Yale's been the target of reactionary bile of late, so much so that I'm actually growing sympathetic to an Ivy League institution. There is of course the ongoing slander campaign against Juan Cole by those who want to bar him from teaching in New Haven. And then there's the uproar over Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, the former Taliban mouthpiece who's currently attending Yale and seeks to move into a degree-granting program as a Sophomore. This has outraged our domestic authoritarians, always looking for a chance justify their ideological rigidity. In Hashemi they clearly feel they have a real winner. After all, the guy was a Taliban ambassador and Bin-Laden apologist. How juicy can you get?
The familiar creatures have been howling for Hashemi's head, from John Fund at the Wall Street Journal on down to Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter, who recently wondered aloud why Hashemi hasn't been beaten to a pulp by patriotic skinheads. Of course, as is the case with most of Coulter's work, this violent fantasy was a "satirical" and "ironic" critique of the Liberal Mindset (because, see, it's the Campus Liberals who are the real thugs, throwing pies and shouting insults at the likes of Coulter, Michelle Malkin and David Horowitz, none of whom seem to get a word in these days); but then with performance artists, even those as crude as Coulter, you never really know when the act ends, if it ever ends. So maybe she's kidding, or maybe she isn't, and after about five minutes, the sand weighs down one's eyelids.
Perhaps the most robust Hashemi heckler is Clint Taylor, a Yale alum and, surprise surprise, a regular at National Review and Townhall. While his fellow reactionaries are simply doing their part to keep the noise machine at full volume, Taylor has made Hashemi's case a personal odyssey. To him, Yale is giving into "cultural relativism" which, as every patriot knows, is the fast track to tyranny and despotism; and by allowing Hashemi to take classes and perhaps even earn a degree, well, that just slickens the track even more. Doesn't Yale care about what the Taliban did to Afghan women? Have they forgotten 9/11? Thankfully, Taylor is here to put matters into proper historical context. His recent op-ed in USA Today ends, "Hashemi has no more business at Yale today than would Josef Goebbels in 1944. Get him out of here."
Hashemi = Goebbels? Yeah, I remember how the Taliban, who built and oversaw a mighty industrial state, launched countless invasions of neighboring countries, their advanced bombers and fighter jets pounding and strafing defenseless cities while glossy propaganda films, overseen and approved by Hashemi, uplifted loyal Afghanis, who regularly massed in Kabul to witness choreographed martial rallies. As any intelligent student of history can plainly see, Hashemi was indeed equal to Goebbels, and if not for the US invasion and overthrow of the Taliban regime, he might have gone on to top the late German PR genius (who at least had the decency to kill his wife and children before committing suicide). That Taylor isn't teaching history at Yale is further proof of the university's degradation and submission to totalitarian thinking.
When it comes to coddling fascists, Yale could do better, especially when you contrast Hashemi's admittance to the US government bringing stateside a large number of German Nazi scientists and medical officers at the end of World War II. Under the title Operation Paperclip, hundreds of those once loyal to the Third Reich (some more loyal than others) were ushered into the US to work at various labs and medical schools. Many of these former Nazis had their criminal histories erased from their records by US intelligence in order to expedite their transition to more democratic pursuits like studying and developing germ and chemical weapons. Among them were Walter Schreiber and Kurt Blome, both of whom were involved with medical experimentation on concentration camp prisoners, and who became valued assets to US military research. (Blome was later arrested by the pacifist French, convicted of war crimes and sentenced to 20 years in prison -- another sickening case of Franco-subversion). All of this was done on the public dime, something that usually sends reactionaries into hysterics, but only when taxpayer money is spent on the humanities. Federal funding of inhumanity is a different story altogether.
Speaking of which, let's not forget that Hashemi's old comrades and heroes were privately funded and publicly embraced by American rightwingers, Ronald Reagan chief among them. Throwing acid in women's faces and destroying co-ed schools was then-called "freedom fighting" by rightist politicos, pundits and publications like National Review, for which, as earlier noted, Clint Taylor writes. In fact, so enthralled was our domestic Phalange by the brutal actions taken by Osama bin-Laden and friends that some viewed this clerical fascism as an extension of American conservative values. Reviewing the Reagan era in 1989, Adam Meyerson, then-editor of Policy Review (the publication of the Heritage Foundation), listed "One Hundred Conservative Victories." And what, according to Meyerson, was the Final Triumph?
"February 15 (1989). Pullout from Afghanistan. Soviets apparently complete military withdrawal from Afghanistan, the first Soviet military retreat since departure from Austria in 1955. A major victory for Reagan Doctrine of providing aid for anti-Communist resistance forces."
"Anti-Communist resistance forces." Has a nice ring, yes? And we know how that "major victory for Reagan Doctrine" served the Afghan people in subsequent years. Clearly a cause for celebration all around.
Oh, and what university did Meyerson attend? Yale, of course. Class of 1974. Maybe there is something about New Haven that stirs the Islamofascist soul. Look at the Bush family -- a Yalie nest -- and its close ties to Saudi theocrats, who are not known for their pro-woman policies. Given all this, one wonders why Taylor is so vexed by Hashemi studying the Western canon. If anything, that's an improvement and should be encouraged, as USA Today sensibly opines.
But for Taylor, Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi will forever be The Savage Other, even though I'm sure they share a mutual distaste for socialism, among other topics. Still, Taylor's not as extreme in this case as is Ann Coulter, whose "call" for Hashemi to be physically assaulted received a slight rebuke from him:
"We don't beat up people for no reason. There's no stronger advocate of expelling him and deporting him than I am, and I won't lose a wink of sleep if he ends up recounting his days advising Mullah Omar in a cell in Guantanamo Bay, but he should pass his time here free from violent harassment from vigilantes."
Don't beat him up on campus, but throw him in Gitmo and torture his sorry ass. On second thought, it seems that Coulter is the moderate here. See what Yale can do to people? Skull & Bones indeed.