“So, how do we advance the cause of female emancipation in the Muslim world?” asks Richard Perle in An End to Evil. He replies, “We need to remind the women of Islam ceaselessly: Our enemies are the same as theirs; our victory will be theirs as well.”
Well, the neoconservative cause “of female emancipation in the Muslim world” was probably set back a bit by the photo shoot of Pfc. Lynndie England and the “Girls Gone Wild” of Abu Ghraib prison.
Indeed, the filmed orgies among U.S. military police outside the cells of Iraqi prisoners, the S&M humiliation of Muslim men, and the sexual torment of Muslim women raise a question. Exactly what are the “values” the West has to teach the Islamic world?
“This war … is about deeply about sex,” declaims neocon Charles Krauthammer. Militant Islam is “threatened by the West because of our twin doctrines of equality and sexual liberation.”
But whose “twin doctrines” is Krauthammer talking about? The sexual liberation he calls “our” doctrine belongs to a ’60s revolution that devout Christians, Jews and Muslims have been resisting for years.
What does Krauthammer mean by sexual liberation? The right of “tweens” and teenage girls to dress and behave like Britney Spears? Their right to condoms in junior high? Their right to abortion without parental consent?
If conservatives reject the “equality” preached by Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, NARAL and the National Organization for Women, why seek to impose it on the Islamic world? Why not stand beside Islam, and against Hollywood and Hillary?
In June 2002 at West Point, President Bush said, “Moral truth is the same in every culture, in every time and in every place.”
But even John Kerry does not agree with George Bush on the morality of homosexual unions and stem cell research. On such issues, conservative Americans have more in common with devout Muslims than with liberal Democrats.
The president notwithstanding, Americans no longer agree on what is moral truth. For as someone said a few years back, there is a cultural war going on in this country, a religious war. It is about who we are, what we believe and what we stand for as a people.
What some of us view as the moral descent of a great and godly republic into imperial decadence, neocons see as their big chance to rule the world.
In Georgia recently, the president declared to great applause: “I can’t tell you how proud I am of our commitment to values. … That commitment to values is going to be an integral part of our foreign policy as we move forward. These aren’t American values, these are universal values. Values that speak universal truths.”
But what universal values is he talking about? If he intends to impose the values of MTV America on the Muslim world in the name of a “world democratic revolution,” he will provoke and incite a war of civilizations America cannot win because Americans do not want to fight it. This may be the neocons’ war. It is not our war.
When Bush speaks of freedom as God’s gift to humanity, does he mean the First Amendment freedom of Larry Flynt to produce pornography and of Salman Rushdie to publish The Satanic Verses, a book considered blasphemous to the Islamic faith? If the Islamic world rejects this notion of freedom, why is it our duty to change their thinking? Why are they wrong?
When the president speaks of freedom, does he mean the First Amendment prohibition against our children reading the Bible and being taught the Ten Commandments in school?
If the president wishes to fight a moral crusade, he should know the enemy is inside the gates. The great moral and cultural threats to our civilization come not from outside America, but from within. We have met the enemy, and he is us. The war for the soul of America is not going to be lost or won in Fallujah.
Unfortunately, Pagan America of 2004 has far less to offer the world in cultural fare than did Christian America of 1954. Many of the movies, books, magazines, TV shows, videos and much of the music we export to the world are as poisonous as the narcotics the Royal Navy forced on the Chinese people in the Opium Wars.
A society that accepts the killing of a third of its babies as women’s “emancipation,” that considers homosexual marriage to be social progress, that hands out contraceptives to 13-year-old girls at junior high ought to be seeking out a confessional better yet, an exorcist rather than striding into a pulpit like Elmer Gantry to lecture mankind on the superiority of “American values.”