on August 12, 2007
I approached this book with much skepticism; by the time I was mid-way through the book, I was much intrigued with the author's thesis. Toward the end, however, I was of the mind that the author's deductions and conclusions were too much of a stretch.
I believe the D'souza correctly diagnosed several key points, which escape many mainstream thinkers:
1. The driving passion behind the masterminds of 911 was not religious, but cultural.
2. Most Americans, at all levels, tend to be rather ignorant about other cultures and simplistically believe that what we think is good should naturally be welcomed by other cultures. In reality, as many scholars have pointed out, democratic institutions must be home grown for them to take hold. People in foreign lands perceive America through the lens of American pop culture, which has become very coarse and depraved. We also "export" ideas such as strident feminist, abortion and homosexual agendas which, even in our own society are controversial, are viewed with suspicion and contempt in other traditional societies.
3. The key to winning this war is winning the hearts of traditional Muslims. Traditional Muslims have more in common with conservatives than many think. Most traditional Muslims do not subscribe to the fringe teachings of the Taliban and Al Queda; they are God-fearing people who want to live in a society where the traditional family values are respected. They are natural sympathizers of the radical Islamists, although they are not active supporters. We should not attack their religion and drive them right into the arms of the radicals. Many in the West tend to look at certain things, such as "honor killing", in the Muslim world, and conclude that Islam is outdated, and its followers barbaric. In reality, such practices are not the norm in the traditional Muslim society. On the other hand, a traditional Muslim probably finds partial birth abortion as revulsive as we find honor killing.
What I am not ready to agree with the author was his assertion that Bin Ladin and the Left in this country are in a conscious alliance. Regardless of how much their short-term goals and interests coincide with each other, there is neither logic nor evidence for an alliance to exist. The Left in this country are a pathetic bunch who want power, but it is one of those inevitables of a Western-style democracy.
on January 21, 2007
It seems that every reviewer here read an interview, or saw the author on Comedy Central, then rushed to write a review here loaded only with a vague concept of this book's central themes.
First, it should be noted that the author talks about the motivation behind the book, that in today's public discourse there is very little focus on the cultural aspects of America that could be fomenting hate and terrorism against us. There was a void on the subject which he has filled; as he says, "let the debate begin."
Now whether you ultimately agree with him or not, this IS a debate worth having, not just as it affects our current conflict, but as it informs us as a nation to take a good hard look in the mirror at times.
Many people, usually liberal but not always, are often eager to discuss "why" people hate us, and what WE have done to create such enemies that would be willing to become martyrs in a struggle to defeat us. There is a vague sense that maybe we HAVE done something to earn the title of "great satan," but there's a difficulty in expressing what this is.
Perhaps it is our military dominance, our heavy-handed diplomacy, or our choice of friends. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. Often it comes down to our support of Israel. But to say a discussion concerning how we achieved the status of enemy #1 in the muslim world is absurd is to ignore many current discussions now taking place.
I encourage people to HAVE this conversation, even if you don't agree with it; it is well worth having. I can say that I have had it, in large part with a group of friends of mine from Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt. We talk about this topic all the time, and I find what they have to say very credible.
First, many of them grew up watching our TV - I had no idea that 90210 and Cosby played in Turkey and Jordan, but they do. My friends came here because they love America, many people in the Middle East do, even while being conflicted about our culture.
Just as our military and diplomatic weight affects nearly every country in the world, so does our culture. In many of these countries, and others in Asia, there is a sincere and well-founded fear in the effects of American culture on their country, and extremists have seized upon these fears and exploited the concerns of many, especially the religious.
But even in non-religious countries such as China, there is a fear that openness with the West will lead to cultural degradation, a breakdown of family and community, and lead to a moral rotting.
These countries on a regular basis make sure their citizens are aware of the many problems in America; from high illegitimacy, to prostitution, to single parenthood, to drug use, and on and on and on. These people love America, but also fear it. They fear what it will do to them as individuals, as well as their culture. In large part, these people agree with many in middle America who regularly cast their vote for politicians who simultaneously vocally stand against moral corruption in our culture.
To say that these fears are not seized upon by our enemies in a PR campaign to defeat us is to stick your head in the sand. Of course they do, and in fact are at the root of why it is often easy to turn great chunks of the population against us. The Soviet Union has been heavy-handed militarily in the Middle East for years, but they have never earned the status of being a "great satan" because they never exported their culture.
Now look at today's left in America. They hate Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and every (hypocritical) religious conservative and there Philistine ideas about women, abortion, gays, etc. "Why, they are just a bunch of closed-minded, bigoted, religious fundamentalists!"
But is America's left as scornful of Islamic fundamentalists, who make Jerry Falwell look like Jane Fonda by comparison? Hardly, in fact there is often sympathy for them. The current leader of Iran denies the Holocaust and threatens Israel daily - but where is the outcry against him? The Democrts in Congress attack Bush when he stands up to Iran, not the other way around. New York Times journalists discuss why Ahmenididjad is such a "puzzling" figure.
This guy is a dangerous madman, but he doesn't deserve harsh condemnation from the LEFT; he deserves "understanding." Nice.
Have a look at this book, at least with an open mind. See what it says both about us and our enemies. While I tend to see as the people that want to kill us as the "enemy" we should be mindful of the cultural signals we send that identify our ultimate intentions as a society.
For aiding this discussion, this book deserves more than passing attention or scorn.
on April 5, 2007
I have read and reread Mr. D'souza'a new book as well as many of the Amazon reader's reviews. I can see how upsetting the author's book can be to a person who's deeply held - "secular beliefs" bordering on religion - are scrutinized and criticized from a devote Muslims perspective.
Mr. D'souza is not a Muslim however he has spent the last 4-years studying the sermons, speeches and writings of Muslim leaders. The author has not just explored contemporary Islam but has delved into the history of this great religion to better inform the reader in identifying who Muslims really are, moderate and fundamentalist both. All to answer the perplexing question, "Why they hate us?"
Do they hate us for our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, our free market economy or that McDonald's restaurants are springing up all over the world? The short answer is no. Nor do they hate us for our freedom. They hate us for how we USE our freedom. They hate is because we have inundated the Middle East and much of the third world with a pervasive, immoral secular based culture that threatens the very foundation of their culture and traditions. If America were under such an attack we would hate the purveyor as well.
Leftists, liberals, atheists and secular crusaders of all stripes will not hear and will not consider that Mr. D'souza may be on to something. Many will scoff and criticize the author without giving his view a fair hearing, as to do so would undermine deeply held convictions that the left in America believes are above criticism. Anyone considering the authors points with merit will immediately be branded, a bigot, racist, homophobe or misogynist. Since the left will not have a logical argument against Mr. D'souza they will use invective as a defense, it is the only defense they have.
I recommend this book to anyone that is open minded enough to consider rational argument.
on November 27, 2014
This is a good book. Dinesh D'Souza is one of America's bravest heroes. His writings are brilliant. I think he is rare among those who really understand the threat to America. This country has used the most racial group in America to elct the most racial president in history. Barack Obama or whatever his real name is has never made a payroll or ran so much as a Dairy Queen and he was elected by the most concentrated group of constituents that has ever existed in American politics. It was based on no other factor than the color of his skin. That is hardly a winning resume for the most powerful job in the world.
It can be truthfully said that Osama bin Laden made his rise to power while the world's most powerful seat was occupied by a man with a pathological inability to control his own zipper. This is what the left has given us. They also ride around a woman for four years on a free att expenses paid vacation doing absolutely nothing and she is proclaimed as "The greatest Secretary of State ever. The left has no shame.
We one the right do wonder if she were to be elected could she possibly return the furniture she has stolen?
It was pure racial politics and every decent person in America realizes it. He has failed at every program he has ever attempted. We have won back the House and now the Senate. . the next challenge is to hand on for two years while this Alinskyite Marxist buffoon does what damage a lame duck can do. Like Ted Cruz has told him in the senate. "We are aware of your evil intent. We are watching you"
America can be saved but these are trying times.
on January 22, 2016
Wow. An eye opener for those that are truly open minded and not the "i'm only open minded if i agree with you" like the liberals want you to be. I approached this book with a little trepidation but was quickly taken in by the thoughtful insight within the points Mr. D'Souza brings to the table and my mind was morphed with more understanding of agenda politics. i recommend this book for those seeking more ammo to stick in the eye of the progressive falsehoods. He calls out the progressive ideology by bringing the under belly of their agenda into the light to be viewed by all in it's anti glory...
on June 15, 2014
I quickly read some of the 1 star reviews and the clear majority of them do not speak to any of the central discussions of the book. At best it seems they read a synopsis and quickly moved to discredit the author. However, if anyone deserves discrediting, it is Michael Moore. The book quotes the following from Moore in response to 9/11 "Many families have been devastated tonight. This is just not right. They did not deserve to die. If someone did this to get back at Bush then they did so by killing thousands of people who DID NOT VOTE for him!..."
As D'Souza quite pointedly questions, does Moore actually believe 9/11 would have been more justified had the jihadists attacked Nebraska? I would add, what did Bush do in his first nine months of office that would have called for this attack? According to Moore's own movie, Bush was playing golf the majority of the time.
The author makes the central argument that radical Muslims are attacking the West because it is one way they are trying to preserve their religious practices. The moral decay and culture of America is infiltrating their culture via Hollywood and other forms of media. It is not the threat of democracy as many Muslim countries have had democracies for decades. Rather the threat is coming from the left culture of the West which has been more active via the United Nations commissions and resolutions in defining new "rights" that contradict their religious observances and practices. These same arguments and frustrations are seen in America between the left and the right. Is abortion a right? Is separation of church and state a constitutional protection?
I will end with a quote from the book I enjoyed, "If it is unfair to discriminate against the secular life, isn't it equally wrong to discriminate against the religious life?"
on February 8, 2013
Before 9/11 widows had time to properly mourn and direct the country's attention to security breaches, inadequacies and naive paradigms of invincibility, out comes Dinesh D'Souza with a tome aimed at having his party of preference re-elected in 2008.
According to the author, the Muslim extremists who plotted and executed the worst terrorist attack on American soil was justified and encouraged by the cultural left. Why? Hollywood norms of gay rights, open sexuality and sexual equality between men and women. Here are just a few "choice" quotes.
"Shortly after the fall of Baghdad, graffiti began to appear on the walls of the city and its environs. The following scrawl caught my attention. "Marriage of the same sex became legal in America. Is this, with the mafia and drugs, what you want to bring to Iraq, America? Is this the freedom you promised?" Even if the source of this statement is of little consequence, the content is revealing. It is not an objection to freedom, but to the kind of freedom associated with drug legalization and homosexual marriage. As such, it is a vital clue to the sources of Muslim rage. And here is an excerpt from a recent videotape by Ayman al-Zawahiri, deputy of Bin Laden and reputed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. "The freedom we want is not the freedom to use women as a commodity to gain clients, win deals, or attract tourists; it is not the freedom of AIDS and an industry of obscenities and homosexual marriages; it is not the freedom of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.""
Obviously, these extremists do not respect the rights of those who wish to live life differently. The concept of "victimless crimes" do not exist to them. It's theocracy or nothing, with no desire, inclination or possibility of reconciliation or compromise. What the extremists are actually saying (and Dinesh conveniently ignored) is that they desire to impose their traditions and cultural values on everyone else. That isn't freedom. That's oppression. Respect for the freedoms of others is essential for any civil, modern democracy. Blue laws (based on religious edicts) are a minor example of theocratic traditions run amok. They prohibit everything from doing business on the Sabbath to permitting child genital mutilation.
If gay marriage or casual drug usage (apparently, only things other than tobacco merit such vociferous and spiteful opposition). Why does D'Souza defend these policies, if not to propose suggestions for what he would like to see happen in the US. I suppose to him, freedom is comprised of the freedom to oppress, torture and quarantine minorities and behaviours he disapproves of. I wonder if his actions in 2012 have prompted him to reassess his stance on adultery.
Six years after the attack of September 11, 2001, Dinesh D'Souza presents a rationale for the attack by Muslim extremists on our country. With his customary lucid writing style and clarity of composition, he hypothesizes that liberal, left-wing, and radical Americans are indirectly responsible for the attack, hence the title "The Enemy At Home."
He constructs the following: The "moral decay" promoted by leftist Americans brought a rise in terrorism to strike at our cultural wickedness. He concludes that the attacks would not have occurred if our "left wing influence" did not permeate American culture or Muslim media. In short, left-leaning Americans are responsible for how extremist Muslims think, and more importantly, how they behave. By this logic, we caused the Japanese to attack us at Pearl Harbor because we cut off their supply of oil.
Next, he accuses a liberal press of undermining the administration's effort to win the "war on terrorism" in Iraq by not reporting enough of the positive things that we are achieving there. This reflects a distinct change in his writing since he wrote the "End of Racism" and "What's So Great About America," where he asserted that Muslim loss of power and influence was due to their cultural pathology, that Muslims offended by our culture nevertheless, "vote with their feet" to take advantage of the economic opportunity this country provides. He also wrote that people don't want to hear about 16,000 odd planes that land safely everyday, but only want to hear about the one that crashes. And unlike this lame effort, his earlier work is full of footnotes per page, not just endnotes.
He attempts to explain away American torture and rendition claiming that PFC Lindie England was acting out her "blue state moral depravity" when she was abusing and humiliating prisoners at Abu Ghraib with unusual cruelty. This has all the logic of a psychoanalytic diagnosis made under the influence of a jug of white lightning rather than an insightful probe of the collective unconscious. He fails to mention the FACT that there is a higher rate of divorce, murder, illegitimacy, and teenage births in red states than in the morally depraved blue ones, that "traditional Muslims" in Brooklyn and neighboring New Jersey enclaves were warbling in celebration at the destruction on 9/11, or that American flags were adorning most homes and modes of transportation here in decadent New York City.
But just when you think D'Souza can't sink any lower, he does. He opines that left-leaning Americans will do anything to win the presidential election in 2008, and that means they will actively undermine the current effort of our military and administration. By this reckoning, Republicans were doing the same to our troops in Somalia and Bosnia because they wanted to win the election in 2000.
His remedy is to suggest that there is a common thread between traditional "red state" Americans and traditional Muslims, and that both should unite and eliminate this immoral American influence that "plays into the hands of al'Qaeda." This will, in the author's mind, make traditional Muslims see the light, and pressure their terrorists to give up their murderous pursuits.
Having read a number of D'Souza's works, this hypothesis has all the tinsile strength of a bed of wet kelp. It places a premium on opinion rather than empirical evidence. It reveals an appalling lack of depth and knowledge of terrorism or Islam. For those wishing to learn more about both and what happened at abu Ghraib, I strongly recommend a pass here in favor of Louise Richardson's "What Terrorists Want," General Anthony Zini's "The Battle for Peace," or Dr. Steven Miles' "Oath Betrayed."
This polemic will only leave you culturally, morally, and intellectually starved.
on October 23, 2007
Dinesh D'Souza has a different take on why the Muslim world and western world are clashing (the "why do they hate us" question). In a nut shell his evaluation is that large parts of the Muslim world sees the west (and the U.S. in particular) as monolithic with a heavy narcissitic and headonistic bent. Additionally, the west (through world organizations such as the U.N.) is attempting to define for the world (including Muslims) the acceptable standard of behaviour in a number of personal human activities, such a marraige, divorce, number of children, pre-marital sex, to name a few. D'Souza clearly blames the cultural "left" (Hollywood and Madison Avenue) as promoting and imposing views Muslims find abhorent. He is certainly on point.
D'Souza provides sufficient examples to illustrate his point of a cultural left "imperialism." But his analysis doesn't explain why this other non-western cultures (Hindus for example) have not reacted so violently to the west's cultural imperialism. Also, he his a bit soft on the Muslim world's moral failures (the tragedy in Sudan -- both with the Christian south and Black Muslins in Darfur -- are prime examples).
D'Souza offers a prescription for repairing the breach between the " U.S. West" and the Muslim world which is worth examining. But even if his analysis of the primary cause of the conflict is right, it's difficult to see how his prescription will work well unless the Muslim world comes to terms with its own moral short comings. That would require it to take on a western view of self-examination (good luck on that one). Overall a book worth reading, even if its doesn't ring the bell on a solution to "Why Do They Hate Us?"
on February 17, 2014
This is a very ambitious book. It sets out to explain 9/11, with reference to the American right, the American left, and oh by the way, Islam. Of course it does not succeed at this gargantuan and impossible task, but I think it provides enough information for at least one reader to conclude that its premise, as expressed in the subtitle, is invalid.
I think this is the best discussion of Islam I have ever read, possessing both depth and breadth. It's worth reading for that reason alone.
Why does he claim the cultural left is responsible for 9/11? There are 3 reasons.
1. He identifies the dismantling of "traditional society," referred to in some circles as "patriarchy," as a goal of the left. I learned a few things from this book about the international face of feminism. He convinced me that it's not enough for the women's movement to break down traditional obstacles to women's autonomy here in Western society, it also aims to do the same thing internationally. This wasn't totally new information; I knew this already, but I never looked at it in quite this way before.
2. He identifies American society, from the point of view of what he calls "traditional cultures," as morally depraved. He locates one source of this depravity in the left as expressed in the breaking down of laws against pornography and abortion, and the emergence of no-fault divorce.
OK, I get it, traditional society does not want to be dismantled, not even the apparent beneficiaries of the effort, namely women. I think his description of what people in "traditional" third world societies see on TV, specifically his mom in Mumbai, was one of the most powerful things about this book. It makes sense that the way American TV is rebroadcast throughout the 3rd world, including most or all of the Muslim world, would impact the impression of those who see these shows have of our society, culture, and nation.
3. The left has had an impact on US foreign policy that helped lead to 9/11. I really liked his discussion of the Carter years as relevant to the downfall of the Shah of Iran and the rise of the Khomeini revolution. Iran is hardly irrelevant to foreign policy today.
His argument that the cultural left is responsible for why many in the Muslim world feel threatened by us and want to destroy us is well made.
Where it really breaks down is in the final chapter, where he attempts to advise conservatives as to what to do. It's not just that the book was written when Bush was in the White House and one might think the United States had some sort of conservative future. It's also that the strategy he described, in which conservatives say to the Muslim world,"we're as appalled at this moral depravity as you are," in an attempt to make some sort of common cause, is ultimately as misguided and downright silly as Obama's strategy of "I lived in a Muslim country for awhile too, so I understand you."
Some Americans are appalled at how they see other Americans as morally depraved, who in turn see them as wrong or evil in some fundamental way. That's part of the way we are. To understand the Muslim code of law that makes all Americans, even the sous-chef at Windows on the World, enemy combatants deserving of destruction does not help solve the problem. Ultimately, he is trying to do the same thing as the right has often criticized the left for doing with respect to 9/11; appeal to understanding.
Yes, this book will help you understand Islam, if you give it the time it asks for. It will also help you understand the point of view by which 3000 civilians were deserving of death that day, and why those throughout the developing world, Muslim or not, might be appalled by American culture. But what I think it misses is how our society consists of the sum total of all its divisions. No, there was not any sort of permanent conservative victory during the Bush years, just as there is not a permanent leftist victory now. We are what we are. In no way does understanding why some people might want to destroy us help us at all.
Speaking of Dinesh D'Souza, I think he's in jail now, just like the fellow who made that trailer for a movie that was never made that wold have been called THE INNOCENCE OF MUSLIMS. This is scary and appalling, that anyone perceived as a threat to the status quo ends up locked up on some trumped up charge
This author is worth paying attention to, whether or not this impossibly ambitious book achieves its goals.