Well, this is why:
Although many persist in denying it, I continue to believe that what Sept 11, 2001, did was to plunge us headlong into nothing less than another world war.
Of course it did, Norman. The massed armed forces of Nazi Saudi Arabia invaded Poland and... hang on, no, it's not like that at all, is it?
A calmer observer might say that the situation now is rather like the seventies, when leftist groups carried out terrorist attacks across Europe. The difference being that we considered those as criminal acts, needing police action, not excuses for the invasion of other nations.
Like the Cold War, as the military historian Eliot Cohen was the first to recognize, the one we are now in has ideological roots, pitting us against Islamofascism,
You always know you're confronting a nutter when the word "Islamofascism" is dropped like a wet turd into the guy's writing. Osama is not, of course, a fascist, by anyone's standards. His ideal world would look very different from Hitler's, or even Mussolini's. He's not a nationalist as such, definitely not a corporatist and, if Norman had ever read the writings that inspired him, or his own writings, he'd know that Osama is not a fan of a heavily centralised state either, far from it. Indeed, the Islamist militancy grew as a response to authoritarian governments, particularly that in Egypt, and its chief complaint against the States is not, as the right likes to shriek, that it is too free, but that it is too keen on making imperialist interventions to plunder other people's wealth, often at the cost of their wellbeing.
Indeed, the Americans far more closely resemble fascists proper than do the Islamists. Reprehensible though they are, it's a mistake to conflate womenhating and religious intolerance with fascism; it is also a mistake to bundle the authoritarians in Iran and Saudi Arabia with the resistance in Palestine and the Islamist militants that loosely make up Al Qaeda, particularly given that some of these people hate others among them more even than they do the States.
Norman goes on to mutter that "Islamofascism" is
yet another mutation of the totalitarian disease we defeated first in the shape of Nazism and fascism and then in the shape of communism; it is global in scope
but this is utter nonsense. Do these people really think this rubbish or do they just write it to stir up hatred? It's obvious why rightards want to connect Osama with Hitler. WW2 is one of the few wars America has fought in which it had any claim to justice. The world appreciates the sacrifice Americans made to help rid us of Hitler (although it wasn't so grateful for the much larger sacrifice Russia made), and it has enormous kudos for it. So it's in the interest of the war party to try to paint the Islamists as a similar threat to Hitler. Were they to more accurately compare him with Baader and Meinhoff, they'd have a lot less sympathy for the "collateral damage" to uninvolved parties.
What follows from this way of looking at the last five years is that the military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq cannot be understood if they are regarded as self-contained wars in their own right.
Of course they can be understood in that way, but that's the last thing the right wants. They have made strenuous efforts to paint the attack on Iraq as part of a bigger attack on "Islamofascism" because if it is not painted that way, it's revealed as an enormous act of piracy.
But there is no connection. Saddam and Al Qaeda were not linked in any way but being coreligionists. And only barely at that: Saddam was a secular leader, hated by the Islamists. They would have hanged him themselves given the chance. One reminds Norman that Hitler was nominally a Christian. Would that have justified an attack on other Christian countries under the notion that we were combatting "Christofascism"?
Norman goes on to claim that Iran is the "main sponsor" of terrorism. This simply isn't true. Were we discussing Israel alone, maybe you could claim that. But Iran has nothing to do with Islamist terror. It is involved with the fighting in Iraq but after all, Iraq is its neighbour, invaded it recently and houses a population with strong ties to Iran.
Norman says of Iran that:
Their first priority, as repeatedly and unequivocally announced by their president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is to "wipe Israel off the map"
Where do you start with rantings like this? First of all, Ahmadinejad did not say it was a priority or even an aim of Iran to "wipe Israel off the map". He said the regime in Israel would be consigned to the pages of history given time. He said it once, although he has expressed the same sentiment in different ways. And it is not "unequivocal" that he stated that that was Iran's "first priority": it is simply a lie.
But Ahmadinejad's ambitions are not confined to the destruction of Israel. He also wishes to dominate the greater Middle East, and thereby to control the oilfields of the region and the flow of oil out of it through the Persian Gulf.
In Norman's invented world in his head, this is what Ahmadinejad wants. But the truth is that Iran wants recognition of its status as a regional player. It didn't fight Iraq for hegemony over the Middle East. That's ridiculous. Iran promotes Shia interests, but that's to be expected. After all, Saudi Arabia does the opposite, and we don't mind that. What the right fears here is that Iran will contest our attempt to do precisely what he accuses it of.
Nor are Ahmadinejad's ambitions merely regional in scope. He has a larger dream of extending the power and influence of Islam throughout Europe, and this too he hopes to accomplish by playing on the fear that resistance to Iran would lead to a nuclear war.
We all have dreams, Norman.
More of this bullshit will just hurt too much to dissect. This is what rightists do: they do not "think" about how the world is and how America should act in it. They invent a fantasy that fits how America already is acting. The only question is whether arseholes like Podhoretz are crazy or vile: whether they believe this utter shite or whether they say it to justify the bad things they like their nation to do. Look, I can deal with a bit of honest-to-goodness imperialism. We can argue over whether it's a reasonable thing for a nation to exploit others to maintain its own wealth. But don't let's pretend that if we're doing that, we have some other moral purpose. This witter, aimed at normalising imperialism, should not be allowed to pass unchallenged, as it so often is, and it definitely should not be signed up to by decent people, or those who aspire to be considered decent at least.