The prize goes to Anne-Marie Slaughter, author of this Sunday’s Washington Post review, titled “War of the Worlds,” of Robert W. Merry”s “Sands of Empire,” George Weigel”s “The Cube and the Cathdedral,” and Clyde Prestowitz”s “Three Billion New Capitalists.”
Slaughter?s basic premise is that anyone–such as the authors of the above three books–who thinks militant Islam is a threat to Western civilization is a paranoid hysteric. Indeed the Washington Post Book World?s cover-illustration for Slaughter?s review (click, then enlarge) features a bunch of Munch?s-“Scream”-faced Americans fleeing what look like flying saucers but what are actually Muslim turbans. Get the message? We who think jihad-minded suicide bombers and the murderers of Dutch filmmakers constitute a problem are just a bunch of nut-cases.
Unfortunately, that illustration of the running Americans with their faces to the sky reminded me of nothing so much as September 11, 2001. That day–never mentioned by Slaughter in her dismissive review–also featured running Americans with their faces to the sky. They lived and worked in New York City, and they were fleeing for their lives and taking in the massacre of thousands in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers at the hands of…those militant Islamic terrorists who Slaughter says exist only in our fevered imaginations.
Slaughter has harsh words for Merry and treats Prestowitz only marginally more kindly–but she saves her real wrath for George Weigel, who has the temerity to argue that Europe, currently collapsing demographically and economically and inundated with unassimilated Muslim immigrants, needs to recover the Christian heritage it has cast aside. Sniffs Slaughter, who thinks that Christianity, in contrast to Islam, is a Very Bad Thing:
“What unites Merry and Weigel most fundamentally is their insistence on seeing the world through a civilizational lens, one that assumes a predisposition to a particular kind of politics. Yet at what point does this ?civilizationism? become racism? In America?s contemporary culture wars, even to raise the ?r? word is to invite countercharges of political correctness and an unwillingness or inability simply to face reality. Arguments about the inevitable clash of civilizations, however, have an ugly essentialist quality, running directly counter to the American creed that liberty, democracy and human dignity are universal values….
“America sorely needs such thinking at a time when the triumphalism of our rhetoric is increasingly undermined by the apocalyptic visions of authors such as Merry and Weigel.”
All I can say about this is: I hope for her sake that Slaughter wrote her review before not after the jihadist bombings in London on July 7 that took 54 lives and injured hundreds of others. “Apocalyptic visions” indeed.