On Sunday, Michelle Malkin, along with a group of other major bloggers, highlighted the violence that the Iranian morality police routinely visit on their own people. I linked to her post as part of another post I was doing and, with an eye to increasing my own traffic, sent a trackback ping.
It turns out I wasn’t the only one looking at Malkin when she was looking at Iran. A blogger writing at The Populist (which is #69 in the TLB ecosystem) also riffed off of Malkin’s post, to come up with a post of his own entitled “Human Rights in Iran, Who Cares?” [sic]. I wouldn’t have known about the post were it not for the fact that, probably based on the trackbacks to Malkin’s original post, the Populist included me in his “others” blogging list.
As the title of his post indicates, The Populist doesn’t care what’s going on in Iran:
My Initial reaction is, who cares? We’re not in that country! Nor do I feel we need to be. All the more reason to Love being American and not under some Islamic rule. Guess I’m still smarting from the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979.
I get it: The Iranian people had their revolution and they got stuck with their government. Of course, a generation has come and gone since that revolution, and many people who were mere children, or not even born at the time, are stuck too. Let’s just ignore the fact that the same Iranian government that terrorizes its own people is planning the annihilation of Israel and routinely exports its terror worldwide.
But it’s not The Populist’s ignorance about the larger implications of Iranian totalitarianism, which is right now played out on the canvas if its own citizens, that irks me about his view. What irks me is that The Populist justifies his not caring by pointing to Abu Ghraib:
And it seems quite funny that Mrs. Malkin is complaining about Human Rights violations, What was she saying during the abu grave prison human rights violations?
I noticed some pictures on her Blog about this.. Does she remember these Pictures?
[Followed by a couple of Abu Ghraib pictures.]
But these were Terrorists, right? Michelle, So, that makes it okay? Right Michelle?
I find it very disturbing that an American would compare the anomalous conduct of a small group of American troops, conduct that earned strong condemnation from the top of the military (that would be President Bush) to the bottom, to the official government-endorsed policy of Iran. Nor can I argue away my own discomfort by saying that The Populist loves America so much that, to him, a slight cut on the body politic of America is as grave an injury as a gaping wound on the Iranian body politic. That argument would require him to opine, somewhere, that America is a better country, with a better political system, and more honorable troops than anything comparable in Iran, and that he therefore expects infinitely more from America.
That “America is wonderful; how can she do something so awful?” view is simply not there. Instead, after after arguing that renegade American troops who used humiliation in a confined situation are the moral equivalent of the Iranian government police who bloodily attack ordinary citizens on the streets, The Populist goes into a Rose O’Donnell inspired rant about the fact that Americans are the real terrorists, a rant he combines with a racist dig at Michelle Malkin:
Quite frankly, I support Rosie O’Donnell’s (who, by the way, has more talent in her pinky finger, than you have in your entire Filipino immigrant body…) comment about our troops being terrorists. and I’ll ask you, Mrs Malkin, Who are the terrorists? What do you consider a country to be, who sends it’s Army, Navy, Air force and Marines into a country based upon
falsecherry picked and bad intelligence to topple it’s leader and then torture it’s inhabitants to try and get information out of them? I ask you Malkin, Just who the are the terrorists?
You can’t escape the feeling that The Populist sees America as evil to the core. He’s not weeping over American wrong-doing because he expected better from the U.S. and her troops. He’s gloating over the fact that, in his mind, we’re no better than Iran.
I asked fellow blogger Don Quixote at lunch today, “How in the world do you go about arguing with that mind set?” This is not an intellectual position that yields to arguments (a) about freedom of speech (something from which the Populist obviously benefits, since he, a government critic, would never be allowed to function in a more repressive country); (b) about the merits of the free market; or (c) about the strong economy (something that again distinguishes us from repressive regimes).
For every virtue I’d point to in America, I know I’d get the same litany: America=racist; America=terrorist; America=tyrannical Christian theocracy; America=”Bush lied, people died.” Everything that’s bad in the country overwhelms and renders invisible everything good in the country. It’s a view so one-sided and myopic that it’s frightening. I certainly don’t deny America’s faults but, with all her faults, I love her still — because no matter how you look at it, she’s the best game in town. There’s always room for improvement, but there’s something deeply wrong about people who believe that America, which makes and ‘fesses up to her mistakes, is the moral equivalent of regimes in Iran or Hamas or groups like the Baathists, that live to make “mistakes” of human violence and degradation on a scale that the Progressives resolutely refuse to contemplate.