The Real News of the Month

November 2001
Volume 8, No. 11

Editor: Joe Sobran
Publisher: Fran Griffin (Griffin Communications)
Managing Editor: Ronald N. Neff
Subscription Rates.
   Print version: $44.95 per year; $85 for 2 years;
   trial subscription available for $19.95 (5 issues).
   E-mail subscriptions: $39.95 for 1 year ($25 with a
   12-month subscription to the print edition); $65 for
   2 years ($45 with a 2-year subscription to the print

Address: SOBRAN'S, P.O. Box 1383, Vienna, VA 22183-1383
Fax: 703-281-6617      Website:
Publisher's Office: 703-255-2211 or
Foreign Subscriptions (print version only): Add $1.25 per
   issue for Canada and Mexico; all other foreign
   countries, add $1.75 per issue.
Credit Card Orders: Call 1-800-513-5053. Allow
   4-6 weeks for delivery of your first issue.

{{Material dropped from features or changed solely for 
reasons of space appears in double curly brackets. 
Emphasis is indicated by the presence of asterisks around 
the emphasized words.}}

  -> The Moving Picture
  -> Why?
Nuggets (plus Exclusives to this edition)
List of Columns Reprinted


The Moving Picture
(pages 1-2)

     "Terrorist" is such an ugly word. Why don't we call 
Osama bin Laden a "terror provider"? 

*          *          *

     The country that freaked out over a few bottles of 
Tylenol was bound to go berserk over one of the most 
spectacular crimes of all time. A few days later I spent 
nearly two hours waiting in line (a line about 200 yards 
long) at an airport before my flight to Los Angeles was 
canceled. Enormous precautions were being taken, at 
incalculable cost, against an exact repetition of the 
deed whose whole effect depended on surprise. Folks, they 
aren't going to try the same stunt twice. 

*          *          *

     The 9/11 attack will be a tough act to follow; but 
it may not even be necessary to follow it. It has already 
changed America forever -- or at least made certain 
American habits worse, and incorrigible. Even the one 
congressman I've always admired, Ron Paul of Texas, 
joined the stampede to give the president 
unconstitutional powers to fight terrorism. The only 
dissenting vote was cast by an idiot black communist 
woman, which ensured that the anti-war cause would be 
seen as leftist. 

*          *          *

     Anyone who thinks the U.S. Government contributed to 
the situation by making enemies around the globe is now 
"anti-American," an "America-hater," et cetera. This is a 
natural but infantile reaction: people under stress 
revert to the primitive feeling that their government is 
their nation, "us." "We" are innocent, because "we" stand 
for freedom and all that. Never mind that the U.S. 
Government has killed far more civilians in Iraq than 
Osama's boys killed in New York; as Madeleine Albright 
once put it: "We think the price is worth it." We. 

*          *          *

     By the same token, the "lesson" people are drawing 
from their government's failure to protect them from the 
violence it provoked is that "we" need the government to 
protect us. Liberal pundits have been quick to spell it 
out. Al Hunt of the WALL STREET JOURNAL crows that it's 
"time to declare a moratorium on government-bashing.... 
For the foreseeable future, the Federal Government is 
going to invest or spend more, regulate more, and 
exercise more control over our lives. There is no real 
debate over expansion [of government power] in general." 
In the same vein, Jim Hoagland of the WASHINGTON POST 
comments: "Ideologues on the right saw government as an 
evil to be rolled back.... The terror assaults on the 
World Trade Center and the Pentagon ... should profoundly 
shake the less-is-more philosophy that was the driving 
force for the tax-cut politics of Bush and conservative 
Republicans." By this logic, communism was finally 
vindicated on September 11. Not exactly the argument Marx 
would have made, but hey, you've got to grab your 
opportunities as they present themselves.

(pages 2-6)

"Go home, Martins. You don't know what you're getting 
                                         -- THE THIRD MAN

     On September 15, the talking heads show INSIDE 
WASHINGTON discussed the 9/11 attacks and the reasons for 
them. The host, Gordon Peterson, asked panelists Charles 
Krauthammer, Nina Totenberg, and Jack Germond an obvious 
question: "Why do they hate us?" The resulting exchange 
was revealing:

      KRAUTHAMMER: These people that have been 
      after us? Because we represent everything that 
      they hate: Individualism, modernism, 
      secularism, human rights, women with work, 
      women who go to school, all these things --

      TOTENBERG: And Israel, let's not monkey 
      around here. Also Israel --

      KRAUTHAMMER: No, I think that is absolutely 
      wrong. Islamic fundamentalism, the 
      radicalization of  Islam, long predates the 
      establishment of Israel. Osama bin Laden -- 
      the bombing of our embassies in Kenya and 
      Tanzania happened on what anniversary? The 
      founding of Israel? The Six Day War? No, on 
      the anniversary of the arrival of American 
      troops in Saudi Arabia.

      GERMOND: Oh, you can't blink at the antipathy 
      to Israel among the Islamic fundamentalists. 
      That's ridiculous. Of course it's Israel, it's 
      part of it.

      TOTENBERG: It's part of it, and it's 
      probably --

      KRAUTHAMMER: Osama bin Laden was an ally of 
      the United States in the 1980s. He did not go 
      after Israel at the time. He decided he would 
      become an enemy of the West and attack the 
      West when we went to Mecca and Medina, the 
      holiest places in Arabia, in the Gulf War. And 
      it was our occupation, as he sees it, our 
      protection of corrupt as he sees it Islamic 
      regimes by infidels that inspires him. Israel 
      of course is an enemy, but the great enemy is 
      America because it protects and defends all of 
      the values that he hates.

     Since the attack a new Zionist party line has 
emerged, repeated incessantly by Benjamin Netanyahu, 
Norman Podhoretz, Krauthammer, and {{countless}} others, 
expressed in Netanyahu's aphorism: "They [the radical 
Muslims] don't hate America because of Israel; they hate 
Israel because of America." Further: "They would hate 
America even if Israel had never existed."

     Are these folks really deluded enough to believe 
this, or do they merely think the gentiles (the goyim) 
are sufficiently gullible ("goyischkopf" -- gentile-
headed) to swallow it? By their logic, Israel would be 
better off if it had never gotten mixed up with the 
United States! But for this country, it might be living 
at peace with its Arab and Muslim neighbors, its 
occupation of Palestine accepted without resentment.

     What makes this assertion even more audacious, a 
specimen of distilled chutzpah, is that it's the first 
time in recorded history that the Zionist Jews have been 
willing to acquit their enemies of anti-Semitism. Until 
now the party line has been that the Jews are hated "not 
for what we do, but for what we are." Now it seems 
they're hated for what the *gentiles* are! Ah, the poor 
Jews, to be burdened with allies like us! The Muslims 
aren't anti-Semitic; they're anti-American. They hate 
Israel only, as it were, incidentally, as the carrier of 
Western "values."

     Why is this absurd theme being repeated so 
insistently? Obviously the Zionists are in panic: there 
is a terrible danger that the goyim, having seen the 
Pentagon smashed and the Twin Towers dissolved into 
rubble and dust, will finally come to their senses about 
the terrible price of their support for the Jewish state 
in the Muslim world. Even at this hour, they hope to 
prevent Osama bin Laden's pretty unambiguous message from 
getting through.

     Or, at least, they hope to maintain the taboo on 
public criticism of Israel. In this, so far, they are 
succeeding. The major media are barely touching the 
*Why?* question. Most journalists are still more afraid 
of Jewish power than of "terrorists."

     But it's true enough that by now the United States 
has done plenty, beyond supporting Israel, to earn Arab 
and Muslim hatred. Bin Laden himself mentions the Gulf 
War and the occupation of Saudi Arabia ahead of Zionism, 
though the Zionists promoted these things too. (In the 
close 1991 debate over whether to go to war, they made 
the difference, with the American Israel Public Affairs 
Committee, no doubt driven by its American patriotism, 
lobbying hard on Capitol Hill.)

     As for the touchy business of "values," it's not as 
if America had imposed old-fashioned New England town 
meetings on the Muslim world. In case you haven't 
noticed, this country no longer exports Puritanism; it 
exports things that would have sickened its own ancestors 
-- abortion, pornography, total license. Much to the 
point is a photo that has circulated throughout the 
Muslim world, of two American soldiers with their shirts 
open in Saudi Arabia, the land of the Prophet himself. It 
might have caused less offense if the soldiers had {{not 
been men. But they were girls.}}

     A little {{thing, a tiny detail,}} to the 
contemporary American sensibility, where nudity is 
{{now}} common even in advertising. We're used to it. And 
it's pertinent to observe how rapidly, historically 
speaking, we've *gotten* used to it. Within a few 
generations we, the sons of Christian Europe, have 
repudiated ancient moral traditions that we once shared 
with Jews and Muslims -- and we blame the Muslims for not 
keeping up with us and accepting "change."

     But Muslims don't believe in "change," let alone 
idolize it. They believe in the eternal. And a deviation 
from Allah's law is not "progress." It's an abomination, 
crying out to heaven for revenge. The Muslims know only 
too well that they are not immune to "change." They know 
their children can be lured into fornication and idolatry 
and all other alien "values" that the West is eager to 
thrust on them. And they are not particularly eager to 
see Mecca transformed into Las Vegas.

     Yes, Muslim hostility to the West goes far beyond 
Israel. But that anti-Western sentiment is focused on the 
United States specifically because of American support 
for Israel. And yes, Israel is hated not just for being 
Jewish, and for usurping lands claimed by Islam, but also 
for being a vehicle of the debauched morals this country 
has come to stand for in the Muslim mind. Still, there it 
is, and the darkest warnings of our diplomats and 
strategists of a half-century ago -- that U.S. support 
for a Jewish state in the Muslim world would only breed 
trouble for this country -- have been fulfilled in a more 
horrible way than anyone imagined at the time.

     While the U.S. Government has imposed lethal 
sanctions on Iraq, it has supplied lethal weapons to 
Israel. No matter what it does to innocent Palestinians 
or Lebanese, Israel faces no U.S. sanctions.

     Israel is far from being the whole story of our woes 
in the Middle East; but it has added a special element of 
constant provocation to the Muslims, bringing to the fore 
tensions that might otherwise have remained latent. If 
this can't be discussed publicly now, it can never be, 
and the Zionists do indeed have a stranglehold on 
American public discourse.

     American moral degeneracy, if it stayed home, might 
provoke only Muslim contempt; but when it becomes part of 
the package of a powerful American presence within the 
Muslim world -- think "infidel whores in our holy places" 
-- it can only ignite unfathomable rage. Such "values" 
disgust many Americans too, including Orthodox Jews; but 
imagine the feelings they create when they appear in 
conjunction with an alien military invasion. Is it any 
wonder that ordinary Muslims cheered the violent fall of 
the proud infidel monuments?

     An Italian journalist in Beirut reports that even 
*Christian* Arabs took satisfaction in the attack on 
America. Anti-Americanism is no longer a mere fad of 
Marxist university students; it's a profound reaction of 
traditional societies against a corrupt and corrupting 
modernization that is being imposed on them, by both 
violence and seduction. The very word *values* implies a 
whole modern culture of moral whim, in which good and 
evil are matters of personal preference and sodomy and 
abortion can be treated as "rights." Confronted with 
today's America, then, the Christian Arab finds himself 
in unexpected sympathy with his Muslim enemy.

     Not that you have to be an Arab to get it. Jerry 
Falwell drew fire even from his fellow conservatives when 
he suggested that the 9/11 attack was a divine judgment 
on what this country has become. He said it awkwardly and 
foolishly, and he quickly retracted his remarks; but 
there was more truth in his reaction than in all the smug 
commentary that insisted that we (and the Israelis) are 
hated only "because we are good." {{(That must be why 
they call us "the Great Satan.")}}

     If final proof of American degeneracy is needed, it 
can be found in the conviction that anti-Americanism is 
the hatred of goodness as such. On this view, the 
backward Muslim world recognizes our superiority -- that 
is, our *moral* superiority, as well as our technical 
power -- and enviously resents it. That is, they really 
see us as we see ourselves. They *know* our way of life 
is better than theirs, and they can't stand it. So they 
avenge themselves by embracing "terrorism," the ultimate 

     This melodramatic view exposes something curious: 
the moral aggressiveness of moral relativism. A 
consistent relativist would admit that Muslim "values" 
are just as "valid" as liberal "values." Since all 
"values" are equally "subjective," and none can claim to 
be "absolute," the Islamic preference for stern morality 
is merely different from, not "worse" than, the New 
Morality we have lately adopted.

     In fact, a consistent cultural relativist -- or what 
we now call a multiculturalist -- would admit that the 
views of those who think the World Trade Center should be 
left standing are no "better" than the views of those who 
think it should come down. Surely this diverse society 
has room for both viewpoints!

     But the tone of reproach with which liberals are now 
discussing Islam implies that the Muslims have failed in 
the presumably universal duty to adopt "change" without 
complaint. Their "values" are felt to be impermissibly 
rooted in superstition, which history now summons them to 
abandon. The West represents the future, and it works. 
Why can't these fools reconcile themselves to the 
inevitable? Why must they insist on making trouble?

     The liberals, in this discussion, include alleged 
conservatives, who agree that anti-Americanism is the 
hatred of our goodness. To hear Rush Limbaugh or read 
NATIONAL REVIEW, you would think this was still Norman 
Rockwell's America, incomprehensibly loathed by sinister 
Orientals. But older generations of Muslims could co-
exist with that America; no doubt the infidel was damned, 
but as long as he stayed in his own quarters he posed no 
immediate threat to Islam.

     These conservatives, who once wanted to "stand 
athwart history yelling *Stop!"* (in Bill Buckley's 
famous phrase), used to object to the same trends that 
the Muslims are still trying to resist. They wanted to 
conserve a *Christian* America. No longer. They have 
triumphantly adapted to "change," and they take anti-
Americanism as an affront to the optimism they share with 
liberals. They feel no sense of loss in the 
transformation of America into something that can't even 
be called pagan. As C.S. Lewis once observed, an apostate 
Christian can no more become a pagan than a divorcee can 
become a virgin.

     By the way, NATIONAL REVEIW, forgetting its own 
past, has become totally devoted to Israel, emitting the 
most naive Zionist mythology of Israel as a sinless land 
of victims and heroes. Many of the magazine's 
contributors are out-and-out Israel Firsters. Once upon a 
time, guided by James Burnham and other realists, it was 
sharply critical of the sacrifice of American to Israeli 
interests. Today Burnham's essays would be unprintable -- 
unthinkable -- in the magazine.

     I might add a brief anecdote. {{Late in 1990, during 
the debate over going to war with Iraq, I was the only 
senior editor of NATIONAL REVIEW to oppose the idea.}} 
Buckley sent a special-delivery ultimatum to my home {{in 
Virginia:}} unless I immediately retracted the charge 
that my fellow editors were in essence Israeli stooges, I 
would be fired.

     I was dumbfounded. I had made no such charge; it 
hadn't even crossed my mind, so preposterous it seemed. 
But the guilty flee when no man pursueth, and Buckley had 
somehow managed to construe a remark in one of my 
newspaper columns as a reflection on the patriotism of my 
fellow editors. I {{solved the problem, and}} saved my 
job for the moment, by writing that I hoped nobody had 
misunderstood my column as implying that my colleagues 
were Israeli stooges. But I realized that somebody inside 
NATIONAL REVIEW -- not just the Zionists of the 
COMMENTARY crowd -- was gunning for me. Today the writers 
of both magazines are interchangeable, but even then, 
it's now clear, Buckley had surrendered control of his 
own magazine to Norman Podhoretz. Maybe I *should* have 
made the preposterous charge after all.

     Today Zionist subversion has riddled the 
conservative movement much as Communist subversion once 
infiltrated liberalism. If you want to be a conservative 
"spokesman," you had better follow the party line; as 
witness Buckley, Limbaugh, George Will, Cal Thomas, and 
many others. The idea that American and Israeli interests 
might sometimes, even once in a blue moon, be in tension, 
not to say opposition, is simply out of the question. 
Both "nations" stand for the same "values," and it's in 
the interest of both to assert those "values" wherever 
they are "threatened."

     Not all conservatives buy this nonsense, but those 
who dissent from it internally must do so with extreme 
discretion and outward conformity. And only those who 
openly espouse the party line can hope for promotion. 
Christians must speak of "the Judaeo-Christian tradition" 
as a single and simple thing, which of course embraces 
Zionism among its basic tenets.

     Among other things, this produces deracinated 
versions of both Christianity and Judaism, but this can 
trouble only those eccentrics who give religion priority 
over politics. Nobody has formally said that Jesus Christ 
would be a Zionist, probably of the Likud faction, but 
this is implicit in the conservative-Zionist fusion. And 
make no mistake, this is an alliance rooted in fear: the 
conservative fear of the Zionists, and not vice versa. 
The conservatives try to hide their fear by affecting 
bravado when they defend Israel. In them one hears 
pathetic echoes of liberals defending Communists from Joe 
McCarthy, with perhaps a cock crowing in the background.

     Why does it matter? Because the country badly needs 
a real conservative presence, and real conservatives have 
been marginalized. Some have long suspected Buckley of 
serving the function of thought-policeman for the 
liberal-Zionist establishment; be that as it may, it has 
certainly been eons since any liberal or Zionist saw him 
as a threat. At 75, he is venerated as only the truly 
toothless conservative can be. {{His role in the 
conservative movement reminds one less of Whittaker 
Chambers than of Alger Hiss.}}

     The most thoughtful conservative analysis of the 
present crisis, as far as I know, is that of Fr. James 
Schall, who reminds us that Hilaire Belloc foresaw an 
Islamic resurgence in the 1930s, when most of the West 
had nearly forgotten Islam's existence. Belloc saw Islam 
as a Christian heresy, a more extreme form of Arianism, 
which denied the divinity of Christ. To Christians it 
seems an arid religion, yet it has had an amazing 
tenacity: very few Muslims have converted to 

     The Muslim mind, as I understand Father Schall, 
rejects not only the Incarnation, but the whole Christian 
view of creation and nature stemming from that central 
doctrine. Allah is all-powerful. Everything that exists 
or occurs, exists or occurs because of his direct action. 
He does not act through the mediation of the created 
world; there are no "natural" laws, physical or moral, 
for he has not given nature autonomy; he is not even 
bound by the laws of logic -- he can make square circles 
or decree contradictory truths. His sovereign will is 
inscrutable and arbitrary; if he wished, he could make 
murder and theft obligatory rather than illicit.

     All this, according to Father Schall, makes the 
Muslim refer all questions directly to Allah's will. For 
him Allah is always immediately present, though also 
infinitely remote. The believer and the infidel are 
enemies. The infidel, being also the enemy of Allah, is 
entitled to no mercy from the believer. Every believer 
must be willing to die for Allah. The natural world, 
including the political, has very little authority for 
the Muslim. Of course the individual Muslim may fall 
short of these demanding standards, but he recognizes 
their authority.

     If all this is so, we can expect war with the Muslim 
to be a ferocious affair; the Muslim fights with 
concentrated purpose and high morale. The Christian 
recognizes his enemy as a fellow human being, made in the 
image of God; even the apostate recognizes his enemy as 
an objective reality, by analogy with himself. The code 
of chivalry and just war theory, though honored only 
sporadically, are ways of applying Christian doctrine 
even to war; constitutional government is an attempt both 
to legitimize and to limit the authority of politics; the 
separation of church and state (when it does not 
degenerate into mere secularism) reflects the Christian 
distinction between the secular and the sacred. All these 
things are alien to Islamic culture, which is unclouded 
by refinements of moral ambiguity.

     To the Christian mind, Islam seems fantastic and 
crude. The Muslim may have four wives, any one whom he 
may divorce by a simple verbal act of renunciation. In 
the Muslim heaven, the believer is promised not the 
Beatific Vision but the attentions of 70 virgins; where 
do they come from? Are they real creatures? How, the 
Christian wonders, can anyone take this stuff seriously? 
Nevertheless, Islam has held a civilization together for 
many centuries, and it demands some sort of respect.

     None of this is to minimize the sheer evil of the 
9/11 attack. But to say that it represents a perversion 
of Islam, though perhaps true, is a little too easy. 
Every religion can be taken to extremes by fanatics. But 
I also notice that even more moderate Muslim leaders are 
reluctant to condemn these horrible murders out of hand, 
let alone to demand retribution, or to urge their 
followers to report suspected terrorists to the legal 
(infidel) authorities. Still less are they willing to say 
that the atrocities were motivated by envy of the sheer 
goodness of America.

     Tension between Islam and the modern West is coming 
to a head. American foreign policy, yanked about by 
Israeli interests and the need for oil, has created this 
situation with a long series of crimes and blunders, made 
all the worse by the eternal American naivete about 
foreign cultures. The radical Muslims are capable of 
enormous evil, but at least they are lucid. A handful of 
them, armed with the crudest weapons, have found at least 
one way of turning all our technological sophistication 
against us, and we live in dread that they may find 

     The modern West is what remains of what used to be 
called Christendom. It is Christendom minus Christianity 
-- secularized goyim and infidels, faced with a hostile 
culture that still knows what it is. The West's rulers 
prate, with grotesque moralism, of "democracy" and 
"freedom" as its defining abstractions, as if we could or 
should die for such vague ideas. The modern West really 
wants luxury and safety, and nobody is going to sacrifice 
his life for those things. Hedonism boasts no martyrs.

     Osama bin Laden is our enemy. But, stunned as we are 
by his astounding crimes, which naturally seem to us the 
height of irrational aggression, we should understand 
that in his own mind they were acts of Islamic self-
defense. He doesn't hate "democracy" and "freedom" -- to 
him, these are meaningless words. He hates *us,* the 
infidels who have invaded and defiled his world, and he 
struck back. We owe it not to him but to ourselves to 
understand how he sees his own role, because countless 
other Muslims interpret the situation as he does. They 
may not like him or approve of his methods, but it would 
be a mistake to force them to choose between him and us.

     Yet President Bush has announced to the Muslim world 
that it is either for us or against us. This is cowboys-
and-Indians talk, and it's no way to deal with a truly 
tragic situation. The essence of the problem is American 
hubris -- not because Islam is right, but because it is 
stubbornly Islamic. In the classic movie THE THIRD MAN, 
the American hero Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten), a writer 
of cheap Westerns, tries to solve the supposed murder of 
his best friend, who turns out to have been a major 
figure in Vienna's postwar black market. A British 
occupation officer, Major Calloway (Trevor Howard), 
reproaches his innocent arrogance: "Go home, Martins. You 
don't know what you're getting into. This isn't Texas." 
Neither is the Middle East.

*          *          *

     POSTSCRIPT. As we go to press, American and British 
forces are bombing Afghanistan. Given that this was more 
or less inevitable, I was somewhat heartened by the 
relative caution with which the Bush administration 
proceeded, aware of the danger of an all-out war with the 
Muslim world -- which was exactly what bin Laden and the 
Zionist propagandists wanted. (The Zionist press in this 
country, leery of attacking Bush himself, blamed 
Secretary of State Colin Powell for the policy of 

     Yet the danger remains. It's safe to say that the 
average Muslim is no more sensible than the average 
American, especially in moments of passion, and it's 
probably vain to suppose that he will make careful 
distinctions when the infidel bombs are falling.

     Let's put the sandal on the other foot. Imagine (as 
Yale's Paul Kennedy suggests) a world dominated by a 
single Arab superpower, with North America divided among 
several fractious countries; suppose the Arab empire kept 
a huge military force here, extracted our natural 
resources, manipulated our rulers, and encouraged what we 
considered grossly immoral behavior among us. If it began 
bombing one of the North American countries, would we 
cheerfully accept its assurances that it wasn't hostile 
to all of us, but only to the evil rulers of the targeted 

     We have debated the question of a military response 
as if the issue were solely whether retaliation is 
morally justified by the enormity of the crime, when the 
real issue is whether it will make things worse. To most 
Americans the Gulf War seemed both justified and, in 
terms of its immediate aims, successful; but if we count 
the 9/11 attack as part of the ultimate cost of that war, 
can anyone be sure it was worth it?

     The 9/11 attack was shocking, stunning, horrifying, 
and terrifying; yet I can't help feeling we are 
overreacting to it. Objectively, it poses no peril 
comparable to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, when we 
faced the prospect that every major American city might 
become a white-hot crater. Bin Laden's forces can't 
destroy us; they can only harass us. With no-tech weapons 
-- boxcutters -- they staged an amazing crime; but they 
may not be able to duplicate even that, now that our 
guard is up.

     At the same time, there may be no real defense, let 
alone remedy, at this point. Terrorism is likely to 
continue indefinitely, with or without bin Laden. And in 
their panic, too many Americans are rushing for 
protection to the same government, the same politicians, 
the same policies that did so much to make this awful 
mess. Psychologists have a name for such self-defeating 
but incorrigible behavior patterns: neurosis. The 
Israelis have been "cracking down" on terrorism for 
decades; today the problem is worse than ever. Are we 
determined to follow their example of adopting a solution 
that aggravates the original problem?


HISTORY, ANYONE? I warmly recommend a new book by Thomas 
WORLD WAR II (Basic Books). It's a scalding expose of 
Franklin Roosevelt's cynical and fatuous efforts to get 
the United States into war, to win by immoral means, and 
to build a postwar global imperium in partnership with 
Stalin. We're relatively lucky, now, to have a Bush 
instead of a Roosevelt; yet Bush is carrying on 
Roosevelt's legacy uncritically at a time when it's 
urgent to retrace the steps that brought us to this pass. 
(page 8)

AND NEVER THE TWAIN SHALL MEET: "Multiculturalism" may 
be defined as the refusal to take *any* culture 
seriously. Maybe the collision of Islam, Christianity, 
and Judaism will finally teach Americans that a culture 
is something more than a lot of colorful costumes and 
spicy foods; it's finally an essentially religious way of 
seeing and representing the universe, which finds 
expression even in the smallest details of secular life 
(including dress and cuisine). Any culture is bound to be 
in tension, if not conflict, with others. Only a decadent 
culture can fail to face this fact. (page 9)

TOUCHE: When NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE dropped her column (I 
regret to say it was a little too militant even for that 
war-mad crowd), my friend Ann Coulter made a shrewd 
comment: "If NATIONAL REVIEW has no spine, they are not 
my allies. I really don't need friends like that. Every 
once in a while they'll throw one of their people to the 
wolves to get good press in left-wing publications." I 
know. (page 11)

PEACE WITHOUT PAP: I don't want war with the Muslim 
world, and it sounds nice to repeat the comforting slogan 
that Islam is "a religion of peace." But we should bear 
in mind that the Prophet himself ordered the beheading of 
the Jewish men of Beni Quraidha who refused to adopt the 
new faith; the widows and children were sold into 
slavery. For centuries thereafter Islam grew by conquest. 
Its achievements are not to be despised; but neither 
should they be sentimentalized. At the very least, 
different cultures mean very different things when they 
speak of "peace." (page 12)

Exclusive to the electronic version:

BUILDING HIS LEGACY: Lest you think I see no good 
whatsoever in our government, I gratefully acknowledge 
that Bill Clinton has now been banned from practicing law 
before the U.S. Supreme Court. After millions of cynical 
jokes about lawyers' ethics, it's nice to know that even 
the legal profession can draw the line somewhere.

PARDONABLE PANDERING: When a visiting Saudi prince 
suggested that American foreign policy may have led to 
the 9/11 attacks, New York's Mayor Rudy Giuliani 
denounced him and rejected his proffered gift of 
$10 million to help the widows and children of the city's 
dead firemen. Rudy isn't going to let a little thing like 
the fate of widows and orphans interfere with his 
political priorities. And he's just lent new support to 
the Arab belief that the Jews run America.

IN LIEU OF EULOGY: Herbert Block, "Herblock," the famed 
editorial cartoonist of the WASHINGTON POST, has died at 
91. I once counted more than 80 words in a single 
Herblock cartoon. His politics were liberal, his drawings 
crude, his humor witless, his style heavy-handed: he 
labeled every item in each cartoon, just so nobody would 
miss the point. Some liberals, like Pat Oliphant, can 
make me laugh; Herblock, never.

PAT THE PROPHET: Patrick Buchanan got it right: the 
United States was supposed to be "a republic, not an 
empire." Last year he warned that an imperial U.S. 
foreign policy might bring a "terrible retribution." Now 
that the costs of unlimited government have been vividly 
brought home to us, unqualified support for the Empire, 
equated with "patriotism," is being demanded of all 


* After the 9/11 Attack  (September 13, 2001)

* Following the Script (September 18, 2001)

* Is It Worth It? (September 20, 2001)

* Accuracy and Other Illusions (September 25, 2001)

* Dad and Uncle Joe (September 27, 2001)

* Bin Laden's Modest Goals (October 2, 2001)


All articles are written by Joe Sobran

You may forward this newsletter if you include the 
following subscription and copyright information:

Subscribe to the Sobran E-Package. 
or for details and samples
or call 800-513-5053.

Copyright (c) 2001 by The Vere Company. All rights
Distributed by the Griffin Internet Syndicate with permission.