Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Sometimes the neighbors scare me
Ed Cone has discovered the curious case of Martin Kozloff, a professor of something called Specialty Studies at UNC-Wilmington. Kozloff wrote the following letter and gave permission for it to be approvingly published at the winger site Horsefeathers.
I'm an ordinary American. Wife (whom I love and respect), 2 kids (to whom I would give both of my kidneys), 2 cars (ten years old), big mortgage, and a job not always pleasurable.

I've worked hard all my adult life to provide for my family, to be useful, and not go out of my way to injure anyone. Like most Americans, I knew little about arab-muslim culture and believed that the developed nations were partly responsible for the poverty and authoritarian regimes that infest the middle east.

Things changed on 9/11/01 when you ruined the lives of at least 10,000 Americans.

These people instantly became my countrymen and you became my mortal enemy.

Ordinary Americans are arming themselves for war with you. I and many of my friends have closets full of handguns, rifles, shotguns and thousands of cartridges.

If we had enough ammunition and time, we would kill every last one of you.

We completely support our President and our armed forces. We only wish they would destroy you faster, but we are certain that they will.

We no longer listen to the insane words of Kerry, Harkin, Kennedy, Clark, and others whom we now see as ideologues who would sacrifice our country and our lives on the alter of their vanity and desire for power.

We no longer listen to our secular mullahs, our media fools, preaching hatred of America and sapping our will with their lies and deceptions.

We watch your cowardly methods of killing by beheading. We are disgusted. But we are not afraid.

You turn your women and children into walking bombs. We are disgusted. But we are not afraid.

You shoot and rape children. You kill their mothers before their eyes. You burn, hang, and tear apart the bodies of your victims, and then play with body parts. We are disgusted. But we are not afraid.

Why should we fear you? What ARE you to be feared? You are cowards. Your bravado is a clown mask that hides the soul of a ghoul. You are not able even to manufacture the knives you use to butcher your bound victims.

One day soon, our planes and missiles will begin turning your mosques, your madrasses, your hotels, your government offices, your hideouts, and your neighborhoods into rubble.

And then our soldiers will enter your cities and begin the work of killing you, roaches, as you crawl from the debris.

As cowards, you will have your hands in the air and you will get on your knees begging for mercy. And we will instead give you justice. Your actions and your words long ago placed you far from any considerations of mercy. You are not men.

And if you come to this country and harm a child, shoot a mother, hijack a bus, or bomb a mall, we will do what we did in 1775. Millions of us will form militias.

We will burn your mosques.

We will invade the offices of pro-arab-muslim organizations, destroy them, and drag their officers outside.

We will tell the chancellors of universities either to muzzle or remove anti American professors, whose hatred for their own country we have tolerated only because we place a higher value on freedom of speech. But we will no longer tolerate treason. We will muzzle and remove them.

We will transport arab-muslims to our deserts, where they can pray to scorpions under the blazing sun.

You have fucked with the wrong people.

We will rid the world of your foul breath.

Your caliphate will be your grave.

This is pretty ugly stuff and an almost textbook example of a certain type of extremist writing. Look at some of the elements: hysterical anger at the crimes of a vaguely defined them towards a vaguely defined us, dehumanization of the other (“roaches”), desire for collective retribution including genocide, preference for mob action over judicial procedure, and hostility extended to the traitors within. As an extra bonus for students of the genre he includes a conversion narrative (I was liberal before 9/11. Now I have seen the light).

Some readers at Eschaton have passed on communications from Kozloff protesting that the letter was just “a literary device to get readers to examine their own assumptions” “akin to Swift's Immodest Proposal.” He doesn’t say which assumptions he wants us to examine. I suppose that’s it’s possible he was being ironic; my first thought was that it unbelievable (that was just denial on my part. I’ve seen plenty of examples of perfectly sincere and real expressions of the same sentiment). However, Atrios’ readers aren’t buying. They have googled up a number of other samples of Dr. Kozloff’s prose that, while not quite extreme, are leading in that direction.

It will be interesting to see where this goes. I’d like to see a more direct response from Dr. Kozloff. I hope it amounts to more than the usual “you liberals have no sense of humor.”

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