Friday, May 20, 2005

Brooks on Newsweek

David Brooks at the NYT's has an interesting point to make about the Newsweek fiasco,...

Maybe we should all focus on what's important. Newsweek's little item was seized and exploited by America's enemies in a way that was characteristically cynical, delusional and fascistic.

The people who seized upon this item, like the radical clerics in Afghanistan, are cynical in the way they manipulate episodes like this to whip up hatred and so magnify their own standing.

At the same time, they believe everything that could be alleged about America - and more. They've spent so many years inhabiting a delusional mental landscape filled with conspiracy theories and paranoia that you could drill deep into their minds without ever touching reality.

Finally, they are strategically ruthless. Jeffrey Goldberg of The New Yorker, who has spent years reporting on extremists, says they use manufactured spasms of hatred to desensitize their followers. After followers spend a few years living through rabid riots and vicious sermons, killing an American or a Jew or even a fellow Muslim seems no more consequential than killing a mosquito. That's how suicide bombers are made.

The rioters are the real enemy, not Newsweek and not the American soldiers serving as prison guards.

I have a tendency to agree, but read the whole thing (free online subscription required).

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