For the past decade, the sight of Western liberals gathering in defense of terrorists seeking to impose a medieval patriarchal cult on the rest of the world by force seems incongruously odd. What is there about Islam that is so appealing to the erstwhile defenders of minorities, women and gays-- all of whom have next to no rights under Islam?
The far left and the far left have a longstanding affinity for playing, "The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend", with America designated as the primary enemy, and everyone from the headmasters of the guillotine to Al Queda has emerged as their friends.
Before 9/11, the Taliban had a spokesman named Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, today studying in Yale on a student visa, making the rounds of Berkeley to explain that the detonation of the Buddhist statues, then the worst thing that the jolly gang of headchopping boys in black were known for at the time, was actually a protest against the world ignoring Afghanistan's poverty. His audience cheered and laughed along with him, able now to relate to the Taliban, not as murderous butchers who throw acid in the faces of little girls-- but as activists against Third World poverty.
But long before Sayed slimed his way across California, a Japanese consulate employee named Hikida Yasuichi would strike up close ties with Black Harlem intellectuals in the 1930's, in pursuit of General Sato Kojiro's then bizarre fantasy of destroying America's Pacific Fleet, occupying Hawaii and then invading the mainland with an African-American army. While no such army ever materialized, Hikida Yasuichi succeeded in stirring up sympathy for Imperial Japan among black writers like W.E. Du Bois, who were otherwise fervent Communists, by convincing them that Japan was fighting for all the non-white races.
Du Bois would go on to spew back Japanese propaganda claiming that Japan was fighting for the liberation of Asia from European colonialism. He blamed China for provoking the Japanese invasion, denounced any efforts opposing the Japanese invasion and urged the Chinese people to welcome their liberation at the hands of the Japanese Army. He then did what most Americans who find common cause with an enemy whose real views would be utterly unacceptable to them, by projecting his own agenda and worldview on the Japanese, classing China as the Uncle Toms who insisted on being subservient to Europe, while the Japanese, "classed themselves with the Chinese, Indians and Negroes as standing against the white world."
It was an absurd piece of propaganda, particularly W.E Du Bois' repeated insistence that the Japanese were "free from all race prejudice" and saw themselves as brothers with all non-white races. But as would happen so many times in history, it was a case of the enemy cultivating a fifth column, while the Americans being cultivated insisted on projecting their own worldview on an enemy who in reality had nothing but contempt for them.
Nor would W.E. Du Bois limit his propaganda reach to Imperial Japan alone. He would actually travel as an honored guest to Nazi Germany, where he would insist that he been treated with the greatest courtesy and pen an article titled, "The German Case Against the Jews" arguing that Jews in Germany were better treated, than Blacks in the American South. Meanwhile as a dedicated Communist, Du Bois would at the same time praise Stalin, as a "great and courageous man", and provide support for his brutal purges.
This kind of across the broad support for Nazi and Communist regimes would seem to be intellectually incompatible, much as being a liberal who supports Islam. Yet Du Bois, as many others, would find the point of compatibility through solidarity with anyone opposed to America. And any real world obstacles to that solidarity could be easily fogged over by projecting their own motives for hostility toward the United States onto their newfound friends.
This sort of motivated blindness would enable Black Communist writers to make common cause with Imperial Japan on race, and with Nazi Germany on socialism. It in turn enables Paleocons such as Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul to make common cause with Putin and Ahmadinejad, arguing that all Russia and Iran really want is to be left alone. Much as their political forebears argued that all Germany wanted was to take back the Rhineland, and maybe liberate the Sudeten Germans in Czechoslovakia-- to undo its victimization by America, England and France in WW1.
It is why modern day liberals insist on treating Islamic terrorist groups as social service organizations and political activists, who happen to have an armed wing to further their struggle for social justice. It is why the media repeatedly plays up Hamas' clinics or Hezbollah's so-called rebuilding effort in Lebanon. It is why Senator Patty Murray in 2002 described Al Queda as mirroring the social service agenda of the Democratic party, saying, "He’s been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. He’s made their lives better."
It is of course easier to find common ground with the enemy of your enemy by assuming that your values mirror theirs. And America's enemies have always understood the value of cultivating a fifth column, whether it was the cheering sons and daughters of bank Presidents wearing flowers in their hair and chanting, "Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh, NLF is going to win,"; W.E. Du Bois being led around Tokyo and Berlin by his Axis handlers while claiming to see no racial prejudice ever; Lenin assuring Western thinkers that his politics were just like theirs, only more action oriented; Osama bin Laden citing Michael Moore's Farenheit 9/11 movie and Michael Scheuer's book to better relate to the Anti-War movement, or Lindbergh doing a grand tour of Nazi Germany to return assuring his countrymen that the danger to them came not from Hitler, but the British and the Jews.
Lord Haw Haw, Tokyo Rose, Ezra Pound, Robert Jordan (the Black Fuhrer), W.E. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, Bertrand Russell, Charles Lindbergh, Carl Sagan, Michael Moore, Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, Michael Scheuer, George Galloway and Ken Loach all represent microscopic snapshots of how radical politics drives Westerners to ally themselves with their worst enemies, while deluding themselves as to their intentions.
To the far right and far left, by defining American capitalism or American imperialism as the chief enemy, it becomes possible to treat any enemy of America as the victim, by sufficiently demonizing America. This kind of irrationality led British workers unions in wartime England to claim that American troops were not coming to England to fight the Nazis, but to oppress British workers. It led the modern left to accuse George W. Bush of seeking to become a dictator, rather than fight Al Queda.
It is no surprise then that in the 20th century, American leftists proved willing to side with Nazi Germany, the USSR and Imperial Japan-- all because they were convinced that America was a stewing cauldron of the worst sins of humanity. And by comparison to America, Hitler, Tojo and Stalin suddenly looked very good indeed.
If you presume that America, England, Canada and Australia represent the absolute nadir of racism, colonialism and the military-industrial complex, anyone who opposes them must have some virtues. And if his opposition takes the form of mass butchery, the fault will nevertheless be placed at the doors of the colonial powers. Which is how the far left and far right justified the worst atrocities of the 1930's, and how they continue to justify modern tyrants and butchers, such as Saddam, Bin Laden, Ahmadinejad and Putin.
The American radical projects his revolutionary agenda and the American isolationist projects his isolationism onto the enemy. Their hatred for America leads to sympathy for America's devils which leads them lightly down the road to hell.