The Left's Rohrschach inkblot test
Seeing the world through the eyes of the Left must really be frightening. Everywhere they look, they see a diabolical plot--no doubt involving John Ashcroft, Halliburton, and the Project for the New American Century--waiting to spring upon the world and ruin all progress made in the pursuit of "social justice".
Thankfully, I don't see the world through left-wing eyes. Amazingly though, liberals/leftists don't believe that they see the world with any type of "eyes" at all. They claim that what they're seeing is just objective truth, nothing more.
But it isn't objective truth. It's a political Rohrschach inkblot test--the Left always seems to see what it is preconditioned to see. The conclusions they draw from observing world events tells us little about the events themselves, but instead speaks volumes as to what's going on inside their heads.
My favorite example of this comes from my very own University of Massachusetts, home of every type of liberal lunatic you can think of. I mean really, they outdo themselves.
Prior to 1972, the mascot of our university was the Redman, but this became offensive to American Indian students (or should I say to white liberals, when you consider that we have about three non-wannabe Indians on the whole campus), so old Red had to go. Fine. His replacement was a chap we like to call the Minuteman, a perfectly suitable mascot. He's a proud, handsome devil, and he represents Massachusetts history. I'd even go as far as to say that the Minuteman is the superior mascot. According to UMass's own website:
Uniquely linked with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, UMass Amherst's mascot was selected in 1972. Once known as Aggies and later Redmen, Massachusetts athletic teams became Minutemen and Minutewomen in the early 1970s. More than a mascot, the name reflects the Commonwealth’s historic role in the American Revolution when colonial militia (armed citizens) turned out to fight the British at a minute's notice.
But even the Minuteman didn't pass the test for foaming-at-the-mouth campus Leftists. After years of complaing that the Redman was a racist caricature that stereotyped American Indians as violent, they then complained that the Minuteman is exclusionary because he is a white male, and he glorifies militarism because he is a soldier.
Think about that for a moment. The Redman was insulting to American Indians, but the Minuteman is a glorification of whiteness and maleness above all others. And the Redman's propensity for violence was an unfair stereotype, while the Mintuteman's musket was a glorification of militarism.
I could just as easily make the reverse argument. The Redman was exclusionary because he was a minority and his bloodlust was a glorification of militarism. The Minuteman, on the other hand, was an unfair steretype of white males as war-mongers. Sound silly? Not one iota more silly then the arguments the Left presents.
The point is that the campus Left saw in each of the mascots only what it wanted to see. The perceived racism, sexism, and militarism is entirely within the minds of angry liberals. The offenses they cried out against were not contained in the mascots themselves, and that's why switching mascots did nothing to silence their persistant temper tantrums.
Or what about leftists's constant comparison between situations in which the US military interceeded, and situations in which they did not intercede? Talk to a leftist (not a liberal, in this particular situation) for a while, and you will find out that the only places we should have interceded are where we didn't, and everywhere we did intercede was an "illegal war" and a "war crime".
In the 1990's, leftists (again, not liberals, and you will see why later) charged America with racism because of the way we handled two seperate incidents of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Rwanda. We sent troops to Bosnia, but not to Rwanda. The conclusion the Left draws from this, of course, is that America's insidiously racist nature led it to ignore the ethnic cleansing of blacks, but lept to action to stop the ethnic cleansing of whites. Again, the United States doesn't give a damn if one group of blacks kills another, because we'd really like to see them all dead in the first place.
Indeed, there are some pertinent facts that should be taken into consideration when looking at these two very different incidents happening in two seperate areas of the globe. First of all, the US military only arrived in Bosnia after persistent begging from European nations whose weak militaries were unable to handle the situation in their sphere of influence by themselves. Admittedly, our "allies" (and I use the term loosely) in Europe are white. Our allies in Africa are pretty much nonexistent. The Soviets stacked Africa with legions of dictators during the 1970's and 1980's , and not surprisingly, they aren't fond of the United States.
Another reason not to get involved in Rwanda is because we shouldn't have to. Africa has traditionally been a part of the French sphere of influence. It's their mess, they can clean it up. Actually, France did intervene in Rwanda--on the side of the Hutu aggressors, not on the side of the Tutsis, who made up the vast majority of the 800,000 killed. As Dore Gold writes in The Tower of Babble:
Paris had twice previously dispatched paratroopers to protect Rwanda's Hutu dominated government, and remarkably the bloodbath in Rwanda did not change France's pro-Hutu orientation. On April 27, in the midst of the massacare, French President Francois Mitterand hosted two Hutu militants who belonged to extremist organizations...According to French political scientist advising the French ministry of defense, Gerard Prunier, the French government was secretly delivering arms and supplies to the Rwandan Army in order to save its Hutu allies. Additional reports indicated that in mid-June 1994, the French helped Rwandans smuggle arms supplies in from Zaire. The French officially denied all charges.
Of course they denied it. And they never took any money from Saddam Hussein either.
There is significant room here for cricism of the United States as well. As party to the UN Genocide Convention, the US is required
to intervene militarily in any country where the UN has determined genocide to exist. As members of the UN, the US simply decided that the attrocities in Rwanda did not rise to the level of genocide, and we voted against it. We didn't want to get involved in a tiny central African country. The UN didn't declare genocide in Rwanda until the killing was over, and by then it was too late. In September 1998, Jean-Paul Akayesu and Jean Kambanda, two Rwandan leaders, were found guilty of genocide. Too little, too late. The people were already dead.
So indeed you could accuse the United States (and the Clinton Administration) of callous disregard for the horrors of Rwanda. But only if you believe that mass murder warrants military intervention. Leftists do not. If they did, they would have supported the War in Iraq. If they did, they would have supported the Vietnam War. If they did, they would have supported the war (yes, war) in Kosovo.
You might think that the policy of the Left is one of isolationism. There are some legitimate arguments in support of isolationism, namely that the United States can't be the "world policeman" and shouldn't try to be. Isolationists believe that our current interventionist behavior only wastes our resources, particularly our most important resource--our young people. Isolationists will also argue that we tend to do more harm than good when we try to rescue people all over the world. For these reasons, they believe in "guns at the shore, and nothing more." Our military should only exist for the purpose of defending our homeland directly from a foreign invader. Unless the Chinese are rolling their tanks down the Sunset Strip, we mind our own business. I'm not an isolationist, but can respect these arguments.
But as you will notice, in the case of Rwanda, the Left was infuriated that we didn't
intervene. So they're not isolationists, they just wait for America to act (or not act) and immediately come to the other side.
I can imagine what would have happened if we had intervened militarily in Rwanda. Hutu militants would not have put down their weapons peacefully. They would have shot at our soldiers, and our soldiers would have shot back. We usually call that a war--albeit a quick and relatively clean one. I have no doubt that we could have taken the country in a few days, with a relatively low body count.
But the Left would be irritated once again that we only ever kill people of color. The fact that we would have been saving
people of color would have been irrelevant. Our quick and easy miltary victory would lead to accusations of "bullying"; we only attacked Rwanda because they're small and weak. On the other hand, if it had lasted more than about three weeks, (not likely, but it's every Leftist's dream) it would have been called "a quagmire". Furthermore, we would have been accused of continuing the "cycle of violence". Hutus have been killing Tutsis, and Tutsis have been killing Hutus since the time of Belgian colonization. By coming to the side of the Tutsis, we would be doing nothing more than propelling the "cycle of violence" forward.
Also, Leftists would seize upon the past sins of the Tutsis in attempt to portray the United States as "propping up a dictatorship". And there are plenty of sins; the Belgians established a heirarchal racial system when they took Rwanda over from Germany in 1916. The Tutsis, though a smaller group than the Hutus, became a buffer class that the Belgians used to keep the majority under control. Since decolonization, power has gone back and forth between the two groups, and plenty of blood has been spilled on both sides. The Tutsi population is guilty of some pretty heinous things as well, though nothing rising to the level of the 1994 Rwandan massacares. We would be accused of being complicitly guilty of Tuti crimes, and essentially "making a deal with the devil".
So it's really a no-win situation. Whether or not we intervene, the Left is going to project its anti-Americanism onto the inkblot. The situation is irrelevant, it's the pattern of thought inside the Leftist's head that matters.
Herein we find the key difference between liberals and leftists. Liberals would not have made a peep about a war in Rwanda, because liberals only hate America when a Republican is president. Clinton would have used the "peacekeeping" euphamism, and the liberals would have bought it. Still, the Left--and I mean the hard Left, the Chomskyites, the Wobblies, the anarchists, the Trotskyists, the ISO types, the crowds from Win Without War and International A.N.S.W.E.R--would have cried foul.
It comes back to the awful contradiciton of war. There is no such thing as a pure "peacekeeping mission". You can't say that "I'm in favor of military intervention to save people, but not to kill people", because saving people always involves
killing people. We didn't liberate the concentration camps until we had bombed the rest of Europe into the Stone Age, and it couldn't have happened any other way. Some people died so that others may live.
The comparison between Rwanda and Bosnia would soon be replaced by the comparison between Rwanda and Iraq. I've heard this one a thousand times. "If the US is so concerned with saving innocent Iraqis, why weren't they worried about innocent Rwandans?"
Good question, but it was actually rhetorical. The Leftists have already answered it for me. The answer is oil. Of course we intervened to "save" Iraqis. Iraq has oil. But Rwanda has no such valuable resources, so we let them all die.
Funny, I thought we let them all die because they're black. What happened? This is a new inkblot, and the Left sees new sinister motives afoot. The racial template has been thrown out because Rwandans and Iraqis are both non-whites. So they have to come up with a new conspiracy, and one that invariable villifies the United States.
I could play the same game too, if I wanted to. Let's take two humanitarian crises--one in which we did not intervene, and one in which we did. Then let's compare them. I'll choose Kosovo and Sudan.
President Clinton ordered troops to Kosovo in 1999 in order to stop Slobodan Milosevic's murderous rampage against ethnic Albanians in the Kosovo Province of Serbia. The ethnic Albanians, not entirely innocent (no group ever is), were Muslim terrorists with ties to Osama bin Laden's terrorist network. Ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo had been waging terror against Serbia for years, in attempt to rip Kosovo away from Serbia and fuse it to their Albanian homeland. I know some people on the Right who opposed this war on the grounds that we should not have been on the same side as Muslim terrorists. I also know people on the Left (Michael Moore, Ramsey Clarke) who opposed the war in Kosovo because they oppose absolutely everything the United States does, regardless of the circumstances.
Incidentally, President Clinton did not even attempt
to get the approval of the UN Security Council before beginning the war, because he was well aware that the Russian veto would have killed his plans. Also, there were plenty of civilian casualties, in part because US bombers flew at such high altitudes. While this tactic is safer for American pilots (a noble goal) it makes precise targeting almost impossible, and more civilians died as a result. You can thank Wesley Clark for that.
These two factors--lack of a UN mandate, and high civilian deathtolls--did not seem to bother liberals. Why? Because they only oppose war when a Republican is president, whereas the Left only opposes war when America is involved. And to be entirely honest, lefties don't oppose the war in and of itself, they just want the other side to win.
Which brings us to Sudan, the worst humanitarian crisis of this young century. In the Darfur region, Muslims of Arab descent have killed tens of thousands of black Christians, and displaced about two million, since 2003. It's a bloodbath, and no one has intervened to stop it.
From these two instances, I must draw the conclusion that the United States hates Christians, and is probably run by a secret cabal of shadowy Muslim figures.
I'm just demonstrating absurdity by being ubsurd. But why haven't we done anything about the killing in Sudan? There are plenty of good reasons. It's a huge country (slightly larger than one quarter the size of the United States) with rough terrain and a rabidly anti-American population. And on top of that, we're already spread dangerously thin in Iraq and Afghanistan. But I'll act like a leftist for a moment and pretend like I don't see those things. I'll see only what I want to see--the difference in religions. When Christian Serbs kill Muslim Albanians, we take action. When Muslim Sudanese kill Christian Sudanese, we do nothing. Seems simple enough to me--we have a profound hate of Christianity that's driving our decision making process.
Incidentally, Sudan is an oil rich nation, and that has a lot to do with why China voted against a (largely useless) UN condemantion of Sudan. Don't expect any type of intervention there anytime soon. Geez, I wonder why the imperialist American war machine hasn't invaded Sudan on the "human rights" pretext, in order to steal all their oil?
People see what they want to see. Am I guilty of that? Maybe, but I try not to be. But as I see liberals' and leftists' reaction to world events, I discern a pattern that can only be attributed their own personl prisms through which they see the world. The Left's prism is that America can do no right. Liberalism's prism is that Republicans do no right. In fact, neither of these two assumptions can be true in every case, but they always find a way of making it true. It's the Rhorschach test, and the conclusions they draw from it tell me so much more about them than anything else.