Rush Limbaugh has a fascinating conversation with our thoughtful and experienced (as you can see in the post below) Andy McCarthy yesterday on his show. Rush doesn’t usually do author interviews, but knowing the challenges and threats we face, he highlighted Andy’s “important and timely” Willful Blindness (with great power comes great responsibility). The whole interview is worth listening to — which members of Rush’s 24/7 website can — but here’s a piece of it that addresses American voters and politicians (which really, again, the whole interview and book do):
RUSH: We live in the United States of America, and the people who live here, many of them have not traveled abroad; and as a result there are many things that they take for granted and one of the things I think a lot of people take for granted is that we’re pretty much like the rest of the world, except they’re very impressionable and they’re told that the rest of the world hates us. They despise us because of our affluence, because our productivity, because we are a small portion of the world’s population and we use a majority of the world’s resources. All these things, and the education system labels guilt throughout our society. You mentioned these people in the fourteenth century. One of the things I constantly try to tell people is that — to demonstrate the true greatness of western democracies, representative republics and a western civilization, a culture. We are all born as little savages. If we were not raised by parents — if we were not instructed in right and wrong, morality and so forth — we would turn out however we did. These people remind me of just that. They’re being raised to behave and think as they do. I’m talking about the jihadists, this culture that’s 1400 years old. Human beings are not by instinct, not by nature good. That has to be programmed into them, it has to be raised in them — and these people of course have a different definition. They think they are good, they’re doing everything in the name of God, and yet their crimes are against humanity.
MCCARTHY: You know, Rush, that’s exactly right. It actually brings me to another memory of the dynamic between the Blind Sheik and the community, which was an eye-opener and a frightening one to me. We had very long defense case in the case. It actually went on for about two months; and during the course of it, any number of moderate people came in — and they really were authentic moderate people. There’s no way on God’s green earth they ever would have crossed into terrorism activity. But every now and then when they were on the stand, a question of theology would come up, of doctrine. You know, “What does jihad mean? What does this concept mean?” and at least three different times, they answered, “I wouldn’t be competent to say. You’d have to ask someone like him about that.”
RUSH: Meaning Rahman.
MCCARTHY: This was the homicidal maniac sitting in the corner of my courtroom. What it flagged for me was even though these people were very moderate and peaceful people — you’d never see them be terrorists — they were willing in a matter of importance in their own doctrine to rely on his viewpoint of it. The second thing is, the world is exactly as you’ve described it, and every place is not America. When you go overseas — and particularly when you go to parts of the Muslim world where there’s rampant illiteracy and where they think that learning the Koran is really the kit and caboodle of what you need in the way of education — these fiery clerics, whatever we may think of them, are powerfully influential in those parts of the world; and it’s not an accident that when you have the cartoons — the Dutch cartoons come out or you have this woman in the Sudan who, you know, named the teddy bear Mohammed — it’s not a big surprise that you get riot on demand. When these guys say, “Islam has been insulted,” when they say, “Islam is under siege,” a lot of people snap to. They’re very influential. It’s frightening, and I think that we underestimate at our peril how much influence they have.
RUSH: We’re in the middle of a presidential campaign, and the sum total of discussion on this focuses on distorting McCain’s statement that if we have to stay in Iraq a hundred years, we’ll do it; talking about ending torture (of course we’re the guilty ones); closing Guantanamo; getting out of Iraq. There is literally hardly any discussion about the war on terror other than the Democrats promising — just as they promised to lower gas prices after they won the House in 2006 — that they’re going to get Bin Laden. It’s not part of the presidential campaign. Granted, there are more pressing issues daily that people face and see now with economic circumstances as they are. What’s it gonna take? I almost hate to hear the answer to this. What’s it going to take to wake people up again to the existence of this threat, and just because we’ve thwarted one on our soil for seven years; however we’ve done it, doesn’t mean the threat’s gone away or is any less intense. What’s it going to take?
MCCARTHY: Well, I hope it doesn’t take another attack, but it’s probably going to take at least a sense that we could be attacked that certainly isn’t present for us now — and in terms of what you’re talking about now, you know, I haven’t been the biggest McCain fan to the planet, but let me give him this much of his due. He wants to get the job done in Iraq at least insofar as it means defeating Al-Qaeda there. I can’t stress to people how important that is. Even if you don’t agree with why we went to Iraq in the first place — and, you know, say we should never have been there –the fact is that the worst thing we ever did was pull out of Lebanon in 1983 when the Marine barracks got hit. The next worst thing we probably ever did was pull out of Somalia when that got ugly. These people — and when I talk about “these people,” I mean people like Bin Laden and the Blind Sheik — if used to a fair thee well as a recruiting tool this notion that they’re the strong horse, we’re the weak horse; and if they make it ugly enough and bloody enough for us, that we will pull out. It’s like when a very strong team plays a very weak team in sports. The strong team can never give the weak team a sniff, because the minute you do and they start to think they can win, and they start to believe in themselves, they become much more efficient. It becomes much more easy for them to recruit, to raise money, to do all the things they have to do to take on a superpower. What they have going for them that we don’t, is they have basically eradicated our threshold idea of what is civilized behavior. They are willing to do anything to win, and they’re absolutely sure that history is on their side. Unless we become more sure than we are now that we’re right, and that we have a need to show them that however long it takes, we’re going to do what has to be done to win; you know, we can’t rely on the fact that we’re a super power and that it’s inevitable that we’ll win this thing.
An important and timely interview, and a conversation between two great Americans who get it.