Freedom Fries

Here's a fun piece in Saudi Arabia's Arab News, by sometime CounterPunch contributor Linda S. Heard, about the upcoming U.S. elections. Not sure the Kingdom of Saud is well served with this one.

Heard tells readers that "passions on either side of the divide are running high" -- which is true enough, I guess -- and then launches a blistering an attack on Bush supporters, "the 'them and us' guys and gals with 'them' being those envious terrorist enemies of America who hate freedom, and 'us' translating into the flag-waving, gas-guzzling, gun-toting, French-bashing believers in the natural supremacy of the US with all that entails for the rest of the planet."

Bush backers, writes Heard, look to the president to keep America free from "swarthy foreigners, Kumbaya-humming tree-huggers, death penalty opponents, the pro-choice brigade and anything with the label 'Made in France.'" The core of Bush's supporters, she informs the Saudis, "are eschatological evangelicals, many of whom are waiting anxiously for the battle of Armageddon as a prelude to the Second Coming. In their eyes, their Creator-invoking president can do no wrong...He's their 'born-again' main man."

The leaders of these evangelicals, she writes, "are not intellectuals but ideologues." She lumps the board of the Project for the New American Century (take a look; not lot of prominent evangelicals there) in with "Islamophobic preachers, such as Pat Robertson Jerry Falwell, Franklin Graham and Jerry Vines" and then segues into an attack on Bill O'Reilly.

Heard does admit that "the entire Bush camp isn't made up of such fanatics." Some good salt-of-the-earth people back the president, she argues, because they're scared to death of waking up one morning to find that a dirty bomb has gone off "outside their local Walmart."

The article continues for a bit with the usual conspiratorial anti-corporate jabs and charges that the American left has decided to acquiesce to Bush's reign of pure evil. Not sure how to reply to this collection of clichÃ(c)s, caricatures, and insults ("Allawi deserved a sesame seed cracker"), all passed off as insight to an audience that I hope knows better. Her misrepresentation of evangelicals constitutes a mass libel. It could be just ignorance but the column shows too many signs of actual malice for me to believe that.

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