Saturday, December 6, 2008

Deepak Chopra's Response to Sean Hannity

I'm frankly caught off guard by the intensity and comprehensiveness of Deepak Chopra's response to the conservative reaction to his allegations of America's responsibility for the Mumbai attacks.

I've written about Chopra twice already (
here and here), and in the second post, Gotham Chopra defended his father in the comments (here). Deepak Chopra appeared on a number of cable news shows to discuss the Mumbai terror attacks. Dorothy Rabinowitz cites some of his comments, for example:

In his CNN interview, he was no less clear. What happened in Mumbai, he told the interviewer, was a product of the U.S. war on terrorism, that "our policies, our foreign policies" had alienated the Muslim population, that we had "gone after the wrong people" and inflamed moderates. And "that inflammation then gets organized and appears as this disaster in Bombay" [emphasis added].
The video of Chopra blaming the West is here.

There's no doubt as to what he's alleged.

Chopra responded to Rabinowitz in
a letter to the Wall Street Journal, as did Chopra's son, Gotham (both which I discussed, which in turn triggered a response from Gotham, as noted).

Well, it turns out Chopra's also gone after Sean Hannity for calling him out on his anti-Americanism. Here's this
from his letter to Hannity published at the Huffington Post:

I am really disappointed in you. Do you not remember your other guest when I was on, former Defense Secretary Bill Cohen? He made the same point I did about America's policy toward the jihadists: "Are we creating more terrorists than killing them?" Ironically, this question is attributed to Donald Rumsfeld.

It really doesn't matter to me personally whether you agree with me or not. Leaving our debate aside, your habit of taking statements out of context and playing the blaming game is sad. You have a powerful platform that influences many people. Why do you use your influence to monger fear, militancy, divisiveness, and jingoism?

I was hoping to come back on your show and have a reflective, intelligent dialogue, but perhaps the attack mode is the only way you know to make a living. The best excuse for your dishonest accusations against me is that you don't believe what you're saying. The far right has deflated, so you are there to pump it up with hot air.
Actually, Chopra doesn't cite Secretary Cohen's comments accurately, nor the attibution to Secretary Rumsfeld.

Here are Cohen's comments from the Hannity and Colmes
transcript at Fox News:

COLMES: Let me get some reaction from Secretary Cohen.

Secretary Cohen, welcome to the show. Do you subscribe to what Deepak is saying here in that — that we have to get to the root causes here and there is some complicity here on a global scale?

WILLIAM COHEN, FMR. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Well, I think, ultimately, we have to look at root causes. I think, initially, we have to track down and take out the terrorists who are launching these attacks.

I think what Deepak is suggesting is something about what Secretary Rumsfeld, as a matter of fact, raised a serious issue when he was secretary of defense. Are we creating more terrorists than we're killing?

And so what we have to do is to go after the hard core, to root out the hard core terrorists who are inflicting these terrible, terrible crimes against humanity, at the same time, then look to how can we help elevate the people in various parts of the world so that the jihadists aren't able to really manipulate and exploit them.

So I think we have to have a two-pronged attack. Go after the terrorists and root them out as best we can and then try to raise the level of civil support and social support for those groups so they aren't vulnerable to the jihadist.
As can be seen in the full context of Cohen's quotation, he's suggesting that it is appropriate for Chopra to suggest that the deployment of military force against the terrorist generated a backlash among the jihadis, and with perhaps increased recruitment and terrorist mobilization, as Secretary Rumsfeld surmised (and as analysts debated back in 2003 and 2004, when al Qaeda had shifted its global operations to Iraq).

But that's just a passing acknowledgement. What Cohen's comments do is validate the U.S. policy of "rooting out" terrorist in their sanctuaries: "... what we have to do is to go after the hard core, to root out the hard core terrorists who are inflicting these terrible, terrible crimes against humanity ... "

It is this exact U.S. policy of taking the fight to the terrorists that Chopra blames for the phenomenon of contemporary terror, that is, the U.S. is responsible for Mumbai, not the killers.

Readers might note that the Bush administration's Iraq policy is apparently the source of Chopra's enraged derangement, and so it is
with Gotham Chopra as well.

It's a sad commentary on the state of political discourse in the U.S. that the toppling of the regime in Baghdad is so rabidly reviled by the antiwar left, although the international community would not have known the extent of Iraq's weapons development program had the U.S. not fought to enforce 16 U.N. Security Council resolutions. All the major Western intelligence agencies suspected Baghdad to be in material breach of its disarmament responsibities, and the U.S. and multilateral action to disarm the regime had bipartisan support in the United States Congress.

Arthur Borden has written:

We know now that by evicting the weapons inspectors in 1998, Saddam initiated a game of bluff. He would let the inspectors return if necessary, but only to certify that he had no WMD, whereupon they could be evicted again. Then he would be free of the inspections and of the sanctions for good. Uncontained, and without on-the-ground monitoring, he would quickly awaken his hibernating nuclear program and acquire WMD. His long-term intent was clear. Thus absent his removal, Saddam was on course to win the game.

When the United States and its allies entered Iraq in 2003, it was with considerable support of Americans on both sides of the political aisle. Unfortunately, such bipartisanship as there was disappeared when no WMD were found in Iraq. The minority party turned this discovery into an opportunity to fragment the nation. Rather than celebrating the overthrow of Saddam and his ambitions - including the undeniable risk of a dominant, WMD-equipped Iraq - it accused the administration of lying to create a cause for war. It was, of course, Saddam who had deceived the world, but the character of his secretive and aggressive regime was forgotten.
Borden's impeccable logic, also seen in his book, A Better Country: Why America Was Right to Confront Iraq, is unlikely to change many minds among the antiwar hordes, who have invested in an entire Orwellian fortress of denial as part of its hegemonic campaign of anti-Americanism and international moral equivalence.

Deepak Chopra is not a credible source of analysis on the causes and responses to international terrorism. He has no business speaking out about international events, other than to wish condolences to the families of those who were killed. Dorothy Rabinowitz and Sean Hannity have Chopra's nihilism pegged, and this full-court press by Chopra and his son to demonize those who would stand up for the truth is beneath contempt.


Anonymous said...

"Uncontained, and without on-the-ground monitoring, he would quickly awaken his hibernating nuclear program and acquire WMD. His long-term intent was clear. Thus absent his removal, Saddam was on course to win the game. "

Ahhh Yes, lets develop a bunch of hypothetical situations, and then pretend they are a justification for further action against, get this, A HYPOTHETICAL SITUATION THAT HAS NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

Dogs chasing their own tails?

Rich Casebolt said...

And let us not forget the Duelfer Report:

Saddam wanted to recreate Iraq’s WMD capability—which was essentially destroyed in 1991—after sanctions were removed and Iraq’s economy stabilized, but probably with a different mix of capabilities to that which previously existed. Saddam aspired to develop a nuclear capability—in an incremental fashion, irrespective of international pressure and the resulting economic risks—but he intended to focus on ballistic missile and tactical chemical warfare (CW) capabilities.

Not hypothetical, and not dogs chasing their own tails ... as opposed to turtledoves having their head inside their shell. The latter's lack of foresight in this matter is an error of equal -- or greater -- magnitude than that of the Bush Administration regarding the presence of WMD stockpiles.

In other words, you critics shouldn't be saying ANYTHING about the alleged "lies" of our current President, for by your standards, you know not the truth yourselves.

More of my takehere.

AmPowerBlog said...

C.S.: None of Borden's argument is hypothetical. This is what happened as soon as Saddam kicked out inspectors in 1998, and without continued monitoring, Saddam's INTENT was to develop unconventional weapons capabilities, and to use them as he had previously on his own population. That is not "hypothetical."

The world is better off for toppling Saddam, and you and the Chopras are uniformed nihilists who have no credibility whatsoever.

Stogie said...


Chopra's unfortunate comment was not based on an honest analysis, but on his liberal politics. He was intellectually dishonest in blaming Mumbai on US foreign policy. Now that he's embarrassed himself, he's making it much worse with these uncharacteristically unhinged responses to his critics.

dave in boca said...

Chopra reflects the lack of thoughtful analysis by the left on just what did go right about Iraq, which is now in transition to a stable democratic situation. Kenneth Pollack's "Storm" book reflected the thinking of the moderate left as well as most of the intelligence community when it posited a Saddam re-energized after the feckless UN was planning to drop its strict sanction regime in 2003 after 17 toothless UNSC resolutions against Saddam.

The failure of the "international system" in its UN guise to keep Saddam from rearming after the projected sanction regime was to be lifted made unilateral action [as in Bosnia, e.g.] by the US an alternative.

It is useful to remember that the total lack of WMD surprised even Saddam's own generals, and the international left, led by the Chirac/Saddam cabal [Chirac was probably on Saddam's payroll], quickly turned hyena on Iraq.

It didn't help that GWB's bumbling insouciance in allowing Rumsfeld & Cheney to botch the post-victory restructuring of the country made Bush and the US a target for the UN and EU crowd that had allowed Milosevic to run wild in an earlier set of circumstances. The Arabs and Islamic countries reversed field and then the myth of a "failed" Iraq began to be propagated by the American MSM which has abandoned journalism for advocacy politics.

Chopra, of course, is simply a self-advertiser who is courting a larger market for his brand of ooze-filled relativism. Huffington Post as an outlet reveals his lack of sincerity as well as his remarks lack accuracy.

I think Hannity refuses to descend to a game of he said, she said with a celebrity self-help guru who elides and slants and distorts based on false received opinions and fixed ideas.

Discussing geopolitics with Chopra is like trying to nail jello to a wall.

dave in boca said...

A quick follow-up on my comments. Tim Weiner's thoughtful piece in today's NYT states that the Mumbai operation was a product of Lashkar-e-Taiba which is an organization which, contrary to Chopra's dishonest characterization, is not a product of GWB's war of terrorism.

Lashkar was founded in 1989 with Pakistani governmental [probably ISI] assistance, and is now in cahoots with Al-Qaeda since "in an August audio tape, Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, proclaimed that 'the American, Zionist and Indian flags were raised high' over the bodies of dead Islamic fighters in Pakistan. Jarret Brachman, who was director of research at West Point’s Center for Combating Terrorism from 2004 to 2008, points to that statement as potentially significant.

“[Zawahiri] starts redirecting Pakistani jihadi attention to the evils of India and linking it more visibly to the U.S. and Israel,” he said. “The Mumbai attacks should really come as no surprise to anybody who’s been listening carefully to Al Qaeda’s rhetoric. Even if Al Qaeda had nothing to do with it operationally, their peddling of this anti-Indian sentiment undoubtedly inspires more parochial groups, like Lashkar, to operationalize those ideas.”" Indeed, Osama bin Laden recently issued a proclamation denouncing “a Crusader-Zionist-Hindu war against Muslims.” [NYT quotes by Weiner]

Chopra in his clueless remarks on US geopolitics is unwittingly aligning himself with a Pakistani jihadist anti-Indian cabal now aligned with Al-Qaeda. Does he agree with al-Zawahiri that India, Israel, and the US are at fault for resisting "Islamic fighters in Pakistan?"

That wouldn't sit well with Chopra's Hindu friends back in his Poona hometown, IMHO!

Chopra should man up and disavow his previous remarks. Extracting one's foot from one's mouth is a sign of manhood, as is keeping it shut when talking off-topic away from one's expertise, whatever that is in Chopra's case.

Good post, DD, and let's keep flakking the Mau-mauers!

Anonymous said...

This post is a tribute to blogging. MSM won't hunt down the background on Choprah's statement, but AmericanPowerBlog did. Thank you for your public service. A great article on Choprah-like thinking in India is here:

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

by sparing Baghdad had doomed major Western cities, in America and Europe, to future destruction by Muslim dictators.

I agree.

Saddam proclaimed himself as victor, and all the Muslim extremists around the world got a big boost of that war's sudden and unexpected ending.

If Saddam had been taken care of in 1992 and not one stone had been left upon another in Baghdad, the world would have been a better place, and free from Muslim terrorism today.

Let's not forget that it is the bombings on Iraq during the 90's that bin Laden also cites in his edict as one of the reasons for going to war with the U.S.

Ahhh Yes, lets develop a bunch of hypothetical situations, and then pretend they are a justification for further action against,

The other hypothetical as "justification for further inaction", was that Saddam wasn't a danger. Post-war findings show that much of the Bush allegations were true- namely Saddam's intent and capabilities (Duelfer Report) and willingness to work with Islamic terrorists (Iraqi Perspectives Project).

Much of the allegations come directly from UN documents themselves. Just look at Blix' Unresolved Disarmament Issues.

And France and Russia were vested in the interest of not seeing Saddam's regime fall, as well as working to see sanctions lifted.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Good American Thinker piece, for CS to mull over.