The Flight of the Intellectuals

Michael Totten, whose blog I read and support has a marvelous interview with Paul Berman, author of Flight of the Intellectuals. The interview is lengthy and wide ranging but worth the time to read it. Unfortunately, for some reason, Michael doesn’t have a permalink on the article so you have to scroll down to May 11. [Jonathan adds: Link to Totten’s post] One sample. They are talking about Bush Derangement Syndrome:

Paul Berman: I had an experience like that in relation to Ronald Reagan. I had a huge learning experience in Nicaragua in the 1980s when I was reporting for the Village Voice on the Sandinista revolution — a Marxist semi-communist revolution in those days.

Reagan was against the Sandinistas, and he did all kinds of things that, at the time, I thought were terrible. And I still think he did terrible things. Still, I was always astounded when I was among very poor people in Nicaragua to learn how many people liked Ronald Reagan. I would question them, and I could comprehend their answers, pretty much.

MJT: What did they say?

Paul Berman: Extremely poor market women, for instance, in an extremely poor town, would tell me, “the workers and peasants are suffering.”

I would ask, “Who is defending the workers and the peasants?”

And they would say, “Ronald Reagan.”

I said, “Ronald Reagan is defending the workers and peasants?”


MJT: [Laughs.]

Paul Berman: And they would say, “Yes!”

All they knew—and they got this from the Sandinista news radio—was that if the Sandinista regime had a bitter enemy anywhere in the world, it was Ronald Reagan. And therefore they felt he was defending the workers and peasants. Their way of speaking about the workers and peasants reflected the Marxist rhetoric, but they hated the Marxists.

MJT: [Laughs.]

It is terrific, as are most of his posts.

If Major Hasan had been Gay, would he still be in the US Army?

Had Major Hasan made as much public about having gay lovers as he did about being an Islamist, would he have been discharged from the US Army before the recent FT Hood shooting?

If the US Army has a “watch list for gays,” then why doesn’t it have one for potential uniformed Islamists, to prevent terrorist attacks or “Sudden Jihadi Syndrome?”

This particular question has been all over conservative web sites and talk radio (The Glenn Beck show for one) this morning.

After all, TIME magazine reports 2/3 of Muslims enlisting in the US Military are resident aliens. A “Uniformed Islamist Watch List” would seem a basic counter-intelligence security precaution.

If the speculation stemming from British newspapers is true, the US Army seems to have known enough to move Major Hasan from Walter Reed hospital to FT Hood to keep him from stalking the Israeli Ambassador.

I would lay in a supply of microwave popcorn to see Senator Joe Lieberman ask Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey Jr. the questions of “What did the Army know, and when did they know it?” and “How does removing possible Islamists in the ranks differ from ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ procedures to remove suspected Gay soldiers?,” in front of the Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee, under oath.