“But what matters isn’t the scale of the bloodshed, is it? What matters is the talking point. Whether you’re on TV or debating some turtle-necked Harper’s type at a dinner party, the phony rhetorical tit-for-tat is predictable. It doesn’t matter what Islamist barbarism is up for discussion, there is always someone willing to offer up some offsetting American sin — Hurricane Katrina, racism, fast-food culture, etc. — as proof that the United States is just as bad, or worse. It is the post-9/11 version of those Cold War liberals who defended Soviet communism on the grounds that the Russians’ alleged ‘freedom’ from poverty and inequality made up for their lack of freedom from gulags.”
“It’s not quite clear what Salutin means by ‘Western hypocrisy regarding gays’ given that in Iran, as in many Muslim countries, gays get whipped, stoned or executed; while in the West, they hop on floats and get feted in big urban parades. Nor have I any idea what he means about women. Or science. But that’s not the point is it? When you’re playing the equivalence game, you just spit the topics out and your target audience connects the dots based on some half-remembered Clinton-era factoid about abortion doctors.
“Back home in Tehran, when ordinary citizens praise the enemy or challenge the government, they get thrown in jail or worse — as a Canadian named Zahra Kazemi learned in the most horrible way possible. Here in the West, people who do the same thing get lifelong gigs as profs, talking heads and op-ed columnists. How do you say ‘sucker’ in Farsi?”