Pathetic (Ab)uses of 9/11: Fouad Ajami Edition


Chris Dierkes

Chris Dierkes (aka CJ Smith). 29 years old, happily married, adroit purveyor and voracious student of all kinds of information, theories, methods of inquiry, and forms of practice. Studying to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Main interests: military theory, diplomacy, foreign affairs, medieval history, religion & politics (esp. Islam and Christianity), and political grand bargains of all shapes and sizes.

Related Post Roulette

5 Responses

  1. Avatar EngineerScotty says:

    Just another right-wing gasbag peddling the same recycled nonsense. You give this screed far more attention than it merits.Report

  2. Avatar Bob says:

    Your next to last paragraph should be expanded into an entry. I’m not sure I accept what you are saying, but it is very interesting. (I’m a fan of Huntington, BTW.)

    A very good post.Report

  3. Avatar Roque Nuevo says:

    Just another right-wing gasbag peddling the same recycled nonsense.

    You should be such a gasbag! Ajami has been interpreting Arab/Muslim history and culture for Americans for decades. Why don’t you read some of his books and then see if you can call him a “right wing gasbag.” His Dream Palace of the Arabs is indespensible for understanding the Arab/Muslim world. His The Foreigner’s Gift provides an Iraqi perspective on the war, which is entirely lacking anywhere else. And so forth.

    as we certainly know all Arabs are alike.

    This is typical of the straw-man polemics that Payne is mounting. Ajami never said or even implied such a thing. Why is it that Payne must accuse Ajami of some sort of veiled racism in order to critique his argument. Is the answer that Payne has nothing to offer but his own righteous indignation?

    Ajami himself is an Arab. A Shia Muslim from Lebanon. He has traveled to Iraq many times. He can talk to people. He understands the culture and the religion from the inside, as he understands American culture and religion from the inside. His ideas merit serious consideration from the likes of bloggers going on nothing but what other bloggers say at the moment. Ajami really knows stuff. If we disagree or find his ideas disagreeable, then it’s worth it to have some humility and do a bit of self-reflexion (like your president is always telling us to do). Dismissing him out of hand as a “right wing gassbag” and so forth just put your own ignorance on display.Report

  4. Avatar Roque Nuevo says:

    Let’s take it point-by-point:

    1. Ajami’s “whopper”–that the “war of choice/necessity” distinction is just more of the same old, same old leftist posturing–is no such thing at all, at least according to you. You support his idea, just not in such clear, concise, and convincing language as Ajami does:

    Just war theory would not allow for any such thing as a ‘war of choice.’ Just wars (if there are such things) are forever and only wars of necessity.

    Then this piece of snark disguised as yuppie gobblygook:

    Classic just war theory also argues that one of the principle criteria for determination of war of necessity is that the war be defensive in nature or a response to an attack. But can someone remind me how many Iraqis were on the list of 9/11 hijackers?

    Why in the world would “classic” just war theory be relevent to the present national security situation? You youself go to some pains to show that the “classic” world of soverign states is fading away in favor of non state “actors” etc etc.

    2. You want to make it seem absurd to base the invasion of Iraq on 9/11. After all, no Iraqis were on the list of 9/11 hijackers! Case closed! This snark again elides the main thrust of Ajami’s argument. That is,

    The exact same passage you cite: To begin with, a policy that falls back on 9/11 must proceed from a correct reading of the wellsprings of Islamist radicalism. The impulse that took America from Kabul to Baghdad had been on the mark…

    Ajamis’ argument has nothing to do with retribution against the 9/11 hijackers and their countries of origin. If he were taking this puerile tack, you’d be the first to say that national security policy cannot be based on revenge, etc etc.

    3. You accuse Ajami of some sort of veiled racism,

    “Oh right, I forgot they’re all Arabs, and as we certainly know all Arabs are alike“:

    But then show why the following is racist. Why does it imply something so infantile as “we certainly know all Arabs are alike“:

    Their terrorism came out of the pathologies of Arab political life.

    Why is it racist to observe the above?

    But let’s go back to that list of Arab cities Ajami mentions:  Cairo, Nablus, and Amman.  Anyone see a prominent Arab capital missing from that list?  I don’t know, the one where the multitude of 9/11 hijackers came from?  Hint: it rhymes with Jihad.

    Ajami mentioned nations where people celebrated 9/11 as some great battle victory.

    Their financiers were Arabs, and so were those crowds in Cairo and Nablus and Amman that had winked at the terror and had seen those attacks as America getting its comeuppance on that terrible day.

    Is Saudi Arabia “missing” form the list? Did Saudis demonstrate their solidarity with the 9/11 hijackers on that day? Even granting that Saudi Arabia is “missing” from Ajami’s list of Arab states that support the jihadist war against us, what’s the point? That Ajami is on the Saudis payroll, like Juan Cole, Esposito, CAIR and so many others? That is truly absurd to anyone who knows Ajami’s work, which, from reading you piece, I doubt that you do.Report