Archive for May, 2003

Writer To Writer

Thursday, May 15th, 2003

An Open Letter To John Edgar Wideman On America’s View Of The French
By Ann Marlowe

Ostensibly, your piece was an effort to show that American anger at the French masks the failure of American diplomacy and the shortcomings of our Mideast policy. “Anger at the French and blaming the French hid the actual reasons for waging war,” you write. “Anger at the French helped justify a war the president needed so his reelection wouldn’t be squandered like his father’s. Anger at the French is much easier than honest self-examination.” And so on. But then the cliches began and multiplied, through the ritual invocation of Ariel Sharon and the charge that it’s all about oil, with the oddly worded accusation that America is trying to turn the Middle East into a “vast plantation” for “harvesting oil.” And so, to my chagrin, your essay was yet another example of the stunning intellectual bankruptcy of the left post 9-11, culminating in the ludicrous insistence that “terrorist” is a description that can be disparagingly applied to virtually anyone.