As far as I've seen among leftists, only Jamelle Bouie's actually read the book, and can thus comment on it with at least minimal knowledge. Significantly, we also have Kevin Drum's comments on American Taliban. He endorses the book while announcing no plans to read it at the same time. And note the ideological affirmation and reassurance as well:
I haven't read American Taliban and don't plan to. I figure I already dislike the American right wing enough, so there's little need to dump another load of fuel onto my own personal mental bonfire.And that's just the thing. "Dislike" for the American right is SOP with these people. So it's interesting that Jamelle Bouie attempts to distance the progressive left from the extremist ravings of Markos Moulitsas. Only problem is that Markos Moulitsas is the progressive left, that is, he's perfectly representative of the extreme neo-socialism that's become mainstream in Democratic Party politics. Moreover, Moulitsas' endorsement of take-no-prisoners secular demonology is simply the going game of the Democrat Party netroots base. So note two things: (1) Why should anyone be surprised at the content of American Taliban; and (2) why should anyone begrudge Markos Moulitsas for putting pen to paper (or to pixels) to lay out the neo-communist critique of the (perceived) contemporary right wing of American politics? This is what these folks do. The book is an outrage to read, sure, but it's an outrage to read any top blog of the current leftosphere? Indeed, Moulitsas' book reads like one long epic blog post at Daily Kos. Fact is, American Taliban started as a blog post in 2006, and then was crafted into a book. It's not scholarly. In fact, there are no footnotes to document the majority of the outrageous claims offered. What's important to note is Moulitsas' tactic of finding the most out-of-the-mainstream personalities and foisting these off as mainstream conservatives. It's a smear-by-numbers approach that at times pulls in top Republicans like Sarah Palin, etc., adds a couple of the more colorful quotes from said personalities, and voilà! You're got the modern conservative movement 100 percent equivalent to the medieval barbarian Taliban, REAL TERRORISTS who cut off noses of Afghan women and behead apostates from the Islamist creed, and not to mention Americans such as Daniel Pearl. It's absurd, of course. But it's not exceptional. And not only that, the MFM has elevated Moulitsas and Daily Kos to the elite media/Democrat Party establishment. THIS IS the inside game on today's left. So again, this should be no surprise.
Let me just give one example from the book, so folks'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Here's the representative quote from American Taliban, from pp. 50-51:
In the presidential election of 2008, John McCain thought it hilarious to sing, to the tune of the Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann," "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran ..." And the American Taliban's latest enemy de jour, Iran, remains an obsessive target for those who don't believe America has suffered enough war in the past decade. Sarah Palin, for example, thought it would be fantastic as a way for Obama to cynically secure his re-election campaign. "Say [Obama] played the war card. Say he decided to declare war on Iran or decided [to] come out and do whatever he could to support Israel, which I would like him to do, but --- that changes the dynamic in what we can assume is going to happen between now and three years."I've highlighted that last clause, because that really does sum up Markos Moulitsas' thesis and political agenda. To wit: It is not fanatical global jihad that is the greatest threat to the American democracy --- an existential ideological movement that would be sweeping up in triumphant conquest throughout the Third World, and a bit of the First, if it wasn't for American military power standing guard. It is folks like John McCain, a decorated Vietnam war veteran who gave almost six years of his life to North Vietnamese communist torture and imprisonment, and Sarah Palin, a citizen-politician with five kids who was plucked from relative obscurity to be the 2008 GOP running-mate, who now threaten to destroy the American way of life as representative of some kind of domestic warmongering conservative jihad against the heartland. Yeah, you can see perhaps why some folks like Jamelle Bouie might cringe at such non-reality-based diatribes. But Moulitsas isn't an outlier: American Taliban tells us exactly how the left's hardline partisans see the GOP. And American Taliban wonderfully clarifies the scope of political battle for those on the right who actually live a reality-based life, people who know that it's in fact the alliance between Islam and socialism --- at home and abroad --- that is the genuine threat to our prosperity and perseverance. It's chilling but it's fact. The truth is that Markos Moulitsas is not an "embarrassment to the left," as Doc Zero argues over at Hot Air. Markos Moulitsas is the left. And the sooner folks get that lesson down cold, the faster upstanding folks of moral clarity and values will be able to defeat them.
These political fundamentalists, whether Islamic or American, have zero problem playing the war card for domestic gain, sending our bravest to die in distant wars as thoughtlessly as they would move pieces around a game of Risk. Such reckless warmongering behavior results in death and destruction, all in the service to their god and their political ambitions.
Yet, as bad as it is when the American Taliban direct such violent sentiment to our external enemies, it is a direct threat to our democracy when aimed at domestic targets.
Added: Digby hasn't read the book either, but still feels confident in claiming:
Markos has written a polemic called "American Taliban" in which he draws an ironic comparison between the far right in American politics and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He isn't saying they are interchangeable. That's ridiculous. Obviously, one exists within a secular Western democracy with a rule of law and the other well ... doesn't.No, Digby, American Taliban's whole point is that the American religious right is perfectly indistinguishable from the Taliban of South Asia --- and the "American Taliban" is the bigger threat to the U.S. than global jihad. Folks really need to read this book and quit lying about what is or isn't said there. Digby is right up there with Markos Moulitsas as a crazed leftist demonologist who wants a revolution to topple the traditional bases of American politics, if not the constitutional regime itself. Don't be fooled by these people. THEY ARE ALLIED with the Taliban, al Qaeda, and global jihad to destroy American freedom. It's plain as day. I write about it all the time. But naturally very few are willing to call it for what it is, and forget about the MFM. They're in the tank. And unsurprisingly, Digby, in a previous post, isn't shy about endorsing the "American Taliban" theory of politics (even though she's not even read the book):
The inconvenient truth here is that these people are dangerous because their worldview is dangerous. Lethal even. And somebody has to have the guts and to call them on it in their own terms. This "tired genre" of "our opponents are monsters" has been decidedly dominated by one side and the consequences have been grave. We have a fight on our hands and the only real question left is whether anyone on our side is willing to wage it.
Game on, as far as I'm concerned. Knowing one's enemies is half the battle, and these folks are putting the intel right in our laps.