Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
Fighting Terrorism Since 1492
by Joseph Farah
Posted Oct 04, 2006
Maybe I'm an unlikely candidate to write this column for the following reasons:
* I opposed the formation of the Department of Homeland Security and still consider it a testament to the archaic notions that bigger is better and that centralized authority is more efficient.
* My ancestral heritage includes American Indian or "native American" blood.
* Most of my non-Indian ancestors were late arrivals to these shores — coming, as they did, in the early part of the 20th century, long after the Indian wars were over.
Yet, I take offense at a T-shirt finding popularity among the hate-America. You can see an image of it on this page here.
"Homeland Security," it reads, over a photo of four armed Indians. "Fighting Terrorists Since 1492."
In fact, there are a whole series of variations on the theme. (I trust those reading this column will have the good sense not to purchase any.)
I'm sure this is getting some yucks in college faculty lounges and among Ward Churchill fans in academia.
But it's not funny. In fact, it's insulting. It's insulting to you, me and should be to every single American. The fact that it is obviously not insulting to every American is the real tragedy behind the "joke."
What we can deduce from this bumper-sticker version of American history is the following:
* The real Americans were the Indians, who would never have known what a rifle was — or the wheel, for that matter — had it not been for the European "terrorists" who invaded their shores.
* Columbus, who discovered America in 1492, was a "terrorist" and every non-native person who followed was as well.
* That our fight against the people who killed 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11, 2001, and their allies is hypocritical because we ourselves are mostly descendants of foreign invaders.
It is this kind of moral relativism that is rendering Americans incapable of discerning right from wrong, from distinguishing between truth and lie, from telling up from down, right from left, black from white.
It must be the goal.
Some people hate America so much that they want to shape its future by rewriting its past. They want to obscure the present by twisting history. They want to demoralize us from defending ourselves and our way of life by persuading us that we are no better than our enemies.
How do you have dialogue with such people?
What common ground do we have with people who really see the world through this inverse reality?
What must it be like living in such a parallel universe?
How do you feel being caricatured as the moral equivalent of a 9/11 suicide hijacker because of the color of your skin?
Imagine America — the birthplace of real human freedom in the world — being maligned as the incubator of terrorism, racism and oppression.
That's what's going on here. I hate to make too much of a T-shirt, but the T-shirts are only symptoms of the mental illness infecting a vast part of our population.
Let me summarize here:
We are at war today with Islamofascists who seek to destroy us, our country and our memory. It is the same enemy that drove Columbus to seek a sea route to the East in 1492 — because people who called themselves, as they do today, muhahadeen, had blocked the land routes. It is the same enemy President Thomas Jefferson was forced to fight in America's first war — with the so-called "Barbary Pirates," in fact Islamic terrorists who hijacked commercial ships back then because there were no airliners.
No amount of wishful thinking will change the fact that we are at war. No amount of self-loathing will make our enemy go away. No amount of blaming America will make us immune to the next unprovoked attack by an enemy that would behead anyone wearing one of these T-shirts as quickly as they would behead someone wearing a cross or the Star of David.
Copyright © 2006 HUMAN EVENTS. All Rights Reserved.
Here are some responses from me and guest commentator PumaClaw (in italics):
>> * My ancestral heritage includes American Indian or "native American" blood. <<
I always luv it when they start out by assuring us of their partial Indian ancestry before they come up with their bullshit. And let's look at his bullshit, okay?
>> * Most of my non-Indian ancestors were late arrivals to these shores — coming, as they did, in the early part of the 20th century, long after the Indian wars were over. <<
So your ancestors are responsible "only" for the treaty violations, the gross negligence, and the termination policies of the 20th century...is that it?
>> Yet, I take offense at a T-shirt finding popularity among the hate-America. <<
I take offense at your offense. In other words, who the hell cares what you think?
The "hate America" charge is about as lame as they come. It signals that Farah has no arguments worth mentioning.
The following is a fine rebuttal of it. Note that hating America and hating Bush are the same thing to conservatives like Farah.
From the LA Times:
Rosa Brooks: I'm No Bush Hater
There's a huge difference between disliking the president and disliking his policies.
September 29, 2006
ARE YOU A Bush hater, so blinded by "primal" loathing for the president that you automatically dismiss everything he says or does?
It's one of the far right's favorite weapons: If anyone criticizes the administration, brand them a Bush hater. The implication is that no sane or fair-minded person could be appalled by this administration's policies. Any criticism of Bush must be caused by what columnist Charles Krauthammer described as "contempt and disdain giving way to a hatred that is near pathological." My column last week, for instance, generated a response from one right-wing blogger that not only mischaracterized what I said but referred to me as "Bush hating," "blinded" by "virulent" anger, full of "unreconstructed rage" and typical of the "Bush-hatred of the American left."
The right's got it wrong.
I don't love George Bush, it's true. No matter how many times I urge myself to hate the sin but love the sinner, I just can't get there. But I don't hate Bush, either. I hope that he'll never personally experience any of the "alternative methods" of interrogation he's so willing to use on U.S. detainees; I hope he'll never lose a child to war; I hope he'll never experience the soul-sapping poverty to which his administration has abandoned so many Americans.
No, I don't hate George Bush.
But I sure hate what he's done to my country.
I hate the fact that Bush and the radicals in his administration play politics with patriotism, casting critics of misguided legislation on military commissions and wiretapping as "soft" on terrorism and telling us, as Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld recently did, that "moral or intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong can weaken the ability of free societies to persevere."
In Bush's America, questioning makes us weak. In my America, we value dissent and debate because we know this is what makes us strong and free.
I hate the fact that after promising to unite us, this president has done his best to divide us. In Bush's America, there are real Americans and then there are the blue states … and the Democrats. Sometimes, as Les Gelb, former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, recently put it, the White House actually seems "as interested in defeating Democrats as in defeating terrorists." In my America, we're all citizens, from Texas and South Carolina and Ohio to New York and California. And every single one of us matters.
I hate the fact that to Bush, having "values" seems to mean absolutist opposition to gay marriage and abortion and indifference to many forms of suffering. In Bush's America, preventing gay marriage is apparently more important than preventing cruel or degrading treatment of detainees, or helping the millions of Americans who struggle to make it from paycheck to paycheck. In my America, having "values" means believing that "inalienable rights" is more than just a pretty phrase, and it means pulling together to address the growing income inequality that, unchecked, will permanently distort our democracy.
I hate the fact that Bush's reckless foreign policies have led many of our closest allies to regard this nation with contempt and fear. Increasingly, people around the world see the U.S. as a threat to global stability, not as a source of stability. In Bush's America, the greatest traditions of American diplomacy seem to have been replaced by "my way or the highway." In my America, we understand that being a good neighbor is part of what keeps us safe.
I hate the fact that to Bush, the phrase "the buck stops here" is apparently as quaint as the Geneva Convention. He has yet to come clean about the degree to which he overstated the charge that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or on the lack of a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11. In Bush's America, being president means never having to say you're sorry. In my America, presidents should admit it when they make mistakes — and then work in a bipartisan way to chart a better course instead of sticking stubbornly to failed policies.
The United States is in trouble. The spread of militant Islamic extremism and WMD will pose dangers for decades to come, and global warming, disease and poverty are all serious threats. If we're going to respond to those threats, we need to pull together — and we need to stop letting the far right get away with dismissing all criticism of the Bush administration as irrational "hatred."
Indians = "real Americans"?
>> * The real Americans were the Indians, who would never have known what a rifle was — or the wheel, for that matter — had it not been for the European "terrorists" who invaded their shores. <<
How does that T-shirt imply his assumptions? Actually, the wheel was known in America prior to the arrival of Columbus. It was used on toys but not on wagons — mainly because there were no suitable draft animals here anyway.
And why does this moron assume we would have never come in contact with a rifle unless whites invaded this country? After all, international trade doesn't normally include an invasion of "settlers."
The shirt doesn't imply "the real Americans were the Indians." This implication exists only in Farah's fevered imagination. All the shirt implies is that Indians have been defending their homelands against invaders since Columbus.
>> * Columbus, who discovered America in 1492, was a "terrorist" and every non-native person who followed was as well. <<
Huh? Does he believe Columbus was NOT a terrorist? He was. Maybe the poor dude needs to read his journals. This is also true for a number of other "explorers" from Spain.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines "terrorism" as
The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.
Sounds like what Columbus, Cortés, Pizarro, and the rest did to me. See Those Evil European Invaders for more on the subject.
If Columbus and his ilk weren't terrorists according to some definition, they were arguably criminals. Homeland Security as we define it exists to protect the US from foreign criminals and illegal immigrants as well as terrorists. So the t-shirt is appropriate for that reason also.
>> * That our fight against the people who killed 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11, 2001, and their allies is hypocritical because we ourselves are mostly descendants of foreign invaders. <<
Now that's an interesting whine because of the less than 3,000 victims of 9/11 NOT all of them were Americans to begin with. In fact, the victims hailed from 62 different countries but somehow only the American ones seem to count. This country certainly never bothered to send any condolences to those other countries nor were the survivors of the foreign victims treated with respect.
Not only are we descendants of invaders, but most of us have lived through and approved of several US invasions of foreign countries. See Century in Review: List of US Military Interventions to learn how often we've invaded someone's homeland.
>> It is this kind of moral relativism that is rendering Americans incapable of discerning right from wrong, from distinguishing between truth and lie, from telling up from down, right from left, black from white. <<
As opposed to what kind of moral relativism? The kind that allows Bush to lie about the certainty of WMDs in Iraq and dissemble about the cost of overthrowing Saddam?
>> Some people hate America so much that they want to shape its future by rewriting its past. <<
Is Farah admitting he hates America (too)? Because he's the only one rewriting history here. The people who produced the t-shirt have nothing to apologize for. Native people have been defending themselves against "the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence" since 1492.
>> They want to demoralize us from defending ourselves and our way of life by persuading us that we are no better than our enemies. <<
Iraq wasn't our enemy until we invaded it. Neither was most of the Islamic world. Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda were our enemies. We let the former escape and the latter regroup, and Bush has said they're no longer a priority.
>> What must it be like living in such a parallel universe? <<
It feels great kicking your butt and getting praised for it. How do you feel getting your butt kicked?
>> How do you feel being caricatured as the moral equivalent of a 9/11 suicide hijacker because of the color of your skin? <<
I don't know. How does it feel to be one of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed because of their vague religious or racial resemblance to a handful of Saudi terrorists hiding in Pakistan?
The t-shirt's critique isn't based on the color of one's skin so much as the greediness of one's political system. Those who take and take--i.e., most Westerners--come in all colors.
America = birthplace of freedom?
>> Imagine America — the birthplace of real human freedom in the world — being maligned as the incubator of terrorism, racism and oppression. <<
No need to tell us that. It was a secondary implication of the t-shirt. America was an egalitarian paradise with freedom for (almost) everyone until the monarchists from Spain, France, and England brought their undemocratic cultures to America's shores. The Indians must've scratched their heads in confusion when colonists declared their right to speak and worship freely; they had always had those rights.
See Indians Gave Us Enlightenment for more on the subject.
>> I hate to make too much of a T-shirt, but the T-shirts are only symptoms of the mental illness infecting a vast part of our population. <<
Now who's insulting others? I guess the majority of Americans are mentally ill, according to Farah, since they oppose Bush's immoral and illegal war on Iraq.
>> We are at war today with Islamofascists who seek to destroy us, our country and our memory. <<
No, we're at war with several political factions in Iraq and various warlords and remnants of the Taliban in Afghanistan. None of these people seek to destroy the US.
Even the original terrorists—bin Laden and Al Qaeda—didn't seek to destroy the US. This is another lie perpetuated by Bush. For what they did seek, see Inside the Terrorists' Minds.
BTW, it's becoming more and more obvious that I was right from the start. 9/11 was an inside job and had nothing to do with foreign terrorists period. And islamofascists who are trying to destroy our country? Didn't even Bush already admit that Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11, and it was Hussein who first rated the label islamofascist? Now that sounds like a real Bush-fan, huh?
>> It is the same enemy that drove Columbus to seek a sea route to the East in 1492 — because people who called themselves, as they do today, muhahadeen, had blocked the land routes. <<
This sounds like one of those rewrites of history Farah was talking about. Every history book and webpage talks about Columbus seeking a shorter route to Asia, not seeking a passable sea route because the land route was blocked. Europeans wanted to reach Asia faster because longer trips were more expensive, not because they were impossible by land.
>> It is the same enemy President Thomas Jefferson was forced to fight in America's first war — with the so-called "Barbary Pirates," in fact Islamic terrorists who hijacked commercial ships back then because there were no airliners. <<
More rewrites of history. Scattered attacks by pirates don't constitute a war. The first war the US fought as a nation was the War of 1812. Nor are pirates who seek wealth the same as terrorists. Their motives were financial, not ideological or political.
Gosh, a conservative who fabricates history...imagine my surprise.
>> No amount of wishful thinking will change the fact that we are at war. <<
No amount of wishful thinking will change the fact that we're at war with an "enemy" (Iraq) who didn't attack us while we neglect the enemy (Al Qaeda) who did attack us.
>> No amount of self-loathing will make our enemy go away. <<
No amount of killing Muslims will make Muslims stop hating us for killing them.
>> No amount of blaming America will make us immune to the next unprovoked attack by an enemy that would behead anyone wearing one of these T-shirts as quickly as they would behead someone wearing a cross or the Star of David. <<
It's a fact that we overthrew the government of Iran in the '50s, supported Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine since it began in the '60s, invaded Lebanon and propped up Saddam (the new Hitler) in the '80s, and bombed Iraq in the '90s. But no, we haven't done anything to provoke Muslims to hate us. Uh-huh.
And where does he even get the idea that America's wars against the Middle East are legitimate to begin with? As for the beheading, why does that moron consider beheading a more brutal form of execution than gassing, hanging, lethal injection, or electrocution, all 4 forms of execution are used in the US. I might point out that until France, Germany, and Switzerland for example banned capital punishment, all three nations beheaded their convicts on death row with a guillotine. This entire article is just pro-Bush propaganda, and I suspect the author of it is as Native American as I'm Turkish, LMAO.
I don't know if all white immigrants in America can be viewed as terrorists or not but as it stands right now I'd say our military certainly qualifies for that label. They sure as hey run around terrorizing completely innocent children in Afghanistan and Iraq, they conspired with Israel in terrorizing children in Lebanon, and the US is busy terrorizing children in Iran and North Korea with open threats and children in Cuba and Venezuela with veiled threats. As for beheading people wearing the Star of David, I haven't heard of this happening but I know that Israel is still busy bombing people in Palestine who happen to be Moslems.
As I said, this is nothing but Bushian propaganda.
As I said, Farah has no arguments to make his case with. He can't address the historic eradication of America's Native population so he shifts to the unrelated topic of the 9/11 attacks. There's a phrase for people like this: "holocaust denier."
This ain't no party: a Columbus Day rant
Genocide by any other name...
"As usual, this guy writes the same old tired rants and misinformation about American Indians and misses the point, and the message the T-shirt is trying to convey."
. . .
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