Friday, August 19, 2005

The Biteback Effect

Victor Davis Hanson provides another great analysis in his latest article. In this one he coins the term "biteback" effect, which he defines here:

But in the interest of simplicity, I'll call it the "biteback" effect. Every time one hears a strident censor bring up a purported American sin, expect that he'll be bitten right back by proving the opposite of what he intended — and looking foolish in the bargain.
Here is a recent example of biteback:

On the basis of an FBI agent's e-mail alleging loud rap music, cold room temperatures, and the rough handling of a Koran, former president Jimmy Carter and Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin advanced Guantanamo as a national scandal and proof of our amorality in this war.

"I think what's going on in Guantanamo Bay and other places is a disgrace to the USA," Pius Maximus Carter pontificated, adding that the detention center had "given impetus and excuses to potential terrorists." Sen.Durbin earlier had assured us of Guantanamo that, "You would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others — that had no concern for human beings."

But the more one learns about Guantanamo, after having it raised constantly by such self-righteous and anguished censors, the more it seems unlike any wartime detention center in recent memory — but in ways exactly opposite from the Stalag its detractors imply.
And here is why we see so much biteback these days:

In the age of utopianism we demand impossible standards of perfection. Then when they cannot be met, we conclude that we are not good at all, but the equivalent of a Pol Pot, Hitler, or Saddam himself — an elected American president who is a worse terrorist than Osama bin Laden.

And in a war with enemies like few other in our recent history, the contrast between rhetoric and reality is only accentuated: panties over the head of an Iraqi inmate, no head at all on an American prisoner; Korans given to the enemy terrorists in jail, Bibles outlawed for visitors to our friends the Saudis; our elected president becomes a member of the "Bush crime family" as we worry about proper barristers for Saddam Hussein's genuinely criminal family. As we fear that we have fallen short of the postmodern therapeutic age, Islamic fascists brag they are avatars of the Dark Ages.
Read the whole thing here.