In the midst of his scathing review of nutty Ann Coulter's new book, Charles Taylor pauses to praise her:
And though she goes too far, she's got a point when she says, of the left's reaction to Sept. 11, "Here the country had finally given liberals a war against fundamentalism and they didn't want to fight it." The Taliban enacted the left's worst nightmare vision of the American religious right, yet waging war on them was denounced as xenophobia. With a few exceptions, Michael Walzer in Dissent prominently among them, the left's intellectual reaction to Sept. 11 was embodied by those two quislings Noam Chomsky and Susan Sontag, whose implicit view was that America is too morally dirty to ever be justified in defending itself or retaliating against attack.
This inability to come up with new political frameworks to deal with new political realities was, Coulter points out, embodied in liberal complaints about "flag-wavers." It was as if showing solidarity with your country after 3,000 of your fellow citizens had been killed was equal to the worst, love-it-or-leave-it chauvinism. (At the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., a faculty member who was a friend of Todd Beamer, the man killed in the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania, was prevented by her department members from placing a flag outside her office.)
This is fascinating. One minute we are talking about the 'liberal media', meaning The New York Times etc, the next we are talking about Noam Chomsky. For the record, the 'liberals' at the NY Times have run, oh, about zero anti-war opinion pieces. And while it was not surprising that Walzer was for the war, the Afghanistan episode was exceptional for winning the support of people like Christopher Hitchens and Robert Christgau. And who exactly were these liberals attacking flag waving? For the most part, liberals bent over backwards to 'understand' this tedious and endless display of patriotism. Now that the CIA is whispering to the New York Times that the Afghanistan episode may have made it more difficult to crush Al Quaeda, perhaps we should revisit those anti-war pieces by Chomsky et al, none of which were published in the mainstream media in the US, 'liberal' or not.