I have shown the parallels between the thinking of secular radicals and Islamic radicals. Sayyid Qutb, the theoretical inspiration for Islamic Jihad has even written a book called Social Justice in Islam. The idea of "Social Justice," which is really a code for communism and a religious concept is the political left's sha'ria -- the divine law instituted on earth. The Islamic radicals want to impose sha'ria or God's law on the world as a way to redeem it from the corruption into which it has fallen and make it holy. Since God obviously is not going to have a say in this and what they are imposing is their own rule, and a rule that will be comprehensive and all pervasive, they are totalitarians in exactly the sense that Communists and Nazis were in the past. The revolutionary agenda of progressive leftists is to impose or bring about the similarly universal and all inclusive rule of "social justice," whose only practical meaning is to impose their will through the power of the state on the rest of us. This is the same totalitarian agenda (although some of the words they use to describe it have changed) that they supported in the century just past, and that cost 100 million innocent lives. Like the Bourbons, they never learn and they never forget.
Why am I no longer part of the totalitarian cult (even though I never for a second would have conceded that I was a part of it at the time)? Ultimately, I don't really know. What broke my faith, however, is that I could not close my eyes to the practical results of our efforts. We -- the anti-Vietnam left -- helped to kill two and a half million people in Indo-China. We supported (however "critically") a bankrupt socialist system or an impossible socialist future without regard for the consequences of the destructive acts we committed to make it possible. I don't know why it disturbed me that our efforts led to a slaughter in Southeast Asia and did not disturb others -- John Kerry for example. Tom Hayden seems to have been disturbed for a nanosecond while writing his memoir, before quickly shifting the “real” blame for the genocide in Cambodia to Nixon and Kissinger who tried to prevent it, while exonerating himself and Jane Fonda and John Kerry and Vietnam Veterans against the War who were so instrumental in bringing it about. I do not know why all those progressives (who are in fact reactionaries and who number in the millions) continue to go about their work of attacking and undermining the corporate order and the capitalist system when they haven't a clue as to the future that might replace it, but they do. The archetype of this casual insanity is probably Ralph Nader who has spent a lifetime railing against corporations without having the foggiest idea of how they work or what they do or how any other entities could do better.
FP: One of the greatest gifts you have given this country in its battle, internally and externally, against despotism is your knowledge of how to fight political war – as well as your own personal willingness and determination to do it. As you have shown in your work, Conservatives are extremely weak in fighting political war. Now we have someone from the other side who effectively uses leftist weapons right back against the leftists themselves.
So my question: if we are going to win this war against the Unholy Alliance, what tactics must we employ?
Horowitz: The most important element in defeating the left is understanding it -- who it is and what its agendas are. The assault on the war effort would never have gotten as far as it has if our political leaders had gone on the offensive early and not given the saboteurs of the war effort such a wide latitude. Ted Kennedy thinks nothing of implying that if and when there is a dirty bomb set off by the terrorists in this country, George Bush will be responsible. Ted Kennedy is already responsible for the deaths of Americans and freedom loving Iraqis in Iraq. The path on which Al Gore and Jimmy Carter have led the Democratic Party is a treacherous one and they should have been made to pay a political price early on in their sabotage effort.
A year and a half ago the Democratic Leadership began undermining the credibility of the commander-in-chief by calling him a liar over 16 perfectly true and relatively unimportant (if untrue) words in the State of the Union address. This assault was unconscionable and unjustified and has cost many American lives. It was a political war declared that the Democratic Party leaders on the President in the midst of a war, and it should have been fought as such. Instead, the White House apologized for the innocent words thinking that this would discourage the saboteurs. Since their agenda was to derail the war effort and unseat the President it did not discourage them. In fact it inflamed them. And we are paying the price with an election that should not have been this close and with a commander-in-chief gravely weakened in handling the threats not only in Iraq but from Iran and Syria as well.
Democrats pretend to be appalled that patriotism would be an issue. But of course patriotism -- understood as rallying to the defense of America's security -- is an issue. Al Gore understands that -- which is why he attacked the President as unpatriotic -- as betraying Americans. So does John Kerry and the Democratic political apparatus which is accusing Bush of encouraging the terrorists and making the world a more dangerous place. There is no way to avoid this issue. The task is to put the shoe on the foot that it fits.
We have not begun to fight the war at home properly. The coalition of so called civil liberties groups that is conducting a full-out assault on the Patriot Act is a coalition that includes terrorists like Lynne Stewart and Sami al-Arian and their political sympathizers. It is spearheaded by the same organizations and individuals who defended our Communist enemies for the same reasons during the Cold War and whose motivation is not the defense of the Constitution -- a worthy cause -- but the exploitation of the Constitution for their radical agendas (not a worthy cause).
Defending a democracy is always problematic. We must protect our Constitutional rights and democratic processes as vigilantly as possible. We must distinguish between earnest and loyal critics of our war policies and defense measures, and treacherous critics; and we must distinguish between treacherous critics and treacherous criticisms which are not always the same thing. I don't pretend to know what Ted Kennedy's motivation is when he makes remarks that are obscene and disloyal. I don’t know whether he's merely getting senile and allowing the bitterness of his personal failures and political defeats to run away with his judgment. But I do know how to assess their political impact. Analyzing the sources of Al Gore's bizarre outbursts would be a challenge for a professional. On the other hand, Michael Moore is a transparent and self-proclaimed member of the enemy camp.
Those who embrace and praise Michael Moore’s anti-American, jihadist propaganda undoubtedly do so from a multitude of inspirations, among them the ordinary mean spiritedness of partisan politics and the normal stupidities of the species (particularly its Hollywood genus). But the effects of these efforts to divide us internally in the face of our enemies and sabotage our efforts to defend ourselves are not so easily dismissed and should not be so readily forgiven. First we need to win the war; then we can forgive. The left likes to confuse the political argument with a legal proceeding. No one in the United States has been charged with treason (let alone convicted) since the Second World War. So take a deep breath and calm down. I am not suggesting anyone should be charged with treason now (though John Walker Lindh and Lynne Stewart would surely qualify). But this does not mean that we should not spell out the implications of political arguments and positions or assess the recommendations of those who oppose our war efforts. The Constitution is a sacred covenant, not a suicide pact.
FP: Thank you Mr. Horowitz, we are out of time. It was a pleasure to speak with you.
Horowitz: My pleasure as well. Thank you.
Get your copy of David Horowitz's new book, Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left, for only $18 from the FrontPage Magazine Bookstore.