Wednesday, December 29

John Gibson on Hating America : The New Sport

From Publishers Weekly
Anti-American backlash over the invasion of Iraq gets a rejoinder in this rancorous manifesto. Fox News Channel pundit Gibson takes on a wide array of targets in "the great pageant of Hating America," including Arabs (many of whom have "mindless hatred" for the U.S.), Germans (who find a "pure, addictive pleasure" in anti-Americanism), the British (whom, he suggests, hate themselves for not hating Americans enough) and, of course, the French (who live in Chirac’s "anti-American nation"). Gibson does unearth a lot of America-hating, from an Egyptian columnist’s likening of Americans to cannibals, to bizarre German 9/11 conspiracy theories, to British novelist Margaret Drabble’s confession that "I loathe America."

But his main charge, leveled through a rehash of UN wranglings during the run-up to the war in Iraq, is simply that other countries didn’t understand our feelings after 9/11 and didn’t support the American invasion. By lumping this reluctance under the rubric of hatred, Gibson reduces serious policy differences to emotional animus, mostly motivated either by the fear and envy the rest of the globe-including the "soft-life Euro-paradise"-feels towards America’s "hard power," or by the sort of irrational tribal antagonisms characteristic of the sports world. This rhetorical strategy is ironic, given Gibson’s own emotional appeal to the ruins of Ground Zero to argue that "America should not be required to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt" when it goes after threats like Saddam Hussein. Gibson’s truculent tone ("The rest of the world can go to hell. It wasn’t attacked. We were. And we’ll judge who plotted against us and who is plotting still") will alienate readers who aren’t already predisposed to his views, and might be perceived as another fine example of American belligerence.

Product Description:

John Gibson is one of the Fox News Channel's most outspoken personalities. Now, as the aftershocks of the war in Iraq reverberate around the world, Gibson exposes the outrageous tenor of anti-American sentiment filling newsprint and airwaves beyond our borders and how disagreements over policy have mushroomed into poisonous hatred.

"I loathe America . . . and what it has done to Iraq and the rest of the helpless world."—Margaret Drabble, British novelist

From the "Arab street" to the halls of even the most historically friendly foreign governments, extreme anti-Americanism has grown disturbingly pervasive throughout the world since the shell-shocking moment of 9/11. Over the year that followed, Gibson writes, "I began to watch the overseas press with a morbid fascination punctuated by bursts of outrage. The things that were being said about America and Americans were marked by an off-the-charts level of venom, a scandalous parade of mistaken assumptions, an endless font of suspicion, mistrust, and the promulgation of outright, willful lies. The viciousness of commentary on America was breathtaking."

"Damn Americans. Hate those bastards." --Carolyn Parrish, Canadian parliament member

And, as Gibson traces, the hate speech has gone well beyond the usual suspects in the Middle East, infecting our erstwhile allies in Europe, Asia, and even Canada. British Prime Minister Tony Blair complained that "some of the rhetoric I hear used about America is more savage than some of the rhetoric I hear about Saddam and the Iraqi regime." Presumptuous Belgian officials attempted to bring American officials up on war-crimes charges. And special hatred was reserved for President George W. Bush, whom one Australian newspaper dismissed as "the village idiot."

As America defends its security in the ongoing war on terror, Gibson argues, we must be prepared to face this growing tide of resentment abroad, which will only result in serious consequences for the haters themselves. For the anti-Americans, he argues, would "like us to forget that those who hate us may eventually try to kill us -- because they now know that we will never allow that to happen without exacting a price on those who would attempt it."

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