Worse Than Falwell

Not long ago, Dinesh D’Souza took to the pages of The Washington Post to defend his new book, “The Enemy at Home,” from the savaging it is receiving in the press. In his Post piece, D’Souza claimed that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda attacked the US on September 11th for reasons that had nothing to do with US foreign policy, in spite of evidence to the contrary in bin Laden’s own words.  In D’Souza’s view, at least as expressed in his Post column, what really angered bin Laden and other radical Muslims was the fact that “Islam is under attack from the global forces of atheism and immorality — and that the United States is leading that attack”:

It’s more likely that they would do it if they feared their values and way of life were threatened. Even as the cultural left accuses Bush of imperialism in invading Iraq, it deflects attention from its own cultural imperialism aimed at secularizing Muslim society and undermining its patriarchal and traditional values. The liberal “solution” to Islamic fundamentalism is itself a source of Islamic hostility to America.

D’Souza insists that his argument “has nothing to do with [Jerry] Falwell’s suggestion that 9/11 was God’s judgment on the ACLU and the feminists for their sins”:  

And, I know that I’ll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way – all of them who have tried to secularize America – I point the finger in their face and say “you helped this happen.”

In fact, there is a key difference between Falwell’s and D’Souza’s claims – whereas Falwell merely said of 9/11 that the Left “helped this happen,” D’Souza eschewed claims of secondary responsibility and blamed the “cultural left” directly, stating explicitly in the Post that he does not “believe that the 9/11 attacks were payback for U.S. foreign policy.”

Remarkably, just a week later, in a column published on TownHall, he appears to have changed his tune and now says that it was actually President Clinton’s “cowardly and weak” foreign policy that gave them “the confidence and the opportunity to strike”:

The conclusion seems unavoidable. The Islamic radicals made the decision to attack America on 9/11 because they decided that America was cowardly and weak. They came to this conclusion largely as a result of the actions—and inaction—of the Clinton administration and its allies on the left. What could have been done to get rid of Bin Laden and avert 9/11 was not done. In this sense liberal foreign policy gave radical Muslims the confidence and the opportunity to strike, and they did.

So, which is it Dinesh? Is 9/11 the fault of the “cultural left” for undermining traditional Muslim society? Or President Clinton for being too “cowardly and weak” to protect this country? The shifting sands of D’Souza’s “scholarship” may explain why he felt compelled to write in the Post, “I am not…an unqualified right-wing hack.”