March 31, 2002
Making Enemies, Part III

Last Thursday I received a letter from someone who can't seem to keep straight whether his name is Alex (in the return address) or Allan (in the signature). I will call him 'A.', which can stand for Alex, or Allan, or Anonymous, or Apologist-for-Arab-Atrocities, or A**hole, whichever the reader prefers.

Of course, Dr. Weevil is not my real name, but at least I don't turn into Dr. Weeble or Mr. Dweezil or Prof. Drivel in mid-blog. Hmm . . . maybe I should change the name of my blog to 'Dr. Weevil and Mr. Snide' so I can assume different identities for praising friends and damning enemies.

Anyway, even beyond the possible deterrent effect, I think Mr. A.'s letter is worth examining -- with tweezers, of course, so none of the bile rubs off (I've got plenty of my own, thank you very much):

Dear Dr,

You write that the Palestinian(s) celebrating the 9/11 attacks changed your opinion. I suggest that you are victim to perhaps the biggest smear in the history of journalism. I would never deny that there were not those who celebrated the attacks. After all, the American-made weapons that get dropped on their population aren't winning us any friends.

However, considering the fact that there were numerous reports of celebrations all over the globe, from Tokyo (a friend witnessed this first hand) to even a Black Gay Bar later that afternoon in Lousiana (a friend swears it's true), and considering the fact that this was right in the middle of the most intense American news report of all time, the biggest media event ever, with live pictures from the scene still coming in, you have to admit it's pretty amazing that a single shot of woman and a few children laughing and clapping made it to every TV in America.

There were reports about the crisis coming from every direction, there were reporters live on the ground, there was no shortage of footage-- and somehow that clip made it on the air more than once.

It was a massive smear, and it did its job. Millions were convinced that all Palestinians are animals and hate the United States. Despite the numerous reports afterwards from Americans in Palestine who saw nothing of the kind, the damage was done. And you fell for it too.


Comment on such a sorry effort is mostly superfluous. I will confine myself to a few points:

1. The usual methods of moral equivalence are particularly threadbare here. According to A., people around the world cheered the destruction of the World Trade Center, and the Palestinians had very good reason to cheer, but (except for one woman and a few children) they were just about the only ones who didn't. The only evidence offered for celebrations in places like Japan and Lousiana is two of A.'s friends, unnamed and untraceable.

2. The flaming A. is careful not to say just who might have engineered "perhaps the biggest smear in the history of journalism". Bush? The Jews? Bush and the Jews working together? No doubt there are other possibilities -- or rather impossibilities --, but it's hard to think of an answer that would not sound stupid, so the question is slyly left unanswered.

3. Litotes, the use of a double negative for rhetorical effect, as in "I am not unaware", is a figure of speech with a distinguished pedigree. It comes in particularly handy when you're being dishonest. A. actually manages a triple negative here: "I would never deny that there were not those who celebrated the attacks." Oops: he just asserted what he claims he would never deny. Simple verbal incompetence or Freudian slip?

To get to my main point:

4. The statement "American-made weapons that get dropped on their population aren't winning us any friends" is simply false. They win us a lot of friends in Israel. I hadn't thought of it this way before (thanks for the hint, A.), but I am glad that Israel uses so many American weapons, and that they work so well. After all, if it weren't for American support for Israel, unreliable as it has proved on too many occasions, Holocaust II might already be a historical fact, rather than just a filthy dream in the twisted minds of Arafat and his homicidal thugs and their shameless supporters in the Middle Est and elsewhere. Is it time to start calling America 'the Arsenal of Democracy' again?

Profound thanks to all my other correspondents. I hope eventually to reply to you all individually.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at March 31, 2002 10:50 PM