how the us right isn’t the taliban – and how it is

from glenn greenwald at salon, along with how the democrats enable them

Obviously, some of this book [“American Taliban: How War, Sex, Sin and Power Bind Jihadists and the Radical Right”] is deliberately polemical. Moulitsas is well-aware that the mainstream American Right is not remotely as extreme as the Taliban even in some areas where they share common premises. Even the most hardened American social conservatives (at least the ones with any influence) don’t advocate the stoning of adulterers or throwing acid on the faces of girls who attend school.


That said, there are areas — significant ones — where the actions of the American Right (and, for that matter, many Democrats who supported them) are literally comparable to the Taliban and Muslim extremists generally. In that regard, objections from progressive writers to Moulitsas’ book seem grounded in obnoxious jingoism and nationalistic exceptionalism: to wit, no matter how bad the American Right is, they are still Americans, and thus should never be compared to primitive, evil foreign Muslim jihadists.


There are countless examples of America’s political leaders espousing a core mentality indistinguishable from those of the Islamic villains who are endlessly paraded before us. And Americans who crave endless war policies for whatever reasons — ideological and religious fervor or a self-interested desire to maximize power and profit — are just as addicted to perpetuating this conflict as the most radical Islamic leaders are. That the two sides in a protracted, violent conflict end up (or even begin) with more similarities than differences is hardly a new phenomenon. Historian Richard Hofstadter, in his influential 1964 Harper’s essay entitled “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” described this dynamic perfectly, in his section entitled “Emulating the Enemy.” Perpetual enemies often end up warring not because of their differences, but because their Manichean righteousness and paranoia of Others are identical, and drive them to extinguish one another.

quoted at length due to its importance.


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