Roger L. Simon

The Big Acquiescence

Daniel Henninger’s spooky opinion piece in the WSJ – Terrorism for Everyone – coupled with a smaller post on Normblog about favorable press being given the Iranian election in the Guardian have put me in a dark mood indeed this morning.

Henninger writes: No matter how fat the diet of stories about Iraq suicide bombings or Gitmo shoved down our throats and no matter how many distraught opinion-poll results come back up, no serious person can allow post-9/11 American security to be reduced to that.

The death march of homicidal zombies in Iraq is trying to push us toward accepting the idea that acts of unrestrained violence against other human beings is now a normal part of politics. It is not normal. Any civilized person should want to resist the normalization of civilian killing as a political act–whether in Iraq, Spain, Indonesia or Kashmir.

I would revise one sentence. I am not certain that “It is not normal” but it sure in Hell shouldn’t be. But what has become normal, in Henninger’s accurate words, is the suicide bombings and Gitmo being “shoved down our throats.” This cannot be ascribed entirely to the “if it bleeds it leads” philosophy. Other, more nefarious, forces, conscious and unconscious, are at work. In my bleaker moments I think this has created a situation even more troubling than those day in 1938 and 39 when many also looked the other way and that we may indeed be at the Gates of Vienna again.