Pipes, Polls and Paranoia

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Nearly a quarter century ago, I came across the writings of Professor Richard Pipes. His specialty was Soviet Union history. I learned that he was a teenager when he fled from Nazi-occupied Poland with his family during World War II. He was a refugee and the son of refugee parents who, like many naturalized Americans, had settled in this country, and later became a history professor at Harvard University. I enjoyed his scholarly work on minorities in the Bolshevik Russia, and developed a profound respect for this Jewish scholar. And to this day, I still read his scholarly work.[1]

I was unaware of the existence of any other Pipes of standing until the Rushdie affair steamed up. So entered the other Pipes –” a Daniel Pipes –” like a tsunami in the Indian Ocean. In his writings, I saw the signatures of those homo demons from the past, the ideologues of Nazism and Fascism. His writings epitomized racism, bigotry, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim paranoia. . It is a travesty of the political process and the deepest of ironies that his work nonetheless rewarded him with a much-coveted Directorship at the U.S. Institute of Peace. He acts as if he has borrowed pages from das schwarze Korps,[2] der Stuermer [3] and voelkischer Beobachter[4] to apply against Muslims. Little did I know that he’s the son of that internationally renowned historian of Russia and the Soviet Union –” Dr. Richard Pipes –” the scholar whom I hold in esteem! Et tu Daniel!

Truly, life is full of mystery! Things that we least expect can happen sometimes. When Richard the father rebukes Russian nationalism for its intolerance “toward Jews, partly for religious reasons, partly because they refuse to dissolve without a trace in the ethnic community in the midst of which they live,” here is Daniel the son advocating Muslim pogroms in the West.[5] How ironical! Who would have expected the children and grandchildren of refugees, the ghetto-dwellers and victims of pogroms, Fascism and Nazism to behave like their evil persecutors? Is it a case of collective amnesia or of some serious mental ailment? Whatever may be the reason, the truth is it’s a nasty reality today.

So what is new with Daniel’s xenophobia? In a December 30, 2004 essay “Why The Japanese Internment Still Matters” (Star-Telegram) he displays his sickening passion by supporting the concept of rounding up millions of Muslim Americans and interning them in concentration camps. He agrees with the Fox News Channel contributor Michelle Malkin, a right-wing author of a recently published, controversial book “In Defense of Internment: The Case of Racial Profiling in World War II and the War on Terror” that suggests that in time of war, ‘civil liberties are not sacrosanct’ and governments should take into account nationality, ethnicity, and religious affiliation in their homeland security policies and engage in ‘threat-profiling.’ I am not surprised. Malkin’s thesis, as has been reviewed by others, is a good example of the “war-is-peace, tyranny-is-freedom, civilization-is-barbarism, liberation-is-occupation, you-are-with-us-or-against-us” worldview, propagated by the social-Darwinian neoconservative hawks running the Bush Administration.[6]

To support his sinister proposal on internment of Muslims, Daniel cites a poll, conducted by sophomore students in the Department of Communication at Cornell University.[7] The report was released on Dec. 17, 2004. He writes, “For years, it has been my position that the threat of radical Islam implies an imperative to focus security measures on Muslims. … And so, I was encouraged by a just-released Cornell University opinion survey that finds nearly half the U.S. population agreeing with this proposition. Specifically, 44 percent of Americans believe that government authorities should direct special attention towards Muslims living in the United States, either by registering their whereabouts, profiling them, monitoring them, monitoring their mosques or infiltrating their organizations.”

In an earlier article, “Improving Islam’s Reputation” (Jewish World Review, July 29, 2003), Daniel wrote, “Americans are increasingly negative about Islam and Muslims –” or so reports the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press in an important opinion survey…In November 2001, 59 percent registered positive views [about Muslim Americans]. That number declined to 54 percent in March 2002 and now stands at 51 percent.” (The survey was conducted during the June 24 –” July 8, 2003 period.)

If the sampling plan for the surveys above can be trusted, these are obviously worrisome statistics. How much did TV (especially Fox) and Radio Talk show programs, and Church teachings contribute to poisoning the minds of Americans against Muslims and Islam? (Before 9/11, among all religious groups, Muslim Americans had the least crime rate in the USA.) The Cornell University survey, fortunately, provides some answers to these important questions. It revealed, something that I have been stating for quite some time, that there seems to be a direct relationship.[8] For example, twice as many respondents who pay a high level of attention to TV news felt personally in danger from a terrorist attack, as compared to respondents who pay a low level of attention to TV news. The percentage of respondents entertaining negative image about Islam shot up by a whopping 18% (from 47% to 65%) amongst highly religious people. Forty two percent of highly religious respondents believe that Muslim Americans should register their whereabouts with the federal government. Republican respondents entertained more negative image about Muslims than Democrats. Christians with a high level of religiosity are almost twice as likely to agree with the government measures to monitor Internet and outlaw un-American actions, and that the media should not report criticisms of the government in times of crisis.[9] Talk about a free society! I wish the Democrats had some clue as to how strong the Christian Right movement has become in America.

Americans were made to think negatively about the effect of madrasa-training in Muslim countries, and the impact of al-Jajeera TV on inciting resistance against American and Israeli forces in the Middle East, but not about what their own Churches and the media were doing to create negative stereotypes against Muslims. Dr. James Shanahan, one of the authors of the Cornell report, said: “… Our findings highlight that personal religiosity as well as exposure to news media are two important correlates for support for restrictions [on civil liberties]. We need to explore why these two very important channels of discourse may nurture fear rather than understanding.”[10]

How much did neoconservatives contribute to polarizing American attitude against Muslims and Islam? How about Daniel himself?[11] How about Richard Perle and his hate spewing book –” An End to Evil?[12] How about the hate literature published and promoted by Christian Zionists?[13] Is there a connection with the resolutions passed during the Jerusalem Summit, held October 12-14 of 2003, in exploiting the scene?[14] One need not go any further than reading and listening to understand their harmful effects.

The Cornell survey also revealed something that shows how little Americans know about Islam. Almost half (46%) the respondents could not even answer two basic questions: what name Muslims use to refer to God (Allah) and the name of the Muslim holy book (Qur’an). Did not we know that people are afraid of things they are ignorant about – ignorance leads to suspicion; suspicion leads to fear and anxiety, which contribute to hatred? I am really amazed at the level of ignorance of our 21st century Americans. How can you blame them when their powerful priest Pat Robertson, one of the iconic figures behind the Christian Right movement that got Bush reelected, preaches that Muslims worship Hubal, the moon-god of pagans (of the pre-Islamic Arabia)?

In my essay “An Analysis of anti-Muslim polemics,” I stated, “If the Crusaders knew as much about Muslims as Muslims had known about them, the sad event probably would not have happened. It is clear that the situation has not improved.” Once again the Cornell survey bolsters my theory. When Americans know about Islam, away from the agenda-driven American media’s disinformation campaign and the hate-campaigns by agents of bigotry, their fear about Islam and Muslims would also taper down.

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Now that we know about the negative impact of media and Christian religiosity on American perception about Muslims and Islam, my question is: what did neoconservatives like Daniel Pipes achieve for America and her President? According to an AP poll conducted Nov. 19-27, 2004 across Europe, at least seven in ten (>70%) in France, Germany and Spain said they have an unfavorable view of the U.S. president. Just over half of the French and Germans said they have an unfavorable view of Americans in general, and about half of Spaniards felt that way. Especially inclined to have an unfavorable opinion of Bush in those countries were people between ages 18 and 24. A majority of all respondents in France, Germany and Spain said they were disappointed that Bush won a second four-year term, defeating Democrat John Kerry. The negative image is not limited to those countries only. A majority of people in Britain, America’s strongest ally in the Iraq war, has an unfavorable view of Bush. Six in 10 (60%) Britons said they were disappointed he was re-elected. In Canada, about the same number of Canadians said they were disappointed with the re-election.[15]

Can Daniel guess why such a negative image about Americans and President Bush, in spite of his reelection victory? An earlier AP poll conducted by Ipsos, an international polling firm, in Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Spain and the United States, in March 2004, showed that just over half in Mexico and Italy had a negative view of Mr. Bush’s role. In Britain and in Canada, two-thirds had a negative view. Three-fourths of those in Spain and more than 80% in France and Germany had a negative view of Mr. Bush’s role in world affairs.[16]

Another poll requested by the European Commission (conducted 8-16 October, ’03 by Taylor Nelson Sofres/ EOS Gallup Europe and results released in Oct. 30, 2003) showed that Europeans believe the United States contributed the most to world instability. According to the same survey, over half (59%) of Europeans thought that Israel presented the biggest threat to world peace.[17]

Are the Europeans anti-Semitic? Or, is it Sharon’s war crimes in the Occupied Territories, approved and aided by the Amen Corner in the Capitol Hill that is responsible for such an incriminating result? Is the negative perception in Europe, Canada and Mexico about Bush and America linked to trustworthier media and less Christian religiosity there? Or, is it because of Bush doctrine, written by neo-conservative hawks?

A new Gallup poll (conducted Jan. 7-9) released on Jan. 12, 2005 finds Americans tilting against the war in Iraq, with 50% now saying it was a mistake to send U.S. troops into Iraq. (Note: In November 1966 the negative view in Vietnam was only endorsed by 31%, and in July 1967 it reached 41%. After reaching 53% in August 1968, it hit 60% in January 1971.) Last year at this time, 59% said it was worth going to war in Iraq. The poll finds 56% of Americans disapproving the way President Bush is handling the situation in Iraq, up from 51% in November. Just 42% approve. When Americans were asked how well things are going for the war in Iraq, 40% say they are going well, and 59% say they are going badly. This is a decline of 6% in optimism since September.[18] And this, in spite of the gag order forbidding display of pictures of American-flag-draped coffins of soldiers returning home for burial.

There is no denying that the neoconservatives orchestrated the war in Iraq. They misled the world with false claims. (I won’t be surprised if the source for the so-called ‘faulty’ intelligence originated with them.) No WMDs were found, and the CIA hunters for biological, chemical and nuclear weapons in Iraq have now returned home. (Bush expressed disappointment that no weapons or weapons programs were found, but had to call off the search.)[19] Bush was their front man, but they were the ones manipulating and running the show. And at what a miserable cost! The war has cost America 200 billion dollars (the destruction of properties in Iraq alone is estimated at more than a hundred billion dollars) and has resulted in the deaths of more than a hundred thousand Iraqi civilians (outside Fallujah). If America were to pay reparation for her illegal war in Iraq, the cost may run into hundreds of billions of dollars. Iraq is unstable and insecure, her treasures looted, and infrastructure bombed out. There is no sign that the situation inside Iraq would quickly improve after the U.S.-sponsored election this month. This is the Iraq that neocons have presented us! Their tricks have made our world more insecure than ever before, sowing the seeds of ‘clash of civilizations.’

A poll conducted by Zogby International, the most trusted name in opinion survey, last year (July 2004) found that even in ‘friendly’ Arab countries, the U.S. is viewed unfavorably by overwhelming majorities (98% in Egypt, 94% in Saudi Arabia, 88% in Morocco, 78% in Jordan, and 73% in UAE). Compared to April 2002, these numbers are higher (except in UAE).[20]

A new pre-inaugural poll, reported by NPR on Jan. 13, ’05, shows that President Bush’s public approval rate (who was named the Time Magazine’s Man of the Year in 2004) in America lags those of other recent second-term presidents.[21] Bush begins his second term with a 50% approval rating –” well below the support enjoyed by President Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan and Clinton at the start of their second terms.[22]

All these polls are ominous signs for America and President Bush. Many noted international analysts view Bush as a reincarnation of Adolf Hitler.[23] America is loathed around the world. Except “buying and bullying” influence, she has little leverage.

So, rather than shedding crocodile tears for Muslim Americans’ image, Daniel and his ilk should examine at their own culpability and work towards improving the image of Bush and America around the world. That would be more productive and commendable. Otherwise, it won’t be too long that their honeymoon with Bush would be over. And who knows they might find themselves in the same spots visited by others like Julius Streicher, Hans Frank, Adolf Eichman, Rudolf Hess and Hermann Goering for crimes against humanity!

Notes:

[1]. Prof. Richard Pipes’s role as a policy adviser to President Reagan during the Cold War period was recently questioned in a BBC report (The Power of Nightmares), which accused his advisory group of misleading the government about the Kremlin.

[2]. Das Schwarze Korps was the weekly newspaper of the SS. It was one of the more "radical" of the Nazi publications.

[3]. Julius Streicher was the editor of Der Stuermer. Streicher wanted Der Stürmer to appeal to the common man, to the worker with little time to read. Thus, Der Stürmer’s articles used short sentences and a simple vocabulary. Ideas were repeated. Headlines grabbed a reader’s attention. And the cartoons were easily understood. A popular headline read: Die Juden Sind Unser Unglück" ("The Jews Are Our Misfortune"). In a South German edition of the Voelkischer Beobachter 46 (no. 90), Munich, 31 March 1933, Streicher was reported making the statement: “The same Jew who plunged the German people into blood-letting of the World War, and who committed the crime of the November Revolution against it, is now engaged in stabbing Germany, recovering from its shame and misery, in the back. … And Judah declares war against Germany.” (http://www1.yadvashem.org/odot_pdf/Microsoft%20Word%20-%203354.pdf) The magazine was at the forefront on its assault of Jews. However, similar to D. Pipes’s onslaught against Muslims, it claimed that ‘it was not against Jewish religion, but against the Jewish race; the Jews were taught from the Talmud; the laws of Talmud were in harsh contradiction to German morals.’ (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/streicher-talmud.html) After his trial at the Nuremburg, he was hanged on Oct. 16, 1946.

[4]. See the parallels with his statements against Muslims (‘radical’ or ‘islamist’ Muslims) with those of German newspapers and Journals against Jews. http://sociologyesoscience.com/national_treasure/fs.html. In a June 1923 article in Aufbau-Korrespondenz , Scheubner-Richter wrote, for example, “Efforts to establish the ‘rule of the international Jews,’ an undertaking that in Russia ‘began with the extermination (Ausrottung) of the Russian national intelligentsia.'” ("Die dritte Internationale an der Arbeit," Aufbau-Korrespondenz, June 7, 1923, p. 1.) In his August 1921 article in the Voelkischer Beobachter, "The Progrom against the German and the Russian Peoples," Rosenberg claimed that -a systematic destruction of the Russian national intelligentsia by the Jewish government began immediately after the Bolsheviks had triumphed. ("Der Progrom am deutschen und am russischen Volke,” Voellkischer Beobachter, August 4, 1921, p.3.) Rosenberg stressed in a March 1921 edition of the Voelkischer Beobachter that Jews also threatened to bring about the “slaughter of the national leadership" in Germany followed by “bloody Jewish terror enforced with foreign troops as in Russia. (“Schicksalswende in London,” Voelkischer Beobachter, March 6, 1921, p. 3.)

[5]. Solzhenitsyn and the Jews: Review of “Alone Together” by Richard Pipes, New Republic, Nov. 25, 2002.

[6]. Scott Besho, a reviewer of the book writes: “Malkin’s thesis is a good example of the war-is-peace, tyranny-is-freedom world view of the far right. She argues that "political correctness" must not paralyze a nation in times of danger. Yet it was the political correctness of 1942 that made the internment orders possible–and why laws for the enforcement of them sailed through Congress. It was politically incorrect at the time to support the rights of Japanese Americans, most of whom were children whose parents were prohibited from becoming citizens even if they wanted to, thanks to the politically correct Japanese and Asian exclusion acts of the 1900s to 1920s. The social Darwinian belief that the "Asiatic races" could never be "assimilated" was behind the profiling, rounding up, and incarcerating of children with even "one drop" of Japanese blood, to quote Col. Karl R. Bendetsen, the army’s evacuation planner. The idea is that people other than whites act, behave and think as members of racial groups, but white people do so as individuals with free will.

Similar fuzzy thinking surrounds the reaction to 9/11. "Some" (to borrow the Fox news rhetoric) defend the war in Iraq and domestic targeting of Muslims as a response to the terrorist attacks, conveniently forgetting that no Iraqis were implicated in the attacks and that Muslims are far from monolithic in their beliefs and politics or even their race, either in the Middle East or in the US, where there are more Muslims than in Afghanistan. BTW, no ethnic Japanese were ever convicted of espionage for Japan. But ten white people were. Shouldn’t whites have been profiled? Malkin’s revelations about the camps are not news to anyone who has studied them, but perhaps her contention that they were not that bad might be put to the test by having believers in their efficacy (like Malkin) try out the newest generation of internment facilities, first giving up their property and liberty and then spending a few years there for their own good.” (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0895260514/103-3643685-3315813?v=glance)

[7]. The survey was conducted between Oct. 25 and Nov. 23, 2004, and based on interviews of 715 individuals by students at the Communication 282 Industry Research Method class.

[8]. See this author’s essay: “Farrah’s bluster about religious intolerance” for supporting evidence.

[9]. MSRG Special Report: Restrictions on Civil Liberties, Views of Islam, & Muslim Americans, Dec. 2004, Media & Society Research Group, Cornell University (prepared by Erik C. Nisbet and James Shanahan)

[10]. Fear factor: 44 percent of Americans queried in Cornell national poll favor curtailing some liberties for Muslim Americans, Cornell News, Dec. 17, 2004.

[11]. www.danielpipes.org

[12]. See this author’s “An Analysis of Anti-Islamic Polemics” for citation.

[13]. Read this author’s “Random Thoughts on Books about Islam and Muslims.”

[14]. http://jerusalemsummit.org/eng/goals.php

[15]. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6705821/

[16]. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/03/04/world/main604135.shtml

[17]. http://www.twf.org/News/Y2003/1031-Poll.html; http://www.euobserver.com/index.phtml

[18]. http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000750298

[19]. http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A2129-2005Jan11?language=printer

[20]. See this author’s “What’s in a name: Strategic Communication or Deception?”

[21]. NPR All Things Considered: Robert Siegel speaks with Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center for People and the Press. (By the way, Hitler was named Man of the Year in 1938 by the Time Magazine. The same magazine named Stalin in 1939 and 1942.)

[22]. This is interesting given the fact that Nixon was reelected when the USA was still entangled in Vietnam.

[23]. Read “From Hitler to Bush” by Dr. Federico Fasano Mertens, editor of La República del Uruguay. See also: the essay: “The Rise of the Fourth Reich” (www.lawfulpath.com/ref/4th_reich.shtml) where its author rightfully says that it is not easy to spot a genocidal tyrant when you live with one, especially one whom the media promotes and supports. They become obvious only when looking back, after what they have done become known.

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