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The Axis of Evil and the American Left By: David Harsanyi
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, February 28, 2002

WHEN PRESIDENT BUSH delivered his now-famous 'axis of evil' State of the Union Address a few weeks back, he gave us a moment of clarity, transforming once-abstract evildoers into tangible nations that promote anti-American terrorism and threaten general world peace.

Liberals, indignant at use of the word 'evil' to describe anything short of Hitler, sprang to action. How dare Bush offend the sensibilities of the thin-skinned Muslim Street and the European press?

Robert Wright of Slate.com wrote that "Bush could have delivered a warning... just as forcefully without using a phrase so incendiary." An agitated Eric Alterman exclaimed that Bush would "alienate all of (our allies) with a unilateral declaration of a global war against an imaginary "Axis of Evil"—nonsensically invoking Hitler and Tojo for good measure."  Former President Jimmy Carter made an appearance, criticizing President Bush's statements as "overly simplistic and counterproductive."

Standing by nations that promote liberty, open debate and religious equality, while condemning those that fail to meet the minimum standards of a free society is neither simplistic nor unwarranted. Using the word “evil” to identify malicious regimes that threaten world peace, while unnerving liberals, lays out our worldview in an admirable, straightforward manner. A welcome reprieve after eight years of Clinton equivocations and slavish acquiescence to European-led multiculturalism and globalization -- misnomers that purport anti-American world policy.

How dare we single out Iran, a theocracy whose idea of 'reform' includes torture, proliferation of terrorism and a 'justice' system that administers liberal death penalty sentences by stoning? Iraq? Its familiar transgressions against society read like the to-do list found in Milosevic's pocket. Saddam’s victims: The Kurdish minority, Shiites of the south, and his own people. The non-Muslim supplement, North Korea, is a Stalinist relic where a 'Sunshine policy' has not slowed starvation and crippling poverty that grows expediential to the escalation of offensive weapons aimed at democratic South Korea.

An op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer written by two ultra-liberal professors best describes the Left's view of American foreign policy: "The dictionary defines rogue as 'a fierce and dangerous animal, like an elephant, that separates itself from its herd.' By this standard, the United States, not the piddling tyrannies named by the State Department, is the world's number one rogue."

It seems that after a brief post-9/11 burst of counterfeit patriotism, the Left has settled back into its customary stance with a lexicon as predictable as the outcome of the war. Even raising the flag has apparently become fair game. Katha Pollitt, elaborating the far Left's opinion on flag-waving in the pages of the The Nation, writes that the red, white and blue "stands for jingoism and vengeance and war."

Leftists have also found ways to rationalize terrorism, which we're told is  "like freedom and evil," just an abstract term. "It is a methodology, a style of fighting, that is employed across the world by various groups to various ends." This sort of scatterbrained non-judgmentalism has long been the anchor of the radical thought process. Next time a plane is crashed into an American building, we'll surely be engaged in what lethargic left-leaning journalists love to call a 'cycle of violence.' A conflict no more their fault than ours.

A Kashmir separatist who heartlessly shoots 12 women and children in the name of Jihad is a freedom fighter. Americans who travel halfway around the globe to free an impoverished population from ruthless tyrants, are imperialists, seeking to impose capitalism and freedom of speech on poor unsuspecting Third World nationals. This twisted logic has given the anti-Western hate mongers in Durban and Berkeley their ammunition. The inadvertent killing of civilians -- which the US avoided with incredible care in Afghanistan -- is an unfortunate reality in any military operation. The United States has never targeted civilians, and, regardless of the cause, terrorism isn't a style of 'fighting,' but callous murder.

Extremist Muslims are at war with -- as David Pryce-Jones points out -- the Hindus in Kashmir, Jews in Israel, Orthodox Russians in Chechnya, animists and Christians in Africa. In all those cases, terror is used for no clear agenda other than the destruction of the non-believer. Now, they are at war with us. Should Americans wait for the United States to become a regular target before we meet the enemy with all are capacity?

Instead of concerning themselves with homeland security, the Left has turned its attention towards undermining the Republican administration with baseless allegations. Their preferred target is John Ashcroft. Our Attorney General, we're told, is a worse offender than a master terrorist, "because he's has done more to strip Americans of their benchmark freedoms than bin Laden ever could."  While one can debate the merits of Ashcroft’s most aggressive tactics, equating him with a terrorist whose narrow focus is killing non-believers, notably Americans, is hardly fitting.

Surprised and confused by Bush's popularity, liberals are on hands and knees rummaging for a scandal. Taping shredded documents back together in a pathetic effort to link the president to the despicable Enron fiasco. Like the 300-pound man who sees an ice cream truck rounding the corner, the Michael Moores of the world can hardly contain themselves, salivating at the upcoming doom with hysterical portends -- despite, of course, even one tattered memo of proof.

As Eric Hoffer once wrote: Facts are counterrevolutionary.

The Left can busy themselves complicating what is perfectly obvious to Americans: terrorism is a genuine enemy, an authentic evil that endangers our peace. Meeting our enemy with all our force is both moral and necessary.

David Harsanyi is an NYC-based writer. Visit his website (http://dharsanyi.blogspot.com/) or email him at david_harsanyi@yahoo.com.

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