Last weekend during an event at Harvard, where he was to be honored by his former students of some 50 years of teaching in the Social Studies Department, Martin Peretz, TNR editor-in-chief and creator of the Blog, The Spine, was loudly lambasted for his Blog entry of September 5. There following his widely shared and not uncommon observation that Muslims don’t respond sharply and vigorously enough to acts of terrorism, often by Muslims against Muslims, he wrote:
“Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims. And among those Muslims led by the Imam Rauf [of the proposed Cordoba House mosque] there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood. So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.”
These were sharp words, and as he said himself in a later apology, they may have been excessive. But for most of us doesn’t the “routine and random bloodshed” that occurs daily, if not hourly in failed Muslim states such as Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan, represent our principal contact with modern day Islam? Our media reporting on these horrible events is not making it up.
Furthermore, if by “these people” in “I wonder whether I need honor these people,” he didn’t mean Muslims generally, that which I don’t believe he could have meant, given his own closeness to and friendship with many Muslims, but rather he was referring to those terrorists numbering in the tens of thousands who have already and would still literally blow themselves up to destroy some even small part of us and our civilization, even if it meant destroying themselves and many of their own people as a result, well then his words are perfectly understandable.
For who would extend First Amendment privileges to “these people,” meaning by that suicide bombers and their handlers? I wouldn’t.
Marty Peretz ought to have explained himself this way, and not have apologized for his words. For such sharp words are called for by the actions of the tens of thousands of terrorists who, while waging their fanatical war against us, and in particular against our system of liberal democracy that protects our rights and freedoms from would-be destroyers of those rights and freedoms, swear their eternal allegiance to Mohammed.